Tips for Choosing the Right Glue

Have you ever been stumped when trying to figure out which kind of glue to use in your jewelry projects?

Here, I’ve shared a few tips from jewelry designer, Molly Schaller, which originally appeared in the 2011 edition of Handcrafted Jewelry magazine.



Epoxy is a heavy-duty, multipurpose adhesive that works well for permanently bonding nonporous surfaces. Epoxy comes in a dispenser with two nozzles (one for the epoxy, one for the setting agent) and a plunger that dispenses an equal amount of each. Epoxy sets in five to thirty minutes, depending on the type.


  • Attaching large stones or cabochons to mountings or bezels
  • Attaching flat-back crystals to other items



Jeweler’s cement is a medium-duty, quick-drying, waterproof adhesive that’s perfect for most nonporous jewelry applications. It sets in around 10 minutes and dries clear. The precision tip allows for simple and accurate application in tight spaces.


  • Securing knots
  • Affixing small flat-back crystals or ephemera to other items
  • >Pearl knotting
  • Securing cord ends
  • Appliques



All-purpose contact adhesives are medium- to heavy-duty adhesives that can be used on porous and nonporous surfaces. They work best when applied both to the item to be glued and the surface it needs to stick to. Setting time is about an hour, and curing time is about one to three days for a permanent bond.


  • When flexibility is necessary in a bond, such as securing a knot on elastic cording
  • On flat surfaces
  • On irregular surfaces, such as textured metal
  • Attaching buttons, cabochons, or other found objects to jewelry blanks
  • Attaching paper and other embellishments to metal, leather, and other surfaces
  • When you need a water-resistant or waterproof bond
  • To affix bead embroidery to a backing material



Instant glue has a thin consistency that helps it dry to near invisible. It works on all nonporous surfaces, including metal.


  • When you can’t wait for glue to dry or cannot clamp the item to be glued into place
  • When gluing a round bead to a vertical surface
  • Securing memory-wire ends to memory wire
  • Attaching a pinch bail to a crystal



Use washable fabric glues when working with fabric. Examples include: G-S Hypo Fabric Cement, Fabri-Tac, Jewel Bond, or Gem-Tac.

When working with polymer clay, try Lisa Pavelka’s Signature Series Poly Bonder or other similar products.

If you need an adhesive/gloss when working with paper, use a product such as Mod Podge or Nunn Design Glue, which dries clear.

Be sure to read the manufacturer’s directions and warnings before using any adhesives for details on any safety risks involved with using the glue and information on what materials to use it with.

And if you have tips of your own, please share them with your fellow jewelry artists in the comments section below!

Happy crafting,
Debbie Blair

To find more tips and tricks, visit the Interweave Store!


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