Tuesday, October 17, 2006


All About Glueing . . .


A few people have asked me what glue I use, how I use it, and how reliable it is for keeping pieces stuck together. So I have decided to write a post on the topic. This way you can avoid the horrible mishaps I have made along the way!

When I first started glueing pieces together for my Victorian-feel jewellery, I used Super Glue. This was a BIG mistake.


Well, first of all, there is some kind of toxic fume in Super Glue that ruins rhinestones. It eats the foil on the back of the stones (where applicable), and fogs the glass. The other problem is that Super Glue produces a very "brittle" bond. So while it's great for a vase that sits up on a shelf, it's hopeless for jewellery - which even with the best intentions can get knocked and dropped. When this happens, the bond shatters, and the bits fall apart.

So I tossed away my Super Glue and went in search of something more reliable. I tried lots of different things before settling on the glue I still use today: Selley's two-part Araldite. You can buy this at just about any hardware store, as well as places like K-Mart and Big W. It costs around $12.00 (from memory), but will last you for ages.

It's called "two-part" Araldite because there are two different components that you need to mix together to form the glue. This is very easy to do. You just squeeze out a roughly equal portion of each onto a clean, flat surface (I use the plastic lid of a Chinese takeaway container), then mix them together with a toothpick.

When you go to buy your Araldite, you might see a few different kinds for sale. For example, some shops stock a quick-drying version. Don't buy this. You just want the original, garden-variety two-part Araldite.

Also, if you have a choice, buy the double-barrel plunger pack, rather than the packet that comes with two screw-top tubes. With constant use, the screw-tops get messy and gluggy. The plunger system is much neater. There's a little red lid that pops off, and then you use the plunger to squeeze out the amount you need.

Here's a picture of my Araldite plunger, so you can see what I am babbling about:

I have glued many, many hundreds of components using this stuff, and I can recall only about three things that have come apart afterwards. The bond is rock solid. You can't even force the components apart.

The other thing I like about this glue is that it starts out cloudy (making it easy to see where you are applying it), but then dries clear. Perfect for jewellery glueing.

There are some disadvantages with Araldite, however. The first is that it takes a long time to dry. You need to allow a good six to eight hours before the components are properly bonded. In winter, it can take even longer.

Because the glue dries so gradually, another disadvantage is that you have to be around while it is drying - to make sure your components stay in position. That doesn't mean you have to sit there for eight hours. It just means you have to check on the pieces every so often to make sure they are where you want them to be. As I said, once the glue dries fully, there is no shifting it. So you need to be able to check on your pieces while they are drying.

It's no big deal, as long as you are going to be at home. For example, if I have any glueing to do for orders to be shipped that day, I make sure it is done before about 10 am. I leave the pieces on my kitchen bench while I am running around doing other things - antiquing, counting beads, taking photos, whatever. Every now and then, I will just check in on my glueing. And if something has slipped off centre, I will gently nudge it back into place. Eventually the glue will get so tacky that the bits won't slip any more.

Once last tip for glueing: your best friend, apart from the glue itself, is LOTS of toothpicks (very cheap). I use them not only for mixing the glue, but also applying it. They're also good for propping up items with an open back (so they don't end up glued to the bench), and items that won't sit flat on the bench. Toothpicks are even great for removing glue - if you have accidentally applied too much of it!

Phew! I think that covers all my knowledge about glueing. Please feel free to drop me a line if you have any questions.

Thankyou thankyou thankyou! This makes things much easier, I don't know why I didnt remember before, but Dad used to use the 2 part araldite to fix cabs into the settings.. I 'll be off to mitre 10 tomorrow, thanks Siobhan!
My absolute pleasure, Margie.
This is one you have already shared with me Siobhan, but I think it's great that you are now able to include such wonderful tips on your web site. Keep them Siobhan!
I agree with jacqueline>blue rose - it is great that you have these tips on your site, Siobhan. I too use the same Selleys Two-Part Araldite as you for my glueing and I would never be without it - a fabulous thing to have ^_^
Another great glue is G-S Hypo Cement and I purchase it cheaply from www.artgemsinc.com look under Tools and Supplies.
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