Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Reader Question : What Glues to Use for Jewelry Making?

By on Wednesday, May 18, 2011 Comments

Adhesives, Nitrocellulose adhesivesImage via Wikipedia
The Reader Question thread is where I pick a comment or emailed question to answer. I don't claim to know all the answers but I do my best to help. 

When I posted about glue -on adjustable necklace findings,  a reader asked what sort of glue she should use.  I initially suggested E-6000 which is what I mostly use. It is just one of the many glues available and is easily found in stores. But is it the best?

That depends on the application. It's fine for small jobs. I use it mainly on coiled and fold-over cord ends for extra security.  I also like GS Hypo Cement because it comes with a very fine nozzle for detail work.

But I didn't have much success with gluing glass cabochons to metal findings using E-6000. It just isn't strong enough to hold heavier items especially for rings where the wear and tear is considerable.

Way back in 2005, one jewelry making forum member actually did an experiment where she tested 6 different types of glues (E-6000, Crafter's Goop, Weldbond, Omni Stick, Boat Life/Life Seal and Gorilla Glue) on glass cabochon ear studs.  Her test include wriggling the glass cabochons to try and get them off the studs.  In her test, E-6000 held on to the glass only 50% of the time.  Crafter's Goop came out best but the failure rate was still 1 in 4.

For uber performance, some artisans recommend an industrial strength two part epoxy adhesive like Huntsman's Araldite for glass, ceramic etc. It's incredibly strong, long lasting, solvent free and water resistant. The pieces can be painted or sanded after. It's so strong, removing it is very difficult but not impossible - see this eHow article .

A exposure blended photo of the Sydney Opera H...Sydney Opera House via Wikipedia

According to Wikipedia, Araldite has been used in construction (Coventry Cathedral, Sydney Opera House) and in tram manufacturing. This excerpt describes their clever advertising campaign :

Sticky Moment - Araldite Advert Cromwell Rd 1978Image by Danny McL via Flickr"In 1983, British advertising agency FCO Univas set up a visual stunt presentation of the strength of Araldite by gluing a yellow Ford Cortina to a billboard on Cromwell Road, London, with the tagline   "It also sticks handles to teapots. "  

Later, to demonstrate more of its strength, a red identical Ford Cortina was placed on top of the yellow Cortina, with the tagline   "The tension mounts. " Finally, the car was removed from the billboard, leaving a hole on the billboard and a tagline   "How did we pull it off?  "  

If it really holds a car or two, glass cabochon applications will be easy with Araldite! This glue is marketed in the UK and can be purchased through the Amazon UK. Or contact the North American division of Huntsman to ask if they have a list of local suppliers.

Another forum suggestion is Amazing Goop which is available as one part or two part adhesives. Two part adhesives consist of the resin which must be combined or reacted with the accelerator in order to become a glue. One part adhesives offer convenience. The two part types though will ensure the glue is really "fresh" when you use it.

Other products to consider are - Scotch Weld DP460 and Dymax 621.

Some things to consider when choosing a glue :
  • what you are using it for
  • strength
  • durability
  • whether it dries clear or not - a big issue if you are using clear glass
  • working time - a glue that sets too fast will not be useful if you need time to adjust your design 
  • paintability- if that's important to you
  • safety - some glues need to be used in well-ventilated areas because solvents are given off during the curing process
Do you have some favorite glues to suggest?

UPDATE :  I highly recommend Super New Glue.  I used them for these Regaliz™ bracelets.

Before You Go:
Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
Jewelry Making Tips - Jewelry Business Tips 



  1. The Beading Gem must read minds! I was just looking at a design in a new book I bought. I will need to glue a cabochon to backing and was wondering what glue I would use (this was about 15 minutes before I read this blog). I tried using E-6000 to glue a bezel to a glass pendant I made. It didn't hold. A glass expert told me to try "Triolyse" glue. I haven't tried it yet. Does anyone have any experience with it?

  2. I think every jewelry designer asks this question hundreds of times...I'm always looking for something new...I'm sure I've tried 10 different glues and there isn't one that I would recommend!

    I will take a look at the ones you've suggested Pearl...thanks.

  3. Good point reg selection of glue. But unfortunately none of the glues that you mentioned is available here. we get only super glue anabond,quick fix, white adhesive,fabric glue & rubber adhesive. So on behalf of many people like me,here is a request for you (and other experts/bloggers) to mention the kind of glue and not its name while mentioning it in a project so that people like me can find an alternate/equivalent for it where we live

  4. I did. Two part epoxy adhesives are probably the best way to go. There are many brands. So check out your local hardware store for those types of glue. Good luck!

  5. Heather - the trouble with the non-industrial glues we generally get is their relative weakness. So we really need industrial glues for super holds!

  6. Thanks!!! My E6000 dried out enough to render half the tube almost useless, and I was going to get more. Two part makes a lot more sense.

  7. Random question-- do you know of any good uses for broken/cracked/uncut-hole beads? I've amassed a little collection and feel bad throwing it out!

  8. Make friends with a lamp work artist! Some may be glad of scrap glass. I have come across a lamp work artist whose work includes recycled glass. I will be featuring her in the future.

    If it is sterling silver or solid gold beads, perhaps copper, save them until you've got enough to sell for smelters. If they are not precious metals, it might be worth checking with your recycling depot if they will take them. Same with glass if you can't find a lamp work artist near you.

    Or make a mosaic picture!

    Okay to use your question for the future reader question post?

  9. Thanks, those are great ideas!

    I might also try to make some bead cages for the beads with poorly made holes. Other than the fact that no wire can go through them, they are perfectly good.

    Of course you may!

  10. Thanks! It will be a while before it is published.

  11. My favorite glue for jewelry making by far is Weldbond. It will stick almost anything to anythings, is polymer clay safe, doesn't smell and keeps it bond for years. I have tried many glues for many applications including most on your list, and Weldbond is definitely my favorite.

  12. Thanks for sharing your experience with Weldbond for lightweight (relatively) polymer clay. The durability is a plus to hear from a user.

  13. Great post about a perplexing issue.
    So many different types of adhesives on the market and they're each made for specific purposes. Some are flexible, some are hard and brittle, some are instant setting, some take hours to cure, some are low viscosity (so they don't leave a space between the objects being joined) while others are high viscosity (these are great for filling in gaps and cracks), then there are water based, solvent based, two part epoxies and on and on. One almost needs an encyclopedia all about adhesives. Would be a great idea but I guess since there are always new adhesives hitting the market the book would soon be outdated. :(

    One of my favorite adhesives is a two part epoxy that Rio Grande carries but I found it had a very short shelf life and lost it's curing ability after a few months. At $20 for the set (a bottle of resin and a bottle of catalyst) it got a bit expensive to replace every few months.

  14. That's not very good if a 2 part epoxy has such a short shelf life. Looks like all of us have to experiment with different types to find out which works for us.

  15. 2-part epoxy resins are the way to go for those jobs that have a small contact area and the need for good bond strength.
    However, there is a consideration that is mostly forgotten by users that is usually in the instructions. That is; the full-strength time is much-much longer than the cure-time.

    As an example, 5-minute epoxy is great for most jobs. It is workable for 2-3 minutes and 'seems' to form a strong bond after one hour. However, even with this "fast" adhesive, the full-strength time is only achieved after 24 hours.
    Other 2-part adhesives have similar multiplied full-strength times. Be aware of this and do not stress the bond until the full-strength time is past.

  16. Thanks for pointing that out Jim. Although it is difficult for the impatient types to wait!!

  17. I have had excellent luck with UHU quick set transparent 2 part epoxy. I buy it from the jewellery supply store and I keep it in the refrigerator where it lasts forever.

  18. I like to use Devcon 2 Ton Epoxy (mostly with my resin castings)and GS Hypo Cement for other jewelry. Thanks for the other suggestions. I'll have to try them.

  19. Thanks Dana for your recommendation of the 2 part epoxy you use! I just bought any old brand!

  20. My favorite glues are E-6000 and G-S Hypo cement. I use the Hypo Cement to glue ends of cords strings and leather on necklaces and bracelets. I also like to use both to hold metals together when making earrings and for applying rhinestones. It is important to rough up both sides of the areas you will be gluing together plastics and metals to get the best bond. Cleaning off oils from the areas to be glued helps too. The G-S Hypo cement is more fluid while E-6000 is a thicker glue It comes in black and white color and in transparent clear. I also like that the Hypo cement has a fine needle size tip for detail work or applying glue into tight spaces making gluing a cleaner easier process. I find that epoxy and resin is good for glass effect to encapsulate images or art work items onto bezels. If you really want to adhear metals together itd be a good idea to look into soldering techniques.

  21. I'm starting to make the vintage jewlery bracelets. I'm wanting a top quality adhesive that is guaranteed not to fall off, move, anything! I have E6000 but I'm not sure if this is the best for my bracelets. I will be using bracelet blanks and old vintage earring. Is the E6000 not going to guarantee me the security I'm looking for in a super glue? If not what would the highest top quality one I should be using. Thanks Stacy

  22. Stacy, E6000 is fine to use so long as you keep it fresh by making sure you stopper the tube up properly. I recommend you get small tubes so you replenish it more frequently.

    2 part epoxy glues are also good because you have to mix them just before use which means they are freshly made and will bond well.

    Recently I have been having great success with Super New Glue (different from the usual super glue which is notorious for getting brittle) - I get it from Goody Beads. It's what I use for thick European leather bracelets - holds really well.

  23. Two part commercial adhesives will guarantee the strongest bonds but they are more difficult to use since they have to be mixed and cured. Also surface prep will improve your bonds. Try a light abrasion of the two mating surfaces followed by a solvent (acetone) rinse. Be careful not to touch the mating surfaces since oils in your hand will affect the bond. Typical items such as Q-tips actually contaminate bonding surfaces since they are saturated with cotton seed oil.

    1. I agree with you about the mixing part. Thanks for your invaluable tips. I like New Super Glue which makes things easy for me!

  24. So many new things I have learned! I think poor prep work on some rings I glued with 2 part epoxy may have been the culprit. Roughing things up and cleaning with a solvent are 2 steps I didn't do. I will certainly be more careful with my prep work in the future. I just got a bottle of Super New Glue from Amazon. If I were making a beading order, I'm sure it would have been less expensive from a jewelry supply house. I wanted it NOW to try it out, and haven't decided share to start.

    I must at I have used Weldbond on mosaics and it's been wonderful for that. There's also some new glue called Rhino Glue, which I wonder if anyone has tried. I've had horrid luck with Gorilla Glue drying out quickly in the bottle several times. One had good luck with E6000 and GS Hypo Cement for light jobs, but wouldn't use on most rings.

    1. I find Super New Glue great for all kinds of applications - attaching cords to end caps. Even gluing the unraveling ends of some kinds of cords. It is liquid enough to seep through the cords whereas E6000 is too viscous for that. Thanks for the tip on Weldbond. I will have to look out for that!

    2. I also like using super glue, very good in end caps, as long as you have everything prepared, as the material can swell and sets very quick. A touch of nail polish on the knot for elastic bracelets helps.

  25. I'm very much a novice at jewellery making and wonder if I could pick some brains? I've tried various adhesives for attaching dichroic glass cabs to various bails and other findings with varying amounts of success. I've used G-S Hypo cement to bond semi-precious cabs to sterling silver and this has worked well so far but it's not so great with the glass. E6000 works on some pieces with glass but not others which points to my technique being at fault. I spend a lot of time tidying up and leaving no visible traces of adhesive on my pieces and I wonder if this is the problem. This is no doubt a stupid question but is slight excess necessary to ensure a better fix in which case I'm compromising my own work by being too pernickety about appearance of the underside of items?? Any help/advice would be greatly appreciated- thanx.

    1. That is absolutely true that one glue doesn't fit all applications. It is very very difficult to be neat with E6000 and that kind of viscous glue. Maybe use less?

      Try Super New Glue - not the same formulation as the regular Super Glue. It is liquid so it seeps into porous material like cords, is very strong and durable. While you can get a darker stain with the glue on the material, you won't get those ugly blobs as you do with the other types of glue. Works well with glass too. A little goes a long way.

  26. I am an assemblage jewelry artist altering vintage jewelry. I am in desperate need of an adhesive that will bond metal to metal. One of my designs are attaching vintage brooched and old clip earrings to metal hair combs and bobby pins. I have used E6000 in the past but it does not hold. Currently I am using Loctite. It's better but not great. I even rough up both the jewel back and the comb/pins AND clamp for 25 hours. I was told soldering doesn't work for vintage jewelry. I like to apply the jewels at an angle on the comb so the comb can't be easily glide into hair.

    Any/all suggestions appreciated!

    1. Try using 2 part epoxy adhesives. These are freshly made so the hold should be better. But I think as you are using vintage brooches etc which are heavier, you might be better off wiring the pieces down if you can. See this past post -

      Another suggestion I have is to consider using resin clay. This is an air dry clay with a work time of about 2-3 hours before it hardens. Resin clay is also an adhesive so you can embed the brooches and earrings you use. Check it out! Hope these help.