Have you ever wondered what kind of rhinestone glue works best? Read on to find out what I have learned over the past few years (and I’ve learned a lot). I’m finding that the more I rhinestone jackets and costumes, the more I actually enjoy it. Call me crazy! It’s like a craft – it feels good to see how it turns out when I am done.
Here’s my brief history of rhinestone experience:
Two years ago, my hip hop class danced to “Ice Ice Baby”, the warm up suits we wore seemed appropriate. At the last minute, we decided to put our names in rhinestones on the back. Being that I had no experience with rhinestones, I bought peel and stick ones from the craft store. That was a bad idea for two reasons. First of all, the stickiness of the adhesive was not strong enough for clothing. I ended up having to go buy some glue. I bought the kind that was recommended by the dance studio (Beacon Gem Tac). Since I had to peel the backs off each rhinestone, then glue put glue on each one, it took A LOT longer than I expected. I think in all, it took me about 6 hours. At the end, I was very happy with how it turned out, and my rhinestones stayed on, while most of the other ones that had not been glued on (other people in our class) were falling off.
The next year, my daughter was invited to be in the competition classes. Little did I know how much rhinestoning was involved in competitions. In the end, it was worth it. The extra stones really glitzed up their costumes! Her dance studio gave us the rhinestones we were to use on the costumes, and suggested we use the Gem Tac to glue them on. It was nice not having to peel the backs off each of them, since there were likely several hundred. The Gem Tac was easy to use, though messy. The glue, though white, dried clear, so what little bits of glue did not stay under the rhinestone, was not obvious. This was good, since her ballet costume skirt was purple tulle. White glue spots would not have been pretty. The downside of this glue was that it bled through the fabric. I had to be careful to make sure the layers were separate, and there was something underneath the bottom. My folding table still has my name in glue residue that I have not been able to get off. I also discovered that Gem Tac doesn’t work well on velvet. The top of Grace’s ballet costume was velvet. It took a lot of effort to get the glue to stick and hold the rhinestones on. In the end, I figured out the right amount of pressure, and length of time to squeeze each stone on to make it work. This created a lot of extra time I didn’t plan on spending to get her costume done. I also ended up putting rhinestones on her dance jacket. In the end, most of the rhinestones stayed on through 3 competitions and 2 shows, though a few came off of her jacket after several washings.
Now, we come to this year. We moved to MN, and found ourselves at a new dance studio. In talking to some of the moms, they suggested E-600 for rhinestones. They said it will stick anything to anything. One of the dance moms, Barb, has lots of experience with rhinestones, etc. and said she swears by it. She used it to rhinestone both of her daughters’ costumes, jackets, and other dance gear over the years. She’s also used it to attach bling to her daughter’s Dream Duffel. Yeah, but how hard is it to use?? The answer is, not very.
I had already added rhinestones to Grace’s new jacket. The material was a bit more of a shiny material, with the logo embroidered on the back. I used the Gem Tac as usual, and after 2 washings, rhinestones started falling off. I decided to try some E-6000. They sell it right at the dance studio, and it wasn’t very expensive. I started using it to reapply the few stones that had fallen off. I was disappointed to see that there was a dirty-looking residue where the old glue had been. Maybe Gem Tac doesn’t stay good for a year? Barb told me that E-6000 lasts for years.
When we got her costumes, we were given a packet of 200 rhinestones to apply randomly on her tap skirt, and another packet with more rhinestones that we were to make stars out of. E-6000 and I quickly became friends. It was very sticky, but thicker than the Gem Tac (which was the consistency of school glue). I didn’t have to hold each individual stone on as I applied it. As soon as I put the glue on, it started to dry, which made it bond instantly to the fabric. Due to the thicker consistency, I found myself squirting the glue into a small dollop onto a piece of waxed cardboard. I then used the skinny end of rhinestone sticks to put just a dab of glue on the stone before affixing it. This system went really slick! I was able to do both costumes in the amount of time it took me to do that first one two years ago.
There was one thing I didn’t love about E-6000. When I was making the stars (another blog post to come soon on that ordeal), I had to slide the stones around a bit to get the shape just right. As I did, some glue got up the sides of the rhinestones. This dulled the sparkle of the stones some. I am going to go back and try to scrape some of it off, but I don’t want to wreck the stars, either. On the upside, the glue that did get on the table (not much) peeled right up like a rubber strip.
From now on, I will also be swearing by E-6000 for applying rhinestones. After we get Grace her Dream Duffel, we will try it to affix some bling too. I’ll add a comment once we try it.
What experience have you had with gluing rhinestones? What’s worked, what hasn’t?