Introduction: Gluing a Gingersnap Cottage (like a Nerd)

Picture of Gluing a Gingersnap Cottage (like a Nerd)

Just in time for X-mas I offer you a safe and effective way of gluing a gingersnap cottage, without pouring molten sugar all over you. Molten sugar is, of course, the proper glue for the task, even though many people use inferiour substitutes.

The stuff you need is shown in the picture.

Note that the melt glue gun should be dedicated to this task. It should be brand new, or possibly only loaded with sugar before. Do not count on being able to clean it, neither before or after this exercise.

Step 1: Make Glue Stick Moulds

Picture of Make Glue Stick Moulds

The moulds for our sugar melt glue sticks are rolled from some aluminium foil.

The foil is folded once to make the tube opening stiffer, then rolled over one of the original melt glue stics.

Twist the bottom shut, tape the top, carefully withdraw the melt glue stick. If the tube collapses since the air did not have time to come in and replace the stick, gently push the sides to shape between your fingers.

Make a number of tubes. You will not be able to re-use them, and they have to hold all of the sugar that you melt.

Step 2: Set Up Four Moulding, Then Pour the Molten Sugar.

Picture of Set Up Four Moulding, Then Pour the Molten Sugar.

You definitely do not want to hold the tubes when the molten sugar is poured, so the tubes are taped somewhere were some slob with molten sugar does not matter. The kitchen sink edge is a hot candidate.

The picture shows only one tube, but there should be a as many as you can fit, or as many as you need for your batch of sugar.

The sugar is molten slowly and carefully in the pot. It turns brown real quick, so take it easy. (This part, your granny can show you.)

Pour it into all the tubes. Thanks to the high viscosity, this is easier than one might expect.

Step 3: Unpack One Sugar Glue Stick

Picture of Unpack One Sugar Glue Stick

Let the sticks cool off, then unwrap one of them. If pieces of aluminium are stuck inside the sugar, something that usually happens at the twisted end, break off that part.

Step 4: Load the Glue Gun

Picture of Load the Glue Gun

Load the gun just as you would have with an ordinary melt glue stick. Be gentle. Sugar glue sticks are much more brittle than the normal ones.

Plug the cord, wait a few moments, and...

Step 5: Start Glueing!

Picture of Start Glueing!

I am sorry if I am disappointing parts of the audience, but I did not have any unfinished gingersnap house at hand when I made this Instructable. Here, two swedish "skorpa" have been joined.

Use a lot of sugar glue. Sugar is good for you, at least around X-mas.

Don't expect the same gluing experience as with normal melt glue. Sugar has not been tailored to for melt gluing and the melt glue gun has not been designed to melt sugar. I was lucky it worked ok.

One thing I haven't tried that maybe should be avoided, is what happens if the melt gun is left turned on for, say, 20 minutes without any glue, eh, sugar, consumtion. Ordinary melt glue most probably just continues to be melt glue, whereas sugar caramellises, perhaps turning into something we do not want inside the melt glue gun. Or worse yet, something that catches fire.

Step 6: Storage of Unused Glue Sticks

Picture of Storage of Unused Glue Sticks

Sugar pulls moisture from the surrounding air like crazy. If left to their own devices, your glue sticks will soon end up in a sticky mess. This process can be slowed down considerably if you leave the sticks in their foil wrap moulds, and if you store them together with some rice (or salt?) in a tin can that has been taped shut.

Step 7: Final Demonstration

Picture of Final Demonstration

As a final demonstration of the incredible holding power of sugar glue, I have glued Lenin to a submarine.


ewilhelm (author)2007-12-20

I love this Instructable. Check out my candy towers built using this technique:
Candy Towers Built with a Molten-Sugar Hot-Glue Gun.

DGW (author)2015-12-01

Just bought a cheap $3 mini-glue gun that uses 0.275 inch diameter glue sticks. This gun is labeled "High Temperature", 10 Watts. Then I bought a box of 12 small candy canes for $1 that are about the same diameter and sawed off the curved parts with a hacksaw blade. The temperature of about 280 to 320 degrees F. is just about right for melting sugar. It works! I can assemble pieces and they are glued in 10 seconds! Thanks for the concept.

NNN5 (author)2014-12-25

Wow! Just wow!

kimberlychapman (author)2014-12-16

This is my favourite sentence of the day by far.

In more serious news, if you are really keen to use this sort of tech for decorating purposes, there are isomalt guns and sticks. But that's taking out your cool maker angle...just saying as an FYI in case you weren't aware. :)

AlexH7 (author)2014-12-15

Do you think it would be possible to skip the casting step and directly load candy canes into the glue gun? The sugar should be identical and melt the same. Non-exact diameter would mean that the feed wouldn't work, but you mentioned that it breaks quickly anyway.

AlexH7 (author)AlexH72014-12-15

Alternatively, the mini-glue guns take a 5/16th stick:

which is very near the diameter of old time candy sticks:

hmmph. apparently one can't order specific diameters of old-time candy sticks like one would from the McMaster catalog. To say nothing of trying to determine if your candy is SAE or metric.

Kiteman (author)2014-12-15

It's taken them a while to notice, but Boing Boing have finally caught up with this project:

all_thumbs (author)2007-02-14

Well, yes, I just happen to have a Matryoshka doll at home (see ) with well known Soviet leaders as its theme. They are popular souvenirs. Mine is a couple of years old, so it does not start with Putin as the outermost doll, it consists of Lenin, Stalin, Breschnev, Gorbachov, and Jeltsin from inside out.

I would say that the sub is more interesting. It is designed to capsize, take in water, and then almost sink. It will stop sinking with just a few qubic cm margin, floating with merely its periscope above water.

stas (author)all_thumbs2007-12-23

Hey, where can I find a boat like that?

all_thumbs (author)stas2013-11-24

Hi stas,

Sorry for the delay. I am not 100% sure, but I think it was the Swedish water toy manufacturer AquaPlay ( who produced it. I cannot find the sub at their home page, but I have sent them an e-mail just to make sure.

all_thumbs (author)all_thumbs2013-11-24

Quick addendum

I loaded my favourite search engine with "aquaplay submarine", searched for pictures, and ta-daa:

Eh Lie Us! (author)2010-07-14

Lenin on a sub...I laughed out loud. that one 'takes the cake" ! thank you.

junits15 (author)2010-07-07

in soviet russia..glue gun melt you!

all_thumbs (author)2010-01-26

I haven't visited this page for a while. I must say I am flattered by all the feedback. I never thought this particular instructable of mine would take off like that.

porcupinemamma (author)2009-12-31

Brilliant :0)

T3h_Muffinator (author)2007-12-20


This is actually perfect! Now I know exactly how I will make my cotton candy gun!


dunnos (author)T3h_Muffinator2008-04-04

COTTON CANDY GUN!!?? please post an instructable

T3h_Muffinator (author)dunnos2008-04-04

Hehe I will! Unfortunately, 3/3 of the concept designs failed in test, but due only to one component - the sugar melter. Research is being conducted on better ways to raise the temperature to a point where sugar will remain in its liquid form, but as of now it's pretty much caramelizing and burning the sugar instantaneously. In other news, I've finally got my heating coil for my next cotton candy-related project - CCM MARK III. Coming soon (appx 2-3 months) to an Instructable near you....

Kaiven (author)T3h_Muffinator2009-03-31


T3h_Muffinator (author)Kaiven2009-03-31

Prototype is finished! Expect it out in a few months!

Kaiven (author)T3h_Muffinator2009-03-31

YOu said that already xD

T3h_Muffinator (author)Kaiven2009-03-31

Nope - that was mark III, this is for the cotton candy gun ;) I'm making it for a class, so it actually has to be finished in a few months.

Kaiven (author)T3h_Muffinator2009-04-01

Oh sweet! Can't wait!

dunnos (author)T3h_Muffinator2009-04-01

yes! i would like info on the parts (please) so i can build it when your ible comes up. =] please pm them to me

dunnos (author)T3h_Muffinator2008-04-04

could you send me the ideas for the gun then maybe i can find it out if i can figure it out wel make an instructable together :D

T3h_Muffinator (author)dunnos2009-03-31

I figured it out, and it works! coming soon!!!

k8monster (author)2008-12-01

We all live in a yellow submarine! Looks pretty cool! I'll have to look up gingersnap houses first, but definitely an innovative idea! Kudos!

bounty1012 (author)2008-11-02

hmm If youre not going to eat the art that you make with the molten sugar.... Can you use a used glue gun?

bounty1012 (author)2008-11-02

XD glued lenin to a submarine...

zachninme (author)2006-12-02

Rice won't slow anything down. Thats a myth. The only reason you put it in salt shakers, is because it breaks up clumps when you shake it. (for that, you could use ball bearings, but rice is edible) Just stick these in your sugar jar.

all_thumbs (author)zachninme2006-12-03

Good suggestion. The surrounding sugar should be exactly as prone to absorbing moisture as the glue sticks. As for the rice myth busting, I think you are perfectly right there. The sticks I used when making this instructable were saved from last year. They were sticky at the open end of the foil tube. The foil had protected them real nice.

canida (author)all_thumbs2006-12-03

You can probably find a dessicant packet to toss into your box; just make sure it comes from a food product to avoid industrial cross-contamination. Most nori (seaweed for sushi-making) comes with a dessicant package inside you could simply reuse.

zachninme (author)canida2006-12-03

Yeah, if it says "DO NOT EAT", don't use it for this :P

Roflolommo (author)zachninme2007-01-06

i found a bunch of little kids in my boyscout troup trying to eat those things i have to admit they did look pretty good.


I remember one time when I was....10 I think, my mom and grandma & grandpa (for unknown reasons) wheretalknig about how they thought milkweed was poisonous, so I promptly went and tried it. the minds of children are incomprehensible.........


maven (author)zachninme2007-12-26

It's Silica gel, and they ALL say Do Not Eat.

zachninme (author)maven2007-12-26
Well, it could be a different dessicant, although the fact that it is a dessicant is probably why its bad.

I can't say this for sillica gel, but licking the nori dessicant package shouldn't* hurt you, but if you ate the whole thing, its not good.

  • *I'm not responsible if it does!

Well, actually, all dessicant packs (those in vitamins and nori seaweed included) say "DO NOT EAT". So as long as the pack came from a package of something edible, you'll be fine.

but you'd think it would because rice is so dry and it wants to absorb water... i dono just a thought

maven (author)2007-12-26

Why not butter some tinfoil and use the sugar to draw snowflakes and other sugar decorations? I'm assuming you take the sugar to the hardball stage (on a candy thermometer) when making the sticks.

Danny (author)2007-12-22

i have the same glue gun, the glue sticks you get included arent even long enough - LOL

andlorr (author)2007-12-20

How long does the hot melt sugar take to dry? Would this save time in house construction? I know gingerbread houses use royal icing, but that has to dry overnight before it can be touched. Would sugar glue be faster?

matt_sawyers (author)andlorr2007-12-21

it's much faster. It hardens within a few minutes depending on your humidity level. And is still edible, I used it to make a gingerbread castle earlier this month, but I was using a knife & spoon to apply it (have some burns to prove it lol) Royal Icing can be a royal pain (pun intended). I used it as well just for decoration though. Some people use it instead of royal icing b/c of the raw egg whites it it (or you can substitute meringue powder)

norml (author)2007-12-20

Cotton candy shooter anyone? How about using this mod?
hot glue web shooter
This and a spiderman costume would make for one hell of a kids party. Liablity waivers required of course.

thecheatscalc (author)2007-12-20

oh... my... the last part was completely amazing! LOL, I'm not even going to ask why you have a Lenin doll laying around... VERY neat idea!

Roflolommo (author)2007-01-06

and you just happened to have a lenin doll lieing around?

phyzome (author)Roflolommo2007-12-20

That was my favorite part!

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