Seriously, can I call myself an adult if I don’t know how to use a hot glue gun?
Hot Glue Gunning is not one of those things you’d expect to be harder than you think. In reality, it probably isn’t. It’s not a fully complicated activity. I, however, posess a certain level of ineptitude that’s as awe inspiring as it is frightening. Making things from scratch requires a certain skill base. I don’t have that skill base, so I didn’t try to make things from scratch. I thought I was finding the easy route, when it turns out I don’t know how to do things easily. Or that easy routes are harder to traverse for the clumsy.
I spoke yesterday about what needed to be done to put this damn loin cloth together, right? Measure my hips. Find pillows that are slightly smaller than that and stuff them in a plastic bag. Stuff those into a pair of cut-off leggings and safety pin them on. Cut up my big patch of fake fur. Glue it on. Doesn’t sound too complicated, right?
Cutting the fur was work enough. I tried holding it up against my hip to vaguely measure. Then measured again on my pillow simulacrum. Then measured again on me. Then got a pen to mark it, since I’d forgotten one of those. I measured again, then marked down to what I thought would work. Measure four times and cut once is the mantra, n’est ce pas? I cut it and fur went fucking everywhere. These little fibres covered the floor, two tables and the rug. I got my brush and shovel to clean it, then carrying it from one table to the other left even more castoffs. The brush and shovel was always within arms reach from that point onwards. I tried tugging all the edges where I’d cut to pull any remaining fur off. That seemed to work. I tried to guess how the other pieces would be arranged, but really had no idea so I winged it. Still, in my mind I was ready to glue.
I didn’t bury the lede, I had no fucking idea how to use a hot glue gun. My girlfriend had two, and some spare glue sticks. I knew the basics. I knew that a hot glue gun gets hot, melts the glue inside and that comes out the nozzle. I messaged my crafty friend with a bunch of questions, but they disappeared. My girlfriend was off at a work meeting. I needed to get this done. I tried asking the internet, but I couldn’t get full answers to questions. What kind of questions? I’m glad I posited you as asking.
- Do I use the gun on high heat or low heat?
- How much glue do I put on?
- What kind of coverage do I need? Do I need to cover the whole thing or just outlines?
- How long until the glue dries/cools?
- Do I have time to put down all the glue, then put it on? It’s a large piece, I need to get it all on there.
- Why does the other gun not have a trigger?
The internet didn’t give me much, so I metaphorically said fuck it and got to work. I tried using my smarts to figure it out. I have at least three smarts, which I hoped would be ample. I practiced on a small fur sample to see how long the glue took to dry, and how much glue I could get out before it did. The answer was Not Much. So I decided to try gluing in small lines, pressing down, lather, rinse, repeat. It worked! For a line or two. The problem was, once the glue got to a certain point in the barrel, the trigger no longer pushed it down. Nothing was coming out. I tried pushing the end of the glue with a skewer to some success. So I was holding the fur with one hand, holding the gun in another and stabbing the end of the skewer into my shoulder to try and get more leverage. After a line or so, the skewer pushed too far and went down the barrel. I pulled it out, disappointed that my smart improvisation wasn’t so smart after all.
I grabbed a chopstick from the drawer, convinced that my idea wasn’t terrible, but it was a surface area issue. This worked for all of a single glue line before suffering the same fate. I asked the internet. Some people suggested getting another glue stick so the trigger could catch it. Genius. Only problem was that it churned through my glue very quick. I got another stick, then another until I was out. The barrel was still 2/3 full of glue, but useless glue. I had all of one line left to do on the big fur patch.
I grabbed the other glue gun.
This one took larger glue sticks, which I still had. Thing was, it had no trigger. So I thought, fuck it. I got a glue stick and jammed it in, pressing down with my thumb. Success! In fact, while it was physically more demanding, it was working. The big fur portion seemed well stuck. Now I just had to figure out the rest. It turned out that I’d placed it sort of crooked, or hadn’t measured well enough (as a surprise to nobody). It was uneven, so I had to do some quick repositioning on the fly. I rotated things, made a cut or two and BAM. Full (ish) coverage. Knowing what I was doing, I made quick work of sticking the smaller patches on. I checked how well it was on by shaking the bag. It was stuck fast! Everything seemed sturdy. Had I emerged from the battle of attrition as a victor?
I took out the safety pins and let the pillows run free. I handled the loin cloth carefully. It still seemed stable in my hands. The big test: I put it on. It fit. It was snug and comfy and I couldn’t find major structural issues. I looked in the mirror. Aside from one bum cheek kind of hanging out, it was sorted. I’d made a thing. It wasn’t the greatest thing in the world, and likely wouldn’t survive more than one costume party, but I’d made something all by myself.
Think I can paint my shirt tonight without tearing my hair out?