Flat back Swarovski crystals are perfect for adding to a wide range of materials to adding some sparkle. They are made from lead glass and have a multi faceted face with a flat back on the reverse of the crystal that is available as foiled or un-foiled. The most popular style is the 2058 Swarovski Xilion Rose Enhanced which has 14 facets to provide the ultimate in dazzle. Rhinestones can be added to almost any surface, providing the correct adhesive is used to provide a suitable bond between the crystal and material. For some projects it may be necessary or appropriate to use more than one kind of adhesive if there are a variety of materials involved.
i. If a materials surface is smooth such as rubber or plastic, lightly rubbing the surface with a fine emery cloth or sand paper will provide a better bonding surface.
ii. Pre wash any new fabric prior to adding adhesive to remove any sizing.
iii. A materials surface should be dry, clean and free of any dust, grease or oil before any adhesive is applied.
How to pickup Swarovski Crystals
ii. Jewel Setter – A jewel setter is a plastic wand with a sticky wax bud on the end, gently touch the crystal and it will stick to the bud, the crystal can then be dabbed with glue and placed into position, or just placed onto a glue surface. The bud may leave wax residue on the crystals, which can be easily wiped off once the adhesive is dry.
iii. Precision tip tweezers – Larger crystal can be picked up with fine tipped tweezers.
Choosing the right adhesive for Swarovski Crystals
Swarovski recommend a range of adhesives for applying crystals to most materials as can be seen below.
The Most Popular adhesives for Swarovski crystal rhinestones
There are a range of adhesives that are widely used by the craft and jewellery making communities that are outlined below. Some of these adhesives give off very strong fumes so care needs to be taken whilst using them.
Gem Tac Glue
Gem Tac Glue is manufactured by Beacon Adhesives it’s a permanent non-toxic water based glue, that is washable after 24 hours. It’s an extremely popular adhesive for adding crystals to fabric (dance costumes, t-shirts, jeans etc…) because it’s both strong easy to use and most importantly non-toxic so it’s safe to use in a confined space. Gemtac is clear and flexible when dry so provides a good bond for many surfaces as the glue wont crack if subjected to stress.
Gemtac can be used to embellish: Mobile phones, greetings cards, clothing, shoes, leather goods, wood, suede and glass.
E6000 adhesive is an industrial strength adhesive that is very popular with many craft enthusiasts because it sticks to just about anything and is very strong when dry. It takes about 24 hours to fully cure and is workable for 5 to 15 minutes when using (depending on air temperature), it dries to form a clear flexible rubber that like Gemtac can act as a shock absorber for the crystal if dropped. The downside of this adhesive is the fumes are very strong and contain a carcinogenic substance, so a mask needs to be worn when using. E6000 is 1 part epoxy glue so is ready to use straight out of the tube and doesn’t require any mixing.
E6000 can be used to embellish: Mobile phones, flip flops and other footwear, it’s perfect for attaching crystals to any surface made from fabric, wood, glass or metal.
GS Hypo Cement
GS Hypo Cement comes in a tube with a very fine applicator nozzle like a needle for very fine precision application. It’s widely used for jewellery repairs and watch making because it allows parts to be positioned before drying. It generally becomes tacky in 10-15 seconds but takes 10-15 minutes to dry and is fully cured in an hour. The adhesive dries water clear and is recommended for non porous surfaces it’s also a medium strength cement that won’t bond fingers.
GS Hypo Cement can be used to embellish: Jewelry, plastic, glass, metal, ceramics, painted or sealed woods and other non-porous surfaces.
(There is also a GS Hypo Fabric Cement available that bonds crystals to fabric, textiles, leather, plastic, paper, arts and crafts, glass, metal, yarn and suede.)
Beacon 527 is a fast drying super strong crystal clear adhesive that’s flexible and waterproof once dry. It’s an industrial strength glue like e6000 with very strong fumes so will need to be used in a well ventilated area. Beacon 527 takes approximately 2 hours to dry and 24 hours to fully cure. The tube has a fine tip and the adhesive consistency is less viscous than e6000 which can make precision application easier.
Beacon 527 can be used to embellish: Metal, Glass, Wood, Leather, Cardboard, Paper, Cork, Ceramics, China, Tile and shells.
Author: Crystal and Glass Beads
Other posts that may be of interest
How to make Swarovski Converse – A guide on how to apply crystals
How to crystallize heels – A guide on how to apply crystals to shoe heels
Choosing the best adhesive for fabrics and flatbacks – Tests the most popular adhesives and their bond strength to Swarovski flatbacks.