Gluing stones together requires a strong adhesive suitable for the surface -- a jewelry adhesive may work well for small projects, but a large project with heavy stones calls for another product, such as a construction adhesive. Whichever adhesive you choose, read the package carefully to ensure the material will hold up for your intended project use.
Small to Medium Stones
Glue together a series of small stones using a jewelry and metal adhesive, a "super"-style glue, or a liquid, putty or paste epoxy. If you require a clear bond, opt for a clear jewelry adhesive, a super glue or a clear epoxy resin.
Step 1: Sand for Better Adhesion
Sand the areas where the stones meet with a fine-grit sandpaper for a better bond. Wipe them off with a soft cloth afterwards.
Step 2: Ventilation Is Important
Cover a work surface in a well-ventilated area with a plastic tablecloth; then set the stones and adhesives atop the tablecloth. Many strong adhesives emit strong fumes, so the better the ventilation, the better.
Step 3: Working With the Adhesives
If you're working with a two-part liquid epoxy, pour equal parts of each into a disposable container; then use a small brush or cotton swab to apply the epoxy to the stones. Stones may slip a bit with a liquid epoxy, so position them in such a way that they cannot move, or bind them together with painter's tape. For a two-part putty epoxy, knead equal parts of each color into a ball until the colors blend completely. Place a small piece of the putty between the stones; then press the stones together. When using super glues or jewelry adhesives, apply a dot of glue to bond a small area, or lines of glue to bond a larger surface area.
Step 4: Wait for the Adhesive to Cure
Allow the bond between stones to cure for as long as recommended on the adhesive package. Super glues may bond within a few minutes, while epoxy resins and jewelry adhesives may take hours.
Choosing the Right Adhesive
- Epoxy putties allow you to manipulate the shape of the adhesive and the position of the stones for a while before the substance hardens. The downside is that the putty is visible when cured, much like clay.
- Liquid epoxy resins dry clear and hard, bonding stones that may not fit snugly together. It may make some stones look wet in the area of application. Since this resin is a liquid, it runs a bit after you apply it, so it can pool beneath the stones if you use too much. Epoxy resin works well on stones, both large and small.
- Super glues and jewelry adhesives work well where small bonds are needed, such as gluing tiny polished gemstones atop a larger polished stone for a pendant. Some remain flexible when curing, while others dry rock hard; read the package labels for specifics.
- Construction adhesive, offered in a caulk-style tube, creates bonds strong enough to hold larger stones together, such as baseball-style stones or river rocks around the perimeter of a homemade garden pond. Some construction adhesives are not designed for use under water, so as with any adhesive, read the package thoroughly to ensure you buy the type most suited to your project.