Updated: Apr 4, 2022
Does anyone else remember the 80's and 90's being chock full of sleepovers and girl scout meetings that involved puff paint, hot glue, random assortments of beads/glitter/charms, and matching sweat suits and T-shirt projects?
No, just me? lol ha ha... surely I am not the only one! I think in nearly every sleepover I went to, the moms had a planned activity that included the newest trends involving tie dying a shirt then accenting it with puff paint, adding the name of every girl attending, and to finish it off, we bedazzled it with beads and hot glue!
We added all kinds of things to our "homemade - designer clothes - projects" ha ha!
And let me tell you, we wore those things proudly! We thought we were the greatest designers on the planet. You couldn't tell us nothing during our runway shows we had in the basement of our split foyer home!
I tried to find some old pictures of me in those outfits, but I couldn't find any. Honestly, I tried! lol
Ok, I didn't try that hard, but if I went back to my childhood home and dug through the boxes and boxes of photos and negatives my family has, I am sure I would have found a treasure trove of them for your entertainment purposes lol.
However, just for kicks and giggles, I did find a cut-out picture from my girl scout troop... we look like a bunch of fashionistas don't we lol. I'm on the far left and to be honest I haven't changed much lol, ask my hubby... I'm still pretty much a plain Jane. Red hair, green eyes, yoga pants and a t-shirt and I'm out the door for the day lol.
Anywho, Google 80's puff paint shirts and you will see what I mean if you missed out on this trend lol!
But I digress ... I say all this to say, I have rekindled my love of hot glue and it is just the perfect solution to not having to weave in a million ends and then sew together a billion applique parts.
Hot glue makes my life so much easier. Especially as a designer who mostly designs applique patterns. Here are 5 reasons I love hot glue:
It's non-toxic! Well, at least the hot glue I have found in my local stores is. Just read the package to be sure, but most are! According to gluegunsdirect.com, as long as the glue sticks are used properly (avoid overheating them - you wouldn't want to boil the sticks lol), they are non-toxic and release no toxic fumes.
It's fast and easy to apply and dries quick! Unlike E6000 and other fabric glue, you do not have to wait as long for the glue to dry, set, and cure. Hot glue is practically instant! Hot glue sets by a loss of heat unlike other adhesives that are dependent on drying out. It dries almost instantly, sets in about 10 minutes, and cures/hardens completely in about 24 hours.
It's strong! I have tried to rip apart an applique after the glue is dry and set, and as long as it has been worked into the fibers of the yarn, it is dang near impossible to get apart. Now, I will share this hint -- if I mistakenly attached a piece and do not like its position, I will take a hair dryer and heat up the glue to move the piece over. As long as you can cover the old glue it is totally possible to move your pieces to a certain degree.
It can go in the dryer with no problems as long as you are not drying it on high heat for long periods of time! I remember as a kid washing those handmade designer projects that were laced with puff paint and hot glue at least a million times ha ha - ok maybe I am exaggerating a little, but I know back then we didn't think twice about throwing it in the washer and dryer. Still, with my crochet projects, and being a more cautious adult, I use low heat/tumble dry just to be extra careful and to give blankets/appliques the longest life possible.
Now, I haven't tested this theory yet as I have not lived a full life span to know for sure lol, but from what I have read, hot glue does not deteriorate. This makes it a long-lasting option for projects, and if anything ever happens to pull away slightly, it is easy to apply a little more and keep on moving!
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There is not much to "applying" the applique with hot glue other than to just put the glue on and "mash" the applique down. You want to make sure the glue gets between the yarn fibers of both the blanket and the applique. Then just let it dry, set, and cure, and it's ready to give away or wash/dry.
Oh, if a little hot glue squishes out you can always trim it off! Easy peasy!
I personally like to wash and dry mine once just to get it a little extra soft and fluffy and to guarantee it's extra clean and fresh.
So you may be wondering what my process is for washing and drying my crochet projects that I used hot glue with.
After the glue has dried, set, and cured, I throw it in the washing machine on cold water.
I select the delicate cycle for drying my blankets. You can use whatever gentle cycle you have. Although these are pretty durable, and I have found if those cycles are not available, you should be ok with a regular/normal wash. In fact, several years ago I remember washing a few blankets on regular cycle and they came out fine. If anything, you can make a small swatch and apply a small applique (like a heart or even a basic circle or square) and then wash it and see how it does for you.
I personally use Woolite Dark with Evercare that helps prevent fading, pilling, and stretching as my detergent of choice, but you could use Dreft or any of the free and clear brands as well.
To dry, I just toss it in the dryer, throw in a free and clear dryer sheet, and use low heat/tumble dry. It comes out soft and cuddly every time! You could also use a liquid fabric softener if you prefer.
If you are like me and you are a visual learner I have a video you can watch below of how I glue my appliques on and then wash and dry them.
And as Porky Pig would say, that's all folks! It's as simple as that. I hope you enjoyed this tutorial!
I look forward to sharing more tips and tricks again soon! In the near future I plan on doing a tutorial for how I put together my appliques, so keep an eye out for that!
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Karen E. (aka Sonshine)
Orchid and Bee's