Add sparkle with Swarovski crystals

I had a weekend of back-to-back feisanna, or Irish dance competitions. It was a fun, tiring and rewarding weekend. I’m excited to share my newest creation, which is these bedazzled hardshoe buckles. Irish dancers LOVE adding crystals to things. Crowns, buckles, even dresses are littered with jewels. I’m thrilled I finished the project (a win in itself) and figured out how to jewel Irish dance buckles successfully. I started decorating the buckles for Irish fair in August, but my experiment with using super glue didn’t go well. So in preparation for the weekend I finally succumbed to using the adhesive E6000 for the first time, thanks to my dance classmate who gave me a leftover tube of it.

Selecting the right adhesive

Here’s what I learned about how to Swarovski (yes I just made that into a verb) your own apparel. I mentioned my first attempt involved superglue. Turns out that’s a huge mistake–cyanoacrylate becomes brittle after time and movement can pop embellishments right off! Lesson learned. Unfortunately the alternative, E6000, is pretty toxic stuff. The Material Safety Data Sheet (MDSM) is available online if you want to know the details, but basically when using it you want to 1) use it as infrequently as you can, 2) wear gloves, 3) be in a well-ventilated area, preferably outside if possible.

How to DIY Swarovski BucklesI used a toothpick to apply a bit of glue to the location of where I wanted the crystal, then used the same toothpick to pick up the crystal from the back and place it on the buckle. It was tedious, time-consuming and full of fumes, but it was so worth it to have fully blinged buckles. Since buying the buckles, crystals and glue adds up, choosing the DIY route doesn’t really save any money. But it does allow for customizing a look that’s not otherwise available (I used half clear Swarovski stones and half Aurora Borealis). Dance trends and fashions are changing all the time and fully crystalled buckles are more on trend, so I might add more crystals later. But for now, I’m satisfied!

What adhesives have been successful for your DIY projects? I’d love to hear advice from other crafters about tips and tricks for successful embellishing!

5 Comments on Adding Swarovski Crystals the Right Way

  1. I am a mosaic artist and the best adhesive by far is Weldbond! It glues anything to anything and is water soluble and non-toxic with no fumes at all. I have glued tiles on things that have been exposed to the outdoors, year round, for more than 10 years with no sealant, and they are perfect. You don’t need gloves or ventilation-it’s just like Elmers glue but holds like concrete. Not kidding! I would never use the epoxy glues…not since I’ve found Weldbond 🙂

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