5 Tips for Using Dimensional Adhesive Glaze

My Mad Men Obsession (and How It Relates to Beading) 

I’ve been obsessed with the cable series Mad Men lately. If you haven’t seen it, it’s basically a smart soap about Madison Avenue ad execs in 1960. It’s all about sharp suits, Doris Day-style frilly aprons over petticoated taffeta, and lots of martini lunches and general naughtiness. The period is captured just brilliantly in small moments, such as one where a main character very carefully spreads cream cheese into a celery stick, adding it to a pile of other era-appropriate hors d'œuvres. It’s absolutely great fodder to bead by.

There’s a general theme in Mad Men about the impoliteness of sharing your personal life with others. Times certainly have changed since 1960, haven’t they? One look at my new Facebook profile (yes, I finally gave in) makes me realize that most of us simply crave the mundane details from each others’ lives. Makes us feel closer to each other in this sometimes disconnected world. And, as I have mentioned in previous posts, I feel this general movement of the “personal is public” has crept into jewelry design. One of the most popular parts of this trend is adding photos, collages, and small trinkets to jewelry using water-based dimensional adhesive glaze like Diamond Glaze.

I was leery of this stuff until I tried it—seemed too crafty to me. But I bought a bottle and now, just like checking my Facebook profile, I’m obsessed. I find that adding that mixed- media personal touch to my pieces not only gives them a unique look, but also turns them into conversation starters. Just look at the projects in Custom Cool Jewelry by Melinda Barta and you can see what I’m talking about. From bezeled pendants with trinkets that look like they’re imbedded in glass to simple papers and fabric inset on a charm, the possibilities are rich. (And while you’re at it, check out all the rest of the unique personalized component ideas in this book–some are bead-stitched, others wireworked, still others sewn. Dang, Melinda is good!)

5 Tips for Using Dimensional Adhesive Glaze

After lots of trial and error I have several tips I can share about working with this stuff:

1. Turn the glaze bottle upside down for a minute or two so the bubbles can go up and away from the applicator tip before you squirt it out. Squeeze a bit of the glaze onto a scrap piece of paper so the bubbles that are in the tip can come out on the paper, not your piece. If you still end up with bubbles in your piece, you can use a pin to drag each one to the edge of the work, allowing them to pop. If you still can’t make them pop, wave a match over the top of the piece to make the bubbles rise; then you can drag them more easily to the edge.

2. When working with paper and adhesive glaze, seal the paper with acrylic sealer (you know—the stuff we used to decoupage magazine cut-outs onto charred wood in the 1960s?) first, both front and back; let thoroughly dry. This will ensure that the water from the glaze won’t be absorbed into the paper, possibly smearing the printed colors. I can’t tell you how important this is!  

3. If you’re adding a paper image to a bezel that you’ll then be covering with glaze, make sure to glue the paper to the bezel and let dry before you cover it with glaze. This way the paper won’t float up to the top of the glaze.

4. The fact that the glaze is water-based has its upside and downside. The downside is that it isn’t waterproof, which is a bit of a problem for jewelry; you need to design accordingly. The upside is that if you’re doing a collage and totally mess up, you can soak the finding you’re working with in water, dig out the contents, and start over with the same finding.

5. Work in a well-ventilated area, no matter what kind of glue product you’re using. Save the buzz for a delicious Mad Men-style martini lunch with a side of cottage-cheese-and-walnuts-infused green Jello mold instead.

Got more tips for working with dimensional adhesive glaze? Share them on the website.


Jean Campbell writes about beading and life every Wednesday on Beading Daily. If you have comments or questions for Jean, please post them on the website.


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