Hot glue guns are commonly used by kids in Pine Crest's ilab starting as young as 2nd grade. Teaching students to use all tools safely is an important part of our instruction, and I wanted a safe and organized way for kids to manage glue guns in their workspace and minimize the possibility of burning themselves on a gun laying in the middle of the table. I saw a caddy similar to these on a blog post from the amazing Exploritorium website, and tweaked their design to fit the needs of my iLab. They are pretty quick and easy to make, especially if you have a laser cutter or cnc to cut out the base from the .ai file I attached. Please let me know if you come up with any design improvements in the comments section!
Step 1: Gather Parts
The parts list for this is pretty small and simple, especially if you have access to a laser cutter or cnc to make the base. I used items I already had around the iLab for the most part, please replace with whatever you have around!
- Cut out base and can cover rings (see attached .ai file for lasercutter/cnc or to drill / cut your own). I used 1/8" birch plywood, and it flexes a little bit but seems strong enough to hold up, especially once it is all assembled.
- Quart paint can (I got mine from Home Depot)
- 4 Shaker pegs (mine were 3 3/8 inch, from Michaels with the insert about 11mm - if yours are different just make sure they are at least 3 inches so that the can clears the table, and if the insert is a different size you will have to account for it when laser cutting or drilling the holes in the base)
- Wood Glue or epoxy
- Silicone caulk
- Rotary tool (or tin snips) to cut the can in half.
- Tin snips or craft scissors
- needle nose pliers
Step 2: Cut the Can
Put the lid on the empty paint can and measure/mark it to be cut. My can was 12cm tall, so I used a T-Square ruler to make marks around the can at 5cm, 6cm, and 7cm.
Place the can in a vice or clamp it down in some other way and cut around it using the center marks to guide you. I used a cutting disk on a rotary tool, but if you have tin snips or another way to cut through metal you can use that instead.
Step 3: Snip and Bend the Edges of the Cans Down.
Next, place the cans into the holes in the base and make small snips (with tin snips, or I used craft scissors) from the edge down to the marks you made when measuring the can. Each snip should end up about 1cm, and you should make them every 3-4 cm.
When you have made snips all around the cans, start bending the edges at 90 degrees so that they will hang down from the base. This doesn't need to be perfect - they will end up pretty well straightened out after the next step.
Step 4: Glue the Shaker Peg "legs" in Place.
Use wood glue or epoxy to add the shaker pegs as legs. If you wish, cut the pegs down first to the thickness of the base, or just leave them sticking out!
Step 5: Attach the Cans and Cover Rings.
Place a bead of the silicone all the way around the can, under the flaps you bent down. Squish the can into the silicone.
Place a second bead all the way around the top of the flaps, and then place the wooden cover ring on top of it, centering as best as you can. Squish the ring down and use some scrap to wipe the excess silicone that oozes out.
Repeat for the second can.
Finally, use a piece of scrap wood to clamp down over both rings, and leave the caddy alone. I left mine overnight to be sure that the silicone was as dry as possible. Unclamp the scrap board and you are ready to go!