Sticky Situation: Which Glue Is Best for Your Jewelry Project?

Most of us are familiar with the tried-and-true glues from our childhoods: Elmer’s Glue-All (great for creating “fake skin” on your hands that you can peel off once it’s dry to freak out your friends), Krazy Glue (instantly bonds everything, including fingertips!), Glue Stick (boring, but functional), and Blue Paste (are the Blue Door Bead gals the only kids who DIDN’T eat this stuff?).

However, there is a full range of glues on the market that are much better suited for jewelry projects. Below are some of our lessons learned & helpful facts about the glues we carry, as well as the ideal times to use them:

Diamond Glaze

An easy, inexpensive glaze that results in a clear, glossy finish. Drying time is one hour to overnight, depending on the thickness of the application. It has a blue tint when wet, but dries clear. You can imbed objects easily to achieve collage-type effects in bezel settings, and it does not need UV light to cure! Keep in mind that it will drip off metal blanks without edges. Can be applied directly over laser jet images, acid-free paper (like scrapbook paper) and images made from colored pencils, permanent markers and alcohol inks; no sealant needed. Great for scrapbookers & beaders alike! Please be aware that Diamond Glaze does not dry to a glass-like hardness and it is not waterproof.

E-6000

A thick, industrial strength adhesive that forms a permanent bond. It is flexible, paintable, waterproof, washer-dryer safe, photo-safe and non-flammable. It can be used on fabric, wood, metal, glass, ceramics, and more! The resulting bond also acts as a shock absorber; if you drop your glued item, it is less likely to pop apart upon impact if you used E-6000. We recommend applying E-6000 with a toothpick, as it comes out very thick. Dried E-6000 has the consistency of rubber cement and excess glue that you find after drying can be easily removed with a toothpick. Great for gluing large beads and stones into settings, gluing bails onto the back of cabochons, or embellishing hair clips with beads/buttons/etc.

Hypo-Cement

Drying time is about 10 minutes. It works for all types of non-porous bonding, such as setting small cabochons into a bezel or gluing glass beads together. Ideal for sealing final knots when making a knotted necklace or bracelet, gluing the end knot of a stretchy bracelet, or adding an extra bit of security to a crimp end when making feather earrings (a thin coat of glue on the “tabs” of the fold-over crimps works great) . The tube has a pinpoint applicator that makes it possible to do precision gluing. When storing, ensure the needle has slid in correctly; if not closed properly, Hypo-Cement will dry around the tip & make it difficult to open next time.

Special “T”

It has a viscosity similar to honey, a greater gap-filling ability and a longer positioning time than some other glues. The cure time is approximately 50-60 seconds.  Recommended for gluing stones into settings or gluing beads onto illusion cord for a “floating”-style necklace. Store unopened bottles in the freezer to extend shelf life. Bottles which have been opened will experience a shorter shelf life if put into cold storage.

Zap-A-Gap

Zap-A-Gap bonds almost immediately. It fills in small cracks and gaps between beads and can be used on metal, leather, rubber & more. Recommended for securing end caps (beads with a hole only on one side) to Memory Wire.

Zap Jewelry Gel

The thickest ZAP glue of all – great for filling gaps. The tube comes with a long tapered tip allowing precise application. Jewelry-makers like the high strength and the ability to apply just the right amount. Recommended for securing Kumihimo findings.

We hope you now have a better understanding of how helpful specific glues can be for your jewelry pprojects. Using glue that is appropriate for your project can make the difference between a long-lasting piece and one that comes apart the first time you wear it. Don’t become the victim of a failed jewelry project. Now go forth and glue with confidence, and bead boldly!

All glue product photos courtesy of http://www.helby.com.
Bezel jewelry photo courtesy of Blue Door Beads.
Button hair clip photo courtesy of http://www.thepleatedpoppy.com.
Feather earring photo courtesy of http://www.vintaj.com.
Floating necklace photo courtesy of http://www.serendipitytiaras.com.
Memory wire bracelet & ring photo courtesy of http://www.cc-craft.co.uk.
Memory wire end cap photo courtesy of http://www.dickblick.com.
Kumihimo end cap photo courtesy of http://www.etsy.com/shop/LythaStudios.
Kumihimo braid photo courtesy of http://www.meganraley.blogspot.com.

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13 thoughts on “Sticky Situation: Which Glue Is Best for Your Jewelry Project?

  1. Great information. I am very familar with most, but some of the glues are new to me, so good to know. Love Diamond Glaze though, have used it forever.

  2. Any suggestion on the best glue to attach a flat polished stone cabochon to wood? E-6000 would be the easiest for me to find.

    • Hi Bill,

      The E6000 package does say that the glue “can be used on fabric, wood, metal, glass, ceramics…” so although we have never used E6000 on wood here in the shop, it should work. We have used it to glue polished stone cabochons to other things; the important thing to remember is to apply E6000 to both components you plan to glue, let the glue sit for about a minute, and then press the two pieces together before leaving your creation to cure overnight. Best of luck!

      • Thanks for the reply. I’ll do a test piece to see how it works out. I’m making some wood belt buckles. The hardware for the back of the buckle can be screwed down but gluing is the only option for attaching anything to the front.

  3. I’m so happy to find your informtion and your website. I need a little more information about the half-drilled bead caps to go on memory wire. I make bracelets for young children and my main concern is just how strong zap-a-gap is. I worry that they wiil put it in their mouths and possibly bite it off. I know there are dangers with all jewelry for young kids but I want to make sure that the cap will be fairly secure. I will also post a warning to my customers. What do you think?

    • Thanks for contacting us, Lauren!

      You bring up a valid concern, and I am glad you said you know “there are dangers with all jewelry for young kids.” Unfortunately, we can’t guarantee that Zap-A-Gap can withstand the force of a small child’s chomping, because that’s not considered a “normal” jewelry situation. Jewelry isn’t meant to endure a lot of abuse, so the end caps could very well break off.

      Zap-A-Gap has a consistency similar to Krazy Glue, and because of that, it can shatter under a lot of pressure. That could be problematic because A) the child could ingest the glue pieces and B) he/she could also end up swallowing the end cap. My best advice is to forego the end caps completely and simply create simple loops at the ends of your Memory Wire jewelry using round nose pliers. I know that the end caps create a more polished look, but if you’re catering to a kid crowd, I’d say safety first!

  4. I’ve made a wooden ring and wanting to put diamond melee into a 1mn groove.what glue would work best? Thank you.

    • Thanks for your question, Scott! Two different glues could work:

      1) Hypo-Cement is easier to apply with its precise needle-nose applicator, but you may have to use more of it to get a significant amount where you want it. I would try this first, but if you are still able to pick the diamond out of the groove, you should try…

      1) E6000. It is super heavy-duty, but it is extra goopy and you may need to wipe off any excess that that squishes out the side of the setting. Very long-lasting, but it’s more difficult to work with. You may just have to be extra slow when applying to make sure you don’t make a mess.

      Once again, thanks for commenting, and good luck!

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