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Rhinestone Glue for Fabric – Which adhesive is best?
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Rhinestone Glue for Fabric – Which adhesive is best?

e6000 Glue

Rhinestone glue for fabric can be a fun and creative way to add sparkle and embellishments to your clothing or accessories. With the right glue and technique, you can achieve a strong and long-lasting bond between the rhinestones and the fabric. Whether you’re creating a custom design or simply embellishing an existing piece, gluing rhinestones can be a fun and easy DIY project.

Crafting Ideas_ Best Rhinestone Glue for Fabric _ Art Beat Box

If you’re at the beginning stages of working with rhinestones, you’re definitely going to want to bookmark this tab. Lots of people have asked me what the best glue is to use on fabric. You want a glue that will provide a strong hold, withstand washing and drying, and keep your rhinestones in place for a long time. When you’re working with rhinestones, the glue section at the art supply store is completely overwhelming. You might be asking: What is the right glue? Does any fabric glue work well? How much glue do I need? Can I send items with rhinestones for dry cleaning?

All good questions! Let’s break it down. In this comprehensive post, I will be testing craft store adhesives, specialty rhinestone glue, epoxy glue and more. I’ll also be testing on several fabric types: canvas, cotton, satin, tulle and stretch fabrics.

One thing is for sure…the best way to insure that your rhinestones will stay put is to use strong glue. And yes, the type of glue does matter!

Let’s get started…

When you’re working with rhinestones, it is imperative to test, test and test some more. For my experiments, I used a variety of materials, but when you are working on a large project, the last thing you’ll want is for the large jewels to fall off. You’ll need a full strength adhesive as well as precise application. For some fabrics, you will want machine washable. All of these topics are important when working with rhinestones. So grab some scrap fabric and try out the liquid glues on a small area to check which one has a strong bond.

For my test, I decided to test out the following fabrics:

Best rhinestone glue for fabric
Best rhinestone glue for fabric test
  • Tulle
  • Canvas
  • Cotton 
  • Stretch fabric (spandex)
  • Satin

I used these glues for applying rhinestones to fabric:

Best rhinestone glue for fabric

Things to have on hand when testing:

  • Table covering to protect your work surface
  • Ventilation
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Wax pickers
  • Flat back rhinestones (do not practice using swarovski rhinestones or crystals)
  • hotfix rhinestones
  • Toothpicks

For this test, I also ran the less delicate fabric through the wash machine after letting the glue dry for the right amount of time. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions before doing machine washings. 

Gluing rhinestones onto canvas

Last year I did a full post with several more glue choices. However, during that test I only tested on canvas. Here is that post. So I decided to conduct an experiment using only the recommended adhesives or adhesives I hadn’t previously tried. I used:

  • Aileene’s Rhinestone Adhesive
  • E6000
  • Liquid fusion
  • Gem Tac
  • Jewel It
  • Hotfix rhinestone with heat

Make sure your canvas is clean: I hand washed a canvas bag. I used more glue than I needed so that I could also study how the glue looked on the fabric and along the edges of the stone once dry. I let the glues dry for 24-48 hours depending upon the manufacturer’s recommendations. I also used the same ss stone and color for each test: SS20 amethyst. I predict the results would be the same, if not better, with small stones since they are not as heavy.

Removing rhinestones from un-washed canvas

After the glue was dry, I attempted to remove the rhinestones using a pair of pliers. Here were the results of that test:

Best rhinestone glue for fabric
Best rhinestone glue for canvas

Aileene’s Super Fabric Adhesive: came right off. I didn’t have to use much effort. The glue stayed on, so this would probably bode well with fabric on fabric applications.

E6000: Very strong. I had to use a lot of force to get the rhinestone off. The only downside: E6000 has a strong, toxic odor and the glue leaves little strings which you have to remove immediately otherwise they can stick to the fabric and or the surface of the rhinestone. Also, the glue dries super shiny. So if you use too much, it might show.

What is the best adhesive for gluing rhinestones onto canvas? 

The best glues for gluing rhinestones to canvas are Aileene’s rhinestone adhesive, E6000, liquid fusion, gem tac and hotfix rhinestones with heat press or heat tool.

Gluing rhinestones onto tulle or mesh

If you’re working with a skate costume or a dance costume, you’ll want to make sure you have something under the fabric that will prevent the fabric from being glued to the surface. With mesh and tulle, I used sticker backing paper to prevent the glue from sticking. I also make sure to use a precision applicator tip or a toothpick when applying. I tested:

  • Aileene’s Rhinestone Adhesive
  • E6000
  • Liquid fusion
  • Gem Tac
  • Jewel It
  • Hotfix rhinestone with heat
Best rhinestone glue for fabric
Best rhinestone glue for tulle

What is the best adhesive for gluing rhinestones onto mesh or tulle?

Best rhinestone glue for fabric
Best rhinestone glue for tulle

The best adhesive for gluing rhinestones to mesh or tulle are: E6000, Liquid Fusion, GemTac, Jewel It, and hotfix rhinestones worked great, too!

Gluing rhinestones onto stretch fabric or spandex

First and foremost, you need to pre-stretch the fabric. Then I would recommend adding a coat of wax (pour candle wax and spread – use caution with fire) across the cardboard or cutting mat. Or you can just use a sticky mat (this is what I used). Use what works best for you. Once the fabric is stretched, you can begin gluing. These are the glues I tried:

  • Aileene’s Rhinestone Adhesive
  • E6000
  • Liquid fusion
  • Gem Tac
  • Jewel It
  • Hotfix rhinestones with heat
Best rhinestone glue for fabric
Best rhinestone glue for spandex

What is the best adhesive for gluing rhinestones onto spandex?

Best rhinestone glue for fabric
Best rhinestone glue for spandex

The best adhesive for gluing rhinestones to spandex are Aileen’s Rhinestone adhesive, E6000, Liquid Fusion or hotfix rhinestones. All worked great!

Gluing rhinestones onto satin

For the satin fabric, I also tested a very small amount of glue; like a dot. With those fabrics, the glue will show since the fabric is shiny and I wanted to see if just a dot of glue would be enough. A little glue should go a long way. Satin is an interesting material because it is delicate and slippery. Jewel it and Gem Tac did not hold up. I tried the following adhesives:

  • Aileene’s Rhinestone Adhesive
  • E6000
  • Liquid fusion
  • Gem Tac
  • Jewel It
  • Hotfix rhinestones with heat
Best rhinestone glue for fabric
Best rhinestone glue for satin

What is the best adhesive for gluing rhinestones onto satin?

The best adhesive for gluing rhinestones to spandex  are Aileene’s Rhinestone adhesive, E6000, Liquid Fusion or hotfix rhinestones. All worked great!

Gluing rhinestones onto cotton

Cotton was the most successful fabric for gluing rhinestones. Each and every adhesive stayed in place after 3 days despite trying to remove the stones. I used:

  • Aileene’s Rhinestone Adhesive
  • E6000
  • Liquid fusion
  • ​Gem Tac
  • Jewel It
  • Hotfix rhinestones with heat
Best rhinestone glue for fabric
Best rhinestone glue for cotton

What is the best adhesive for gluing rhinestones onto cotton?

Best rhinestone glue for fabric
Best rhinestone glue for cotton

The best adhesive for gluing rhinestones to cotton are Aileene’s Rhinestone adhesive, E6000, Liquid Fusion, Rhinestone adhesive, Jewel It, Gem tac and hotfix rhinestones. All worked great!

What is the best adhesive for gluing rhinestones onto costumes (ice skating and dance)

Since ice skating and dance costumes are typically made using mesh and spandex, see the above findings. The best adhesives are E6000, Liquid Fusion  or Aileene’s Rhinestone adhesive. I also had great success using hotfix rhinestones but the heat could destroy the delicate fabric.

Well, I learned a whole lot from this test! I figured some of you might be as confused as I am and really wanted to find the answers. 

FAQ for gluing rhinestones onto fabrics:

What is the best technique for gluing rhinestones onto fabric?

  • Because the fabric isn’t a smooth surface, you’ll need to press extra hard to get the stone in the right place. If you do not press hard, and a few times, no adhesive is guaranteed to work.
  •  Be sure not to slide the stones, the glue will show.

Do I need to prep fabric before hand placing rhinestones?

Yes! You do! 

  • For cotton and non-delicate fabrics, be sure to wash before adding rhinestones.
  • Make sure the fabric is lint free. Grab a lint roller or masking tape to remove any lint.
  • Do not use acetone or rubbing alcohol to prep the surface.

Do all rhinestones work on fabric?

  • If the larger stones worked for this experiment, the smaller stones will work even better since they’re less heavy.
  • The best rhinestones to work with are glass, flat back. Acrylic rhinestones and resin rhinestones are totally fine – just not as sparkly
  • This experiment is not for rhinestones with a metal setting

Are there any glues I shouldn’t use on fabric?

  • I didn’t try every permanent adhesive during this experiment, so be sure to do your own testing
  • Do not use a hot glue gun, the hot glue is not a good method for adhering rhinestones to fabric. The glue will not bond and the heat can damage or melt fabric.
  • Do not assume that a low price means lower quality
  • Lots of adhesives call themselves “permanent glue,” but it depends on the surface. For example, something that might work on hard surfaces might not work as well as glues used on porous surfaces. Do your own testing!
  • I decided not to test epoxy resin due to the toxic fumes. That being said, I do think epoxies work great – as long as you do not get any onto the surface of the rhinestone.
  • I also didn’t test UV resin because I didn’t have a UV light and was worried about ventilation.
  • All adhesives get stronger over time. This is especially the case for Gem Tac. I couldn’t believe the difference it made when I waited a long time.
  • Super glue doesn’t work well with rhinestones – trust me; I’ve tried!

Any other tips or tricks?

E6000 is strong. However, it sometimes produces “strings” and has more than just a slight odor. 

How do you remove rhinestones from fabric?

  • If you need to remove rhinestones, do not use nail polish remover or acetone – this may bleach your fabric. If you do not like the exact placement of your stone, your best bet is to remove it when the glue is still wet. Otherwise you risk ruining the fabric all together.

What is the best overall glue (if I had to pick just one)?

The best option and value would be Liquid Fusion. Why? It’s a great value and it is low odor. Also, it doesn’t dry as quickly and can be used in a precision tip bottle (due to the viscosity). 

And…that’s a wrap on gluing rhinestones to fabric! Good luck!

Need to know about the best rhinestone glues for metal? Check out this post!