Hot Glue Failures and Other Turkeys

Yesterday, I played hookey. And of course I got an inquiry letter for a writing job and probably lost the opportunity due to being out of the office and not replying until so late in the day. Really hate when that happens…Anyway, among other things, we went to a craft co-op store about 90 minutes away from our home. We had been to this store before, knew the layout of the place and separated in hopes of finding Christmas gifts for each other.

Amongst the many lovely and clever things were a few real stinkers. C’mon, nobody likes to talk about it; but really, just admit it, some of the stuff people are making is really junky or just plain stupid-looking. If it looks like something a 5 year old high on sugar made, it’s probably not going to be something you should try to sell. Unless, perhaps you are actually selling that item to other half-crazed, bouncing off the walls children who could appreciate that special piece of handcrafted nothingness.

Anyway, amongst some really beautiful things were these clever little turkeys. They were cute little turkeys to put on the Thanksgiving dinner table. They were made with fabric leaves, walnuts and acorns. They were quite original and charming; until you picked them up.

I came to them first and picked one up to see how much they cost. When I realized the base remained on the table because the hot glue had failed, I gasped and quickly tried to re-balance the body of the bird on the glue gob. I kept waiting for someone to creep up behind me and sneer – you break it you bought it.

Oddly enough, my Mom picked up the same turkey, or perhaps another one that was also suffering from hot glue failure. We agreed that the little birds were quite cute and truly clever. But, does cute really matter when they are falling apart?

What is it with crafters and those darn hot glue guns? Got two things they want to attach to each other and they seem to think that a hot glue is some sort of liquid duct tape that can affix anything together. I realize the turkey crafter was going for cute and quick to produce. But do they really think the clear blobs in between the walnut and acorn are esthetically pleasing? And how many do they hope to sell if they fall apart before they even leave the store? At least the crafter removed all those ridiculous threads of glue that seem to embellish most glue-gun crafts like a spider web.

What is the deal with that anyway? It doesn’t seem to matter if the hot-glued piece is a small little thing for $6 or a large floral arrangement for several hundred dollars; way too many crafters leave all these loose trails of stiff, no-longer hot glue draped all over the place. Could you just imagine a quilter, crocheter or knitter leaving little trails of threads, yarns and a general mess like that?

I admit that there is a cheap-o hot glue gun somewhere in our home. It was in the bottom of a box of stuff we found at a yard sale – still in the hermetically sealed plastic blister packaging. We’ve never used it, never considered using it and I guess we should just throw it away.

Trust me, I understand how convenient it must be to shoot a blob of glue onto something and keep working. All those crafting segments on TV make it look like the number one must have tool for crafters. Yet, virtually everything we’ve ever bought made with the stuff has fallen prey to hot glue failure. Perhaps, hot glue should be seen more like a post-it note and less like liquid duct tape. If those little turkeys were only meant to be used for a single Thanksgiving dinner and thrown out after the holidays that would be one thing. But, at least one of them didn’t even hold together long enough to leave the store much less make it through the holiday.

Rather than simply be a complainer today, I thought it might be helpful to some poor misguided, glue-gun totin’ crafter to consider some alternative options for fastening things together…

There’s wood glue for attaching wood pieces together which would probably work quite well for nuts, twigs, those pre-cut wooden ornaments and anything else that comes from trees.

Then there’s a variety of silicone type adhesives that should work for attaching glass pieces, beads, plastics and other shiny things together.

And, there’s my personal favorite for attaching fabrics and threads together – a needle and thread!

Yeah, I know some crafts made with hot glue do hold up and there will be some that won’t care for the tone of my post. I have no doubt there are some crafts that are perfectly suited for using hot glue; problem is people use it for everything. My daddy was a carpenter and his two biggest lessons where ‘measure twice, cut once’ and ‘always use the right tool for the job’. Whether building a bookshelf or a turkey, those two lessons apply.

If you want to make money selling your crafts; use the right tools for the right things, take some pride in your work and save the glue guns for for the amateurs who don’t know any better.

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