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Are you adding or replacing rhinestones on a Country, Ballroom or figure skating dress?

4 main rhinestone glues, hot hix, hot glue glue, non-toxic white, epoxy


You need adhesive!

In today’s post I offer the pros and cons about the four main types of rhinestone glues:

….. hot fix

….. glue gun

….. non-toxic, white glues

….. heavy duty, epoxy glues




Rhinestones are a crucial element in most Ballroom, Country and figure skating dresses. They can dramatically change the look of a dress by adding shine, texture, colors and decorative patterns. (Check out my Sew Like A Pro™  RHINESTONE INSPIRATION board on Pinterest. to see some amazing rhinestone patterns and color combinations.)


Many competition and show dresses have a lot of stones. I mean a LOT of stones: 3,000 to 10,000 which equals roughly 21 to 70 gross. Laying down that many stones takes a minimum of 15 hours depending on the amount and size of stones.  Double that amount of time if you are inexperienced or using a slow glue method.

hands on rhinestoning, epoxy rhinestone glue

However, you don’t need thousands of stones to have an eye catching dress.

Done well, a few rhinestones can make a big impact.

Check out my Sew Like A Pro™  DECORATION & FOCAL POINTS Pinterest page  for ideas about how to create strong design elements using just a few rhinestones.

P.S.  My New Zealand Sew Like A Pro™ members call rhinestones “diamantes”.  I would love it if you left a comment below saying your word for “rhinestone”.


Some people love rhinestoning.  They put on a movie and watch as they work and think that’s the best thing ever.

I am not one of those people. I don’t like rhinestoning at all.

For me, it’s a necessary evil that slows me down and makes me want to scream. It’s not that I don’t like the look of rhinestones, which I do. I don’t like gluing on rhinestones because I’m a “starter” not a “finisher”.  When I make a dress, most of the rhinestoning is done once all the sewing is complete. Therefore it’s a “finishing” step.

Check out my blog post: Are You A Starter Or A Finisher? to discover how your preferences and skills can impact your dressmaking.



  • Are you replacing missing rhinestones on a dance or figure skating dress?
  • Do you need to add stones to a store bought dress for a quickie showcase costume?
  • Or, are you ready to decorate the dress you made?

Whatever the case, you need rhinestone glue.

Let's talk details.





hot fix applicator rhinestone gluePlease, can I go to sleep now?

Wow.... hot fix application is  S-L--O---W!  ...  but tidy 🙂

For ballroom and skating costumes that require more than 3-4 rhinestones (I'm not kidding), I do not recommend it.

And really, why bother putting only a handful of stones on a competition level dress anyway? We've got judges and audiences to impress!

However, if you want to learn more about it. Check out this YouTube video: HOW TO USE THE BEJEWELER PRO TO APPLY HOTFIX APPLICATOR 






high temperature hot glue gun, rhinestone glue

If you choose to use this method, be prepared to practice a lot so you can be tidy and fast. Also, expect to get your finger tips burned a few hundred times.

Two more sentences of advice:

  1. Get a high temperature glue gun so you can lay down 3-6 glue dots and stones in one go.
  2. If available, purchase high-strength glue sticks.  Ballroom, Country and ice skating costumes take a beating (not to mention a fair amount of sweat.) We want a glue that can take some banging around.






non-toxic, water-based rhinestone glues



While I have never personally used these glues to attach rhinestones to a dress I made, I suggest them here because they are non-toxic and have merit due to longevity or reputation of the products. These lightweight glues also come in handy when cutting or making your own lace appliques.

Gem-Tac Permanent Adhesive Glue Cement For Rhinestones GEM-TAC is readily available at fabric and craft stores throughout the U.S.A.

Aleene's Jewel-It Embellishing Glue 4oz Sew Like A Pro™ members like both Gem-Tac and Aleene's.

ChrisAnne Clover's Crystal or Jewel Glue


Several of my Sew Like A Pro™ members has used these glues with good success.
One SLP™ member left this comment on our member site after watching the training videos in the RHINESTONE BASICS module:

"I have used Gem-Tac. I like the hold it has had on the projects I’ve used it on. That being said the largest stone size I’ve used it with is a 36ss. So I don’t know how well it holds for larger stones that aren’t also a sew-on jewel. It is more of a liquid than say, the E-6000, when applying, so like Teresa shows it does take some practice to get the right amount.

I’ve had success dabbing the glue on the stone and then placing the stone on to the fabric.  Also, like Teresa shows [in the SLP member videos], I’ve dabbed the glue to the fabric where I want it and then placed the stone on. (I agree with Teresa that this is a much faster application process.)  I’ve also had some success with using heat transfer paper and templates to place more detailed designs on a dress. (If I remember, I’ll post some pictures on the Facebook page of what I mean by that.)

I think the only other “disclaimer” from my experience with Gem-Tac is that I do use heat to “set” it. This was advice I had gotten from the owner of Rhinestoneguy.com while ordering from him. I place the heat transfer paper on top of the glued down stones on the fabric, cover that with a paper towel or a thin cloth (directly applying the iron will melt the heat transfer paper and make a big mess on our fabric, sad to say I know that from personal experience) and than place a hot iron on top for about 20 to 45 seconds, depending on stone size. It still takes about 24 hours for the glue to be completely “cure”, but I feel it has been helpful to apply the heat.

There are lot of good ideas for supplies in these videos. Thanks! They have given me lots of new tools/techniques that I want to try. ?"

Sherri Hansen,  SLP™ member, in Colorado



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These are my favorite aspects about using the epoxy glues for putting rhinestones on dance and skating dresses.

  1. For the most part, E-6000 Adhesive and Amazing GOOP All Purpose Adhesive hold about the same on all fabric types, for all rhinestone sizes.
  2. I put the glue in an oral syringe (like those used to give children or pets liquid medicine). This makes quick, tidy work of putting glue on all types of fabric!
  3. The epoxy glues set up quickly enough that the dress can be moved or rotated in only 3-4 minutes and fairly solid in 10 minutes.
  4. Rhinestones attached with an epoxy glue usually stay on the dress an average of 6-8 years before beginning to fall off.


  1. Read warning labels on the packages.
  2. Be sure to use fans and open windows for good ventilation! I cannot stress this too much.
  3. Should you get a terminal illness or a short term headache from using these epoxy glues, I am not responsible. Use them as your own risk.


E-6000 & GOOP epoxy rhinestone glue


The bottom line is: Despite the toxic fumes, I use these as my primary glue because they are easy to use and long-lasting. For me, the benefits far outweigh having to listen to a fan run while I work.




Watch the video for more details and share this post with all your dancing, skating, sewing friends!



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This Moment - lessons from my cat and dog


WATCH NEXT:  Rhinestoning is one of those things that makes you slow down and be present - focusing only on the task at hand. Check out this blog for more ways to slow your brain down and enjoy what you're doing.


Sherri Hansen, dressmaker, sexy black Smooth dance dress, ballroom dance costume dress


WATCH NEXT: Check out some of Sherri Hansen's beautiful ballroom dance dresses.






What is your favorite type of rhinestones glue?



    11 replies to "Rhinestone Glue: Which Is Right For Your Dress?"

    • Sissie J McCluskey

      Which is best for a mesh overlah dance leotard. Gemtac or e6000? To glue larger rhinestone crystals?

      • Teresa Sigmon

        Either works fine, Sissie. However, I personally always use E6000 or Goop because you can wear the dress for 5-10 years and barely loose a rhinestone. Gemtac is not that durable.

    • Mavis

      Y does the e6000 turn to yellow stains after a year

      • Teresa Sigmon

        Hi Mavis. Thanks for your question.

        In the 15-20 years I’ve been using E6000, I have not noticed any yellow staining. Though it could have happened at some point in time and my clients never said anything to me about it. My sewing school members have also never mentioned E6000 yellowing fabrics.

        There was a glue called Bostik that was experimented with in the ballroom industry in the late 1980s and early 1990s. It yellowed every fabric. It was terrible! Bostik was also crispy on the fabrics and the stones were prone to falling off as a result. I’ve not used that glue since at least 1993. Hopefully, no one else uses Bostik on dance and skate costumes.

    • Marniesews

      I didn’t know about the freezing aspect either but, if people do use E6000 for that reason, safety advice is to use a good quality vapour proof facemask – a fan and open window is akin to a band-aid on a broken arm. The new anti-odour version may be less toxic, I would certainly hope so.

    • Wendy Marfleet

      There is now odour free E6000 Plus. “E6000 PLUS offers virtually the same performance characteristics you love about E6000 but without the odor!”

      • Teresa Sigmon

        Thanks for your comment, Wendy. Have you tried it yet? What did you think of the no-stink version?

        I bought a tube of it a few weeks ago but haven’t had a chance to try it yet. One of my Sew Like A Pro™ members in the UK says it’s very oily and unpleasant to work with 🙁 If it’s oily, then it’s probably super icky like a glue called Stix-All which is NOT on my recommended glue list because it was oily and messy and nearly impossible to get off your fingers.

        I’ll post an update once I’ve officially tried it.

    • Maureen

      For Skate dresses, note that you need a glue that does not become brittle when frozen. IME, Gemtac, and also every form of hot-glue formulation I have ever encountered, will crack when frozen, meaning that they are unsuitable for ice skating applications. Skate dressmakers use E6000 almost exclusively. (Loose rhinestones on the ice are also a serious hazard for skaters, so this is important from a safety as well as a style standpoint.)

      • Teresa Sigmon

        I never thought about the freezing aspect and none of the Sew Like A Pro™ members have ever mentioned it. Thanks for sharing, Maureen! I’ll add that notation to the member’s site as well.

    • Nellie Garber

      Thank you so much Teresa! Very helpful video. Like your read my mind. Just start to explore which stones to buy and which glue to use.
      Thanks again.

      • Teresa Sigmon

        You are quite welcome, Nellie! I’ve been trying to enhance my mind-reading skills, I’m glad they’re getting better 😉

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