Swarovski hot fix - space age "glue"
You'll find Swarovski crystals on fashions from Dancing with the Stars to the Olympics. The fact is, no company can compete with Swarovski's quality or popularity. Swarovski "heat sensitive" (aka hot fix) glue is one of the strongest on this planet. These crystals adhere permanently to porous surfaces - fabrics, wood, paper, etc. If you are embellishing a non-porous surface (glass, plastic, rubber) you may need to use a topical glue. Remember - it doesn't hurt to try the hot fix crystals first - if you're not satisfied, then use glue.
Using topical glue with Hot Fix Crystals or Foiled Rhinestones
You can use hot fix crystals with topical glue in place of foil back rhinestones. The textured back on Swarovski hot fix crystals "grabs" when used with topical glue so it holds more securely. Foil back rhinestones often have a chemical reaction when applied with a topical glue. We've all seen items with a shiny silver spot where these rhinestones fell off. Swarovski's hot fix glue forms a barrier between the glue and crystal so they don't fall off.
Glue types and brands...
There are too many to count. The list would fill several pages and bore you to death. Many crafters like e6000 but the warnings are very serious. Most are toxic, flammable, must be used in a well ventilated area and the clean up is horrible. Gem Tac is a similar glue. We recommend you check to see if they will work on your project and follow the precautions on the label closely.
We only sell one glue. It's odorless, non toxic, non flammable, topical, dries crystal clear, and incredibly durable. Clean up any mess with only water. View details at Crystal Clear Gem Glue.
How to apply glue ...
1. Read all directions that come with the glue you are using.
2. For metals, plastics, and non-porous surfaces, lightly sandpaper the surface.
3. Clean surface with alcohol or detergent and dry thoroughly.
4. If making a design, mark lightly onto the surface and work on one small area at a time.
5. Place small amount of glue on a small area of your item - don't cover the entire item - do in sections for best results.
6. Use Precision Tweezers or Rhinestone Pickup Stick (shown below) to pickup rhinestones.
7. Allow the item to dry thoroughly before using. See glue directions for details.
Flip Flops - Lady Lanell introduced Swarovski embellished flip flops now it seems everyone on earth wants to copy her. Don't be surprised if you can't. BTW, even Lady Lanell's shoes occasionally lose a crystal or two.
Not all flip flops are equal. The straps on Lady Lanell's sandals are wide and flat. When surfaces are not flat or the surface bends, the crystals will pop off. Remember this when decorating different surfaces.
This Remember the body of flip flops may be rubber but usually the straps are plastic. For best results buy shoes with fabric straps so you can easily add rhinestones without a hassle.
Plastics are oil based and are even the best glues may not hold the embellishments permanently. The plastic till emit oil so glue don embellishments will come off. Test a small area first to determine if you are happy with the results. If you decorate PDA's and similar, it may void the warranty. Check with the manufacturer if in doubt. Regardless of how applied, some crystals may fall of from wear, etc. This is natural.
Rubber - Gluing rhinestones to rubber is a difficult task. The surface must be washed with soap and thoroughly dried. The surface needs to be rough for the glue to properly set. Sand off the area you want to decorate. This creates a texture so the glue can "grab" onto the rubber.
One of the biggest problems with gluing rubber is the flexibility of rubber. Using inflexible glue on rubber simply will not work. The rhinestones will pop off easily. Even in the best situation, expect to replace rhinestones.
We have tested many glues and still haven't found one that we can recommend. If you have had success with a particular glue, please let us know. Most of the ones we have found have dangerous fumes and are terribly messy.