Crafter's Dilemma: What Glue Do I Use?
Hot glue guns are fun to use.
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Land of Odds
We at Land
of Odds get many questions about what glue to use with rhinestones
and other beading and jewelry-making projects. We're craftspersons
and silversmiths, and we have a shop where we sell rhinestones, beads,
jewelry findings, cabochons and the like.
Nothing is perfect, but based on our experiences, here are
some good tips:
(1) Always experiment with your adhesives first, before you use
an adhesive on your final project.
(2) Glues vary widely in terms of which materials they stick to,
how well they form a bond between two smooth surfaces, and how the
glue bond ages, both in terms of durability and color.
(3) Clean the excess glue off your piece before you display or
(4) You will probably have to rely on more than one type of glue
to accommodate all your types of projects.
Superglue is not our favorite! It often ruins rhinestones and
other pieces we use in jewelry-making. It's bond is tough, but it
breaks easily. Superglue dries like glass, and breaks like glass.
We do, however, use superglue occasionally. We often use it seal
end knots, or coat a frayed strand of cord. We sometimes use it
on crimp beads to enhance the closure.
Hot Glue Guns
Hot glue guns are fun to use. When the materials you are using
are large and bulky, hot glue guns make the projects go faster.
The glue's bond will not last forever. The glue will yellow with
There is a wide variation in the types of pieces called "rhinestones".
Basically, rhinestones are mirror- or foil-backed pieces of clear
glass crystal, glass or plastic.
Sometimes they are faceted; othertimes they are not. Some rhinestones
have a flat back so they can be glued directly to the piece; others
have a pointed back so they can fit into a cup or bezel. Each design
element in the architecture of the rhinestone -- base material,
overall shape, faceting, foil, and effect -- adds to its shine,
sparkle and brilliance. The mirror or foil reflects and refracts
light. Sometimes, the mirror or foil itself has a special color,
effect or treatment applied to it. The clear "glass" can range from,
at the most brilliant end, very-leaded glass to somewhat leaded
glass to glass to acrylic at the least brilliant end. Sometimes
the glass is coated with an effect or treatment.
Your goals for gluing rhinestones into a piece of jewelry or
onto a piece of clothing are simple:
1. You want a bond that sticks and is durable
2. You don't want the adhesive to ruin the rhinestone
3. You want the glue to dry clear and "age" clear
4. You don't want the glue to show outside or over the edges of
5. If you've gotten glue on the stone, you want to be able to
get it off easily
Never use superglue with rhinestones! Superglue clouds
the stone. Superglue dries like glass, so its bond shatters like
glass when the bond is disturbed.
E6000, or any other brand of epoxy, works best with glass crystal
and glass rhinestones, as well as gemstones. Epoxy is a plastic,
and sometimes will dissolve or disturb the foils on the backs of
acrylic rhinestones, although it is fine for acrylic cabochons or
beads which do not have a foil backing. E6000 dries like rubber,
so its bond acts like a shock absorber when the piece is hit, dropped,
banged or otherwise disturbed. E6000 is great for gluing stones
on cloth material, as well, and the bond will withstand several
A rhinestone glue or Elmer's glue works OK for acrylic rhinestones.
Hot glue guns will work with the stones, but the glue doesn't
age well. The bond weakens relatively quickly. The glue yellows
When we use E6000 with rhinestones, we put a little drop of glue
on the end of a pin. Then we touch the glue to the back of the rhinestone.
We maneuver the pin-glue-rhinestone over the place where we want
the stone to be. Then we push the rhinestone in place, and simultaneously
pull the pin away from the stone. We rub the stone and around the
stone with our finger or the pin to get any excess glue off. Before
it dries, E6000 rubs off like rubber cement.
E-6000 is the jeweler's glue of choice, and our favorite. It is
a one-part epoxy, (meaning you don't have to mix anything to make
the glue -- it just comes out of a tube).
Perfect for attaching findings to base metal and costume jewelry
Also, use E-6000 on bead strands to seal end knots and to provide
a strong, flexible seal that won't become brittle or damage the
E-6000 is safe for use with virtually every type of gemstone and
works on wood, leather, vinyl, and canvas.
Non-corrosive and self-leveling, E-6000 adheres in 5 to 10 minutes,
and hardens to a clear, waterproof cure in 24 hours. This means
you have about 10 minutes to position and reposition whatever you
are gluing. If you are making jewelry, you should let the piece
dry "hard" overnight, before you wear it.
We advise against using superglue for most jewelry-making projects.
Superglue discolors stones.
Superglue dries like glass, so its seal shatters like glass when
piece is dropped.
E6000 dries like rubber, so its seal acts like a shock absorber
when a piece is dropped.
E6000 dries clear.
Two things E6000 won't do:
1. Bond two pieces of smooth glass together, like two glass disks.
2. Sometimes, it will pull the foil back away from acrylic rhinestones.
With marcasites, we always use E6000 (or similar epoxy). This
creates the strongest bond.
While this is not foolproof, it is the best and longest lasting
Again, never use superglue.
Also, take off your marcasite jewelry before you wash your hands,
or before you attempt to wash the dishes. The hand-soap and dish-detergent
dissolve most glues. E6000 will withstand this for awhile, but not
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LAND OF ODDS - The South's Most Unusual Shop
150 Second Avenue North, Ste. 110, Nashville, TN 37201
PHONE: 615/254-4341, 726-1665