Tuesday 22 April 2014

Hot Glue Gun Masking and Stamping

I recently had a nice chat with lovely Lisa, the owner of That Craft Place store, and I mentioned a technique that included stencils made with the hot glue gun. She asked me if I would do a tutorial for her (and of course especially the readers and players over at her Natter&Chatter facebook group and the challenge blog).

Well, actually it became a five-in-one tutorial as I couldn't stop experimenting once I had started - it is so much fun! The five tags shown below were made with simple and easy to do circle and heart shaped masks I did with the hot glue gun - I used them not only as masks but also stamped with them to create these five grungy, artsy tags for your inspiration:

(enlarge image by clicking on it).

Materials you will need:

- hot glue gun
- non stick craft sheet
- colour sprays/mists
- distress inks (for stamping)
- acrylic bloc
- tweezers
- white card/tags (or white card plus a tag die and your die cutting machine)
- spray bottle with water

All of this can be bought at That Craft Place of course - either the (bricks and mortar or online) shop or the facebook shop group.

First I created my masks with the hot glue gun. I did some rather doodly circles and a "messy" looking heart. All it takes is applying the hot glue to your non stick craft sheet - doodle, try criss crossing, meandering,... - and let it harden and cool down. You will find that you get there after some practice.

Don't try to remove the hardened shapes too soon or you might tear them! I put the shapes I did onto some white card so you can see them a bit better (sorry that my "white" appears rather green-blue-ish, but I forgot to adjust the white balance):

As there was some colour residue on my craft mat the heart mask took on some of it, but that didn't affect any of the stamping or using the mask later.

Well, of course I started with the most simple way to use them: masking.

Put the masks in place. Spray with first colour:

Change position of masks and put them over the already sprayed circles (trying NOT to line up with your first images of the circles):

Spray again with a different colour...

...which in my case was turquoise, so I got three colours from two goes plus the white from the background card (yellow, turquoise (where the second spray paint hit the white card that had been masked when I applied the yellow spray paint, and green - where the yellow and turquoise had blended).

I used this for a tag I finished off with some word tiles I had stamped on some white card and glued in place:

I had also tried some circles using red spray paints but didn't like them too much...so I put those aside.

But I found that one of my messy circles shapes looks a bit like a rose, doesn't it? I didn't use the background I created with the vibrant reds for a tag, but I used the red and still wet spray paint on the hot glue gun masks to create a different effect. Let me show you how I did it with the heart shaped mask (as I forgot to take pictures of the circles in process *lol):

As you can see the paint is still wet on the mask... so I laid it on another piece of white card and gave it some really heavy spritzes with water from the spray bottle.

See the water pooling on the white card and in the gaps? You can leave it to dry slowly or help a little with the heating tool...but only lightly and very carefully, because you might overheat the hot glue and melt your mask! If you want the colours to be a light shade only you can also use a cloth and dab some of the excess off (as I did). The result from the heart shape looked like this afterwards...

...and my three circles produced this after I had wetted them with water:

As the colour (that sat on top of the masks before spraying them with water) gets soaked between the masks and the surface they are sitting on, it creates a kind of blurred "print" with a lovely watercolour effect (as you maybe can see with this picture from the experiment with the black spray mist):

I used a pair of tweezers to remove the hot glue gun masks. Once you have dried your print the sharper edges start getting visible! Love that effect!

As I said I also tried it with black spray mist (see how it is still wet on the hot glue masks?)...

...and I loved that grungy result even more:

See those light shades of gold? I had used the masks for a different experiment later and had some gold spray residue on them...so I placed them over the (dried) black circles again and sprayed again with water so the gold colour would run down and seep into the white card around the edges of the circle shapes. 

The finished tag from this experiment:

But back to the heart! I had sprayed over the mask with some red colour sprays first,

which is the simplest way to use the hot glue masks. From the residue on the mask I created the watercolour effect heart I have shown you before: 

But as I thought it was too subtle, I tried some stamping with the hot glue mask too. I inked the mask with Distress ink "black soot" (to do so I placed the mask on an acrylic bloc  - which made inking it a lot easier). Then I used the tweezers again to put my mask/stamp in place (face down) and pressed using my fingers mainly. Keep in mind: as our hot glue mask hasn't got an even surface, using your fingers will help make a print from all sections of your hot glue shape - not only of the raised areas. I tried both sides of the mask - the flat one and the bumpy one. You can see the result from the bumpy one (using an acrylic bloc to press down) to the left and the result from the flat side being and stamped inked to the right (where I stamped on top of the watercolour heart shape).

 I liked that effect, so I tried it with the circle (or spiral) shapes too!

Ink the mask/stamp:

 Put it in place (face down) using tweezers and fingers (as it doesn't stick to the acrylic bloc):

Press with your acrylic bloc (or use your fingers if you want more lines to show):


I did this with all three circles, stamping with Distress ink "barn door" first and then "black soot". 

The finished tags from these experiments:

For the other heart I held the card with the stamped on heart in one hand (so the water could run down) and sprayed it again with water from the bottle...as the Distress ink will react again when getting in contact with water, this created some awesome grungy drip lines:

Then I dried the image and finished off the tag with a stamped word tile from a Red Lead stamp:

I hope you like my messy approach to using selfmade hot glue gun stencils, masks and/or stamps! Don't be afraid if things look messy at first - a lot of the really cool effects start showing as soon as your "experiments" have dried! Be daring! Try out different shapes and textures! It is a lot of fun and sooo inexpensive! 

Hugs and happy crafting! 
Claudia xx


  1. Ich bin Sprachlos, wie toll Deine Experimente aussehen. Eins schöner wie das andere. Ich bin beeindruckt von Deinen Arbeiten. Das muß ich demnächst auch ausprobieren. Vielen Dank für die tollen Inspirationen.

    ♥ Liebe Grüße, Carmen

  2. Was für eine megageniale Idee - das muss ich unbedingt auf meine Liste setzen. Vielen Dank für die tolle Inspiration.

  3. I can't find words to express how much I love this grungy watercolour look! Fabulous work!

  4. What fabulous results you have achieved, love it!
    Amanda x

  5. Brilliant, love them as stencils an as a beautiful embellishment

    Jools x

  6. Fantastic idea Claudia xxxx
    They look amazing xx

  7. What a fantastic idea! I love the ease of it and the results are great!

  8. boah geniale tags Claudia!
    Besonders das mit den grauen Kreisen hat es mir angetan!
    Du --kicher..soll ich Dir was verraten?
    Ich hab mir einige solcher Heiss Kleber Stecils vor über einem Jahr gemacht
    ( hab das bei Tracy Bautista seinerzeit gesehen )
    und zu meiner Schande..seh ich diese Stencils zwar dreimal die Woche beim Öffnen einer gewissen in der Lade wo froebelsternchen Kram aufbewahrt ..
    räusper....ABER ----nie verwendet...
    ich bin eben ein Chaosmaus...

    na vielleicht steck ich die Dinger einfach mal in meine Stencilaufbewahrungsmappe...
    Organisation ist das halbe Leben, oder???

  9. O pants you have given me another idea lol. They are fabulous. Elizabeth xxx

  10. oh wow - wie genial ist das denn??? Das muss nach ganz oben auf meine To-do-Liste - ich brauche mehr Zeit fürs Kreative!!!!
    Ganz liebe Grüße, Dagmar

  11. Beyond cool, Claudia - huge wow! And yes, I can see exactly how much fun you were having... genius!
    Alison xx

  12. What a clever and fun technique, with great results!! It really shows how much you enjoyed it! Ueber cool!!

  13. Great idea. These would work great on a gelli plate as well

  14. You did a great job with the examples and explaining the technique. Beautifully creative Claudia, thanks for sharing all the steps with us. Xx

  15. This looks like so much fun. You explained it perfectly. Can't wait to try it!

  16. What a great idea!!!!! This is gorgeous!!!

  17. I am really not surprised that this very cool idea came from your head, my dear friend...very, very clever and the tags are simply gorgeous! Hugs

  18. These are great. I will have to try that technique this weekend!

  19. Wow...these are VERY cool...LOVE them!!! X

  20. This looks amazing. Want to give it a try.
    Thanks for your explanation Anneke.

  21. This technique is excellent with amazing results. Really nice work, I'm glad you shared it.

  22. Claudia...this is just the coolest thing ever! Thanks so much for sharing this technique. Love your art pieces using this technique. I also wanted to thank you so much for your sweet comment left on my blog about my CC3C piece. I hope you get your book soon. I'm sure you'll rock the challenges! <3 Candy

  23. Unglaublich toll!!!!!!! Am liebsten würde ich sofort loslegen - aber das verschiebe ich doch besser auf morgen ;-) So simpel und doch so wunderschön, ich bin wirklich beeindruckt. Danke für die Inspiration, dein Blog wird direkt gespeichert!

  24. Fantastic! Thank you!! I will be trying this out soon!!!

  25. THanks for sharing with us this trick! You are so creative! Barbarayaya

  26. Das ist ja wohl cool, selbst wenn ich nicht verstehe was Du dazu schreibst, gut das Du immer reichlich Bilder beifügst.

  27. Brilliant idea! I really want to do this now! xxxxx

  28. Wonderful effects. Thanks for sharing with us.


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