How to Make Glue Bugs




About: Retired, doing art work now. Great. Have the time and the money to spend doing what I want to do.

This instructable shows a unique art form...using hot melt glue to make various insects and spiders. Other creatures can be made as well, but that is the subject for another instructable.  Use care if attempting this procedure as there is some risk involved: primarily with the hot melt glue, the razor scraper and the heat source used to mount legs.  Do not let children attempt  these steps.  An adult can supervise certain steps of the procedures.

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Step 1: Tools and Supplies Needed

Main tool is the glue gun for this project.  I use both a large and small gun, depending on the project. A few small pieces of glass to place glue on, a razor scraper, some pliers and wire cutters are useful as well.  Have enough glue sticks on hand for the projects, some thin gauge wire (solid copper and or florist wire works well. I have several gauges of wire on hand), acrylic paint and brushes.

Step 2: Make the Basic Body

Using the glass plate, just squeeze out enough glue to make a round or oblong mound of glue.  Let cool and harden, and the first step is completed. 

Step 3: Make Additional Body Parts

For the bugs made, remember: head, thorax and abdomen....See pictures as to how this works with the glue.  For the spider, two parts are sufficient, but bees, dragon flies, ants and flies have the three distinct parts.

Step 4: Scrap Body Off of Glass Plate

This is another step that has some danger connected with it.  I use a razor scraper as shown, and it demands all my attention when doing this.  DO NOT LET CHILDREN USE THIS TOOL!  With care, I gently "jab" at the glue until it is completely released.

Step 5: Make Legs From Wire

Here, I have cut my wire into manageable lengths.  Cut six pieces for insect legs, and eight for the spider(s).

Step 6: Attach the Legs to the Body

In this step, I use the stove to heat the legs ever so gently so that they will "melt" their way into the bodies. The needle nose pliers are used to hold and insert the wires.   If you attempt this, use  extreme care to avoid being burned. Needless to say, do not let children attempt this step.  Definitely an adult thing.

Step 7: Make Wings for Your Creatures

Save clear plastic packageing materials.  The lighter gauge of plastic the better as it will be easier to cut into the shapes you want. I use regular craft scissors.

Step 8: Paint the Critters!

Using regular craft paint (acrylic) pick your colors and apply to the glue bodies.  When dry, a coat of high sheen polyurethane (water based) is applied.

Step 9: Use Bugs in Various Projects

I have attached them to rocks, bottles, made thumbtacks out of the lady bugs, even made a pair of ear rings once with the black widow spiders.  (A friend suggested that the goth crowd would appreciate them.)  Or, think of other applications, have fun.

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    36 Discussions

    That Redhead

    1 year ago

    Beautiful art. I'm so impressed.


    2 years ago



    5 years ago on Introduction



    6 years ago on Step 4

    Love this instructable! if you glue your dots on non stick foil instead of glass they peel right off - no need to scrape!


    8 years ago on Introduction

    so cute, I might try this later when I get my stuff back.


    8 years ago on Step 9

    A fellow arthropod hobbyist!  Very interesting method - I wish I could get my wife to wear earrings made from these.  Thanks for sharing.


    9 years ago on Step 9

    i absolutely love the dragonfly and have to try this....what an awesome idea!!!! thanks for the instructable. very talented and btw, are the butterflies also glue???? dragonfly

    1 reply

    Reply 9 years ago on Step 9

    Thanks for the comments. Butterflies are not glue, just part of the mini-diorama here. If you follow this instructable you can make the dragonfly...just get out your glue gun, a piece of glass or metal and start practicing...put on a drop, let cool, add a drop...think long body, many sections,'ll get it...when all cools, paint, cut wings, glue in place with epoxy or gorilla glue, and you're done! Piece of cake. Cman

    creativeman, i would love to see a more detailed instructable for the dragonfly if at all possible. thanks so much dragonfly !!


    9 years ago on Step 9

    great idea, I can't wait to do this with my grand daughter. Thanks for sharing.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Coooool!  I can't wait to try this.  I clay sculpt so this will be FUN!


    9 years ago on Introduction

    when ur making your bugs dont use the glass use a small sheet of metal because hotglue doesnt stick to metal and you can just pop them off with your fingers