How to Glue Beads

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While beads are designed to be strung on wire or cord, many craft projects including beads may require a more unconventional approach to attaching them. Gluing beads in place can be a quicker technique, is more secure with some materials and creates a different kind of jumbled appearance. When gluing beads in place, you'll get the best results by being aware of the materials you're working with and the best ways to make your glued bead work structurally sound and attractive.

Things You'll Need

  • Beads
  • Glue
  • Project or surface to be covered

Figure out the best glue to use for your bead based on what material they're made from. If they're lightweight and porous (such as wooden beads), you'll be able to use almost any decent craft glue. With heavier beads (like clay) or smooth-surfaced beads like those made of glass, smooth stone or plastic, you'll need to use a glue designed for non-porous materials, like hot melt glue, epoxy, or high-strength glues designed for stone or metal.

Make sure the beads don't have an outside coating that may peel away. Some mass-manufactured beads will be made of plain white plastic, then colored with a spray coating of paint, pearlescent or metallic finish that will often peel away. If these beads are glued, they might fall away, leaving only the finish glued in place. Test your beads by scraping them with a craft knife if you think this might be the case. If it is, use some fine sand paper to rub the side of the bead you're gluing in place; this way, the glue will adhere to the bead itself.

Glue the beads in place one at a time. Place a small dot of glue on the bead rather than the material you're gluing it to (this will give you the most secure hold and avoid using too much glue). Make sure the glue is placed so that the hole in the bead won't be sticking up and visible in your project, unless this is the look you're going for.

Wipe away excess glue after attaching each bead and before the glue has a chance to harden. If you're working with very small beads, use a cotton swab to reach into cramped spaces, moistened if the glue is water-soluble.

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