Chelle Doll
Metallic paint can be used to create depth and vibrancy in paintings. (Chelle Doll)

A dragonfly painting using hot glue and acrylic. (Chelle Doll)

Acrylic paint and hot glue become a dynamic duo for this new summer crafting favorite. (Chelle Doll)

Other additives, such as these stones, find new life in paintings. (Chelle Doll)

It's hard to think about staying indoors and doing crafty things during our limited summer time; but sometime the nights are so hot we just want to stay indoors! During the summer heat wave, I discovered a new use for a crafting staple: the hot glue gun! And almost everyone has one.

When placed on canvas, hot glue gives great texture, dimension and movement to a painting. I have also seen people make masks, bracelets and even lights with it. There is no end to the possibilities. Seeing what people were doing sparked my curiosity to see what I could do. I quickly discovered both artists and novices can excel at this, since there's two ways to do it.

The first technique, which I used in all my pieces, is to take the hot glue gun and "paint" with the hot glue right onto the canvas. You can outline with it, add texture or define the object by using the glue. Be sure to keep the hot glue gun tip just above the canvas and keep an even stream of glue coming out.

The second way, for people who don't feel they are too crafty, is to trace with it. Take a sheet of heavy plastic or glass and place a drawing underneath. Then simply trace the item with your hot glue gun. Let it dry for a while, peel it from the plastic and clean up anything strings or mistakes. Be careful to keep it in one piece! Afterwards, glue the traced picture onto the canvas and let it dry. Once it does you're ready for paint. Even though this is easier to design, it takes a lot more work.

When it comes to painting, you treat both techniques the same. I recommend using acrylic paint. It is easy to clean up and it blends great. Metallic paint can also be used. I used copper and then added in purple and silver to create depth in the dandelion painting. You can also experiment with other glued-on additions to your canvas. The pictured bird painting is made with rocks from my friend Laura's yard (thanks Bruce and Laura) and a branch I found on the river (thanks Kristy). It helps to bring the painting alive.

The last step is to dry brush over the hot glue to help it jump off the page. Your paint should be really dry; since hot glue is a plastic, wet paint won't want to stick. Choose your color carefully. On the dragonfly painting I used copper to really help it pop. White, yellow and silver also make great highlights. Sometimes, however, you'll want it darker, like I did on the dandelion painting; for that I used a dark brown paint.

Experiment with colors, texture and even what you use for a canvas! It doesn't have to be traditional materials. Wood, metal and even paper can also be used. It's a quick and easy way to have a really cool piece of art for a gift or that special spot on your wall.

Tips & tricks

* Be sure the glue is completely cooled before touching. A good rule of thumb is at least 5 minutes.

* Pick off all the little strings before you begin paining, or leave them for effect like I did on the dandelion painting.

* These projects are easy enough for a child, but be careful; hot glue/glue guns can leave terrible burns! Always supervise your little crafter.

* Seal the painting with clear coat to make it more durable.

Chelle Doll has been crafting for over 42 years. The original owner of Urban Girl, Chelle does sculpting, sewing, beading, stained glass, quilling and paints with acrylic, watercolor and her new favorite, alcohol ink. Her motto? "Craft until your fingers fall off, then hot glue them back on and keep on creating".