This post is sponsored by Wagner but all thoughts and opinions are completely mine.
A few months ago I started using a new heat gun, trying it out on new projects, seeing exactly what it can do! During this process I discovered two things: heat guns have so many uses that you would never even think about and most of us have no idea what they can do.
The more projects I did with my heat gun the more questions I received from y’all: what kind of heat gun do you use? where did you get it? wait you can heat emboss on fabric?!
So I thought today I would sit down and put all of those questions together in one big post for you… think of it as heat gun 101. The great heat gun list of fun.
Let’s get started!
Table of Contents:
- What heat gun do you use?
- What can a heat gun be used for?
- What kind of craft projects can you use a heat gun for?
- How hot does a Wagner heat gun get?
- Can a heat gun start a fire?
- Can I use it on wood?
- Can I use it on metal?
- Will it help remove glue? grout? Can I use it on my floor?
- Can I use a heat gun to remove paint?
- Is it only good for industrial projects?
- Where can I buy a heat gun?
- Can a heat gun replace a torch?
- Can a heat gun replace an embossing gun?
What heat gun do you use?
Okay let’s start with the big one: what heat gun do I use for all these projects. There are a lot of heat guns out there and depending on your project a different heat gun might work better. I use the Wagner HT400 which is a small (but mighty!) heat gun with two settings.
It fits perfectly in my hand, has a kick stand so I can set it down mid project and has two heat settings. Low (450) and high (680) so it works for just about any project I might tackle: craft projects, painting projects, general home projects.
Since it is a small gun it helps me place the heat directly where I need it (think small embossing projects or shrink plastic), if I wanted to remove paint from an entire door (a large surface) this baby could handle it but it won’t move as quickly as with a larger heat gun.
I like that this little guy is a jack of all trades so I’m good with that but if you’re doing larger projects you may check out the Furno series as these guns are a bit more heavy-duty with additional temperature settings. If you decided bigger is better you can grab one of the Furno series heat guns from amazon!
What can a heat gun be used for?
Here’s the thing y’all heat guns can be used for so many different projects that asking for a complete list is simply not doable! Especially if you consider that one persona may use their heat gun for industrial projects like removing flooring while another may be embossing Christmas cards for her grand-kids.
With that in mind here are a few industrial projects you can do with a heat gun:
- Softening putty and caulk
- Stripping paint
- Tinting car windows
- Removing flooring
- Thawing pipes
- Dry out damp wood
- Bend and weld plastic
- Loosen rusty screws or bolts
- Remove labels or stickers
- Remove old wallpaper
What kind of craft projects can you use a heat gun for?
Of course, on the other side of industrial uses are the crafting uses. These are the most exciting to me because the possibilities are literally endless… I could never list all of the projects you could make with your little heat gun.
And once you start you’re sure to come up with a million ideas of your own!
- Make flow art
- Add Iron-On to round/metal/hard to iron surfaces
- Shrink Plastic Crafts
- Heat Embossing
- Shrink wrapping gifts
- Add words/images to candles
- Age Wood for Projects (like this wood tree garland)
- Preserve Leaves in resin
- Age Galvanized Metal
- Melt Wax
How hot does a Wagner heat gun get?
Honestly the answer can be very different depending on which heat gun you’re working with. For example, my little heat gun has two heat settings (450 and 680) but many heat guns have 5 or 6 settings.
There are heat guns that get hotter than mine and are more powerful as well as heat guns that are not quite as hot for more delicate projects.
A good range is between 100 degrees to 1400 degrees. Depending on what types of projects you want to tackle you may need a different model of heat gun! I find that my little HT400 is perfect for craft projects with the occasional foray into home improvement projects (like removing paint).
If you have a specific project in mind you may do a little research before buying a specific heat gun but I like to think my little HT400 is a good all around, all purpose heat gun that can work for lots of different situations.
Can a heat gun start a fire?
The short answer? Yes. A heat gun is definitely less dangerous than an open flame but it can still cause highly flammable items to catch fire.
Make sure you take precautions y’all, use heavy leather gloves if your fingers will be in the line of fire and safety goggles to protect your eyes. If you have long hair (like I do!) make sure to tie it back and out of the way.
Part of the reason I love this little HT400 heat gun is the built in kickstand so that I can set it down mid project but if you are working with a kickstandless model make sure to place it down only on a heat resistant surface when it’s mid-project. A heavy duty mat will project your surface and give you somewhere to set your heat gun when you’re not using it.
One last safety tip? Don’t ever keep the heat gun pointed at a single spot for more than a few seconds. This can cause scorching and scorching can lead to fire. Instead, use a slow circular movement to evenly heat up the surface you’re working on.
Just take a look at my heat resistant mat below… right under the Wagner logo on my heat gun… yup that’s a scorch mark. I held the heat gun in one spot a bit too long when I was making these fun shrink plastic ornaments and scorched the mat. Just keep moving y’all and you’ll be fine!
Can I use it on wood?
Yes! You can definitely use a heat gun on wood. Whether you’re stripping old paint off a wood surface or using the heat to add a patina to new wood it’s perfectly safe.
A heat gun is really good at adding a fun new look to your wood projects. You can go for a full charred look, add a little burned wood to the edges or even add a pattern like these fun Nordic Christmas trees!
Can I use it on metal?
The short answer is definitely a yes, although there is a bit of a condition here. When you heat up metal it will get hot (duh!) and metal definitely retains the heat… so make sure you wear sturdy gloves to protect your hands.
Once you’ve tackled the safety precautions you can do quite a few things with your heat gun and a piece of metal! You can age galvanized metal, remove paint from a window or hinges or even bend metal silverware. Of course, my favorite thing to do is add an iron-on-design to a metal canister or milk can.
Will it help remove glue? grout? Can I use it on my floor?
Yes, yes, and yes! A heat gun will help you remove almost any adhesive: glue, putty, grout, flooring glue. The whole shebang. There are a few more steps if you want to get technical about it but you’ll basically heat up the adhesive with your heat gun and then peel the adhesive away.
Easy peezy lemon squeezy!
Check out the picture above… the heat gun is making the removal of those vinyl flooring so much easier! You can check out the full flooring removal tutorial here.
Can I use a heat gun to remove paint?
Yes! I think I’ve actually referenced removing paint a couple thousand times during this little post. Which isn’t surprising since using a heat gun to remove old paint is one of the tried and true reasons most people purchase a heat gun in the first place.
You can use a heat gun to remove paint from almost anything: wood, metal, glass, even plastic! Although some plastics are too soft and start to melt under heat… and some glass is too thin and can crack under heat.
The trick is slow smooth circles and remove the heat to let the surface cool if it’s getting too hot.
A heat gun works like a charm to remove paint in most situations… just take a look at the antique mantle in the photo below! Can you imagine how long it would have taken to sand all those layers of paint (from the photo above) to achieve that final look?
One last tip? If you’re working with lead based paint DO NOT USE A HEAT GUN. It will produce lead based paint fumes that are no joke.
Is it only good for industrial projects?
No! While industrial projects are the go-to for most heat gun users you can use your little heat gun for all kinds of things! We’ve covered quite a few craft project ideas up above and let’s be honest… as you can see from the pictures 99.9% of my heat gun projects involve glitter.
So they’re really not industrial.
Once you step into the world of fun craft projects you can do with your heat gun there will be a million ideas running through your head. The possibilities are really endless.
Where can I buy a heat gun?
So many places! Almost any hardware store will have a selection of heat guns. Of course, I can’t guarantee exactly what heat guns they’ll have or how those specific heat guns will work for your project.
I can recommend Wagner because I’ve had my heat gun for a long time now and absolutely love it! It’s reliable, durable and works in a variety of situations. You can buy the exact heat gun I have here.
If you want to do a little research and order a heat gun Amazon is always a quick and easy way to order a heat gun. Of course, directly from the Wagner website works too!
Can a heat gun replace a torch?
In some cases YES! In some cases NO! It really depends on the project… for example if you’re trying to bend a thick, heavy duty piece of metal into a tight, precise curve you’ll need a torch.
But if you’re looking to replace a torch in a flow art project? Popping the bubbles and smoothing out the paint a heat gun will definitely work. Just take a look at how smoothly my little heat gun popped the bubbles and cured the flow art fabric for my cute little pumpkin patch.
A heat gun will also work (in place of a torch) for heavier duty resin projects… like this cute and festive tray! The heat gun was able to penetrate the resign and pop all the bubbles throughout the entire piece leaving a smooth, bubble free resin layer.
Just check out this cute little holiday tray. The resin layer had a million bajillion bubbles in it before she used a heat gun to pop all of the bubbles and leave a smooth layer of resin. No torch needed!
Can a heat gun replace an embossing gun?
Yes! This is definitely one question that the answer is definitely yes! I get asked this specific question over on my Instagram quite often (maybe because it’s the holiday season and these little Santa hats are going crazy? I mean they’re pretty darn cute on my little llama head!) but you can definitely use a heat gun instead of an embossing gun.
In fact, if you don’t have an embossing gun a heat gun is definitely a better purchase. They’re about the same price but a heat gun has more settings and is more versatile so that you can use it for more projects.