Thursday, September 11, 2014

How to Make "Gem" Stones

I wanted to make a garden ball but did not have an old bowling ball handy. Then it occurred to me, 

"Why not attach glass gems to rocks?"



So, I did a little experiment using a small, pitted rock and two different adhesives I had on hand:

E6000 Craft Adhesive




Pros: Once thoroughly dried, the E6000 had a good, tight seal and there were no globs around the base of the gem.

Glass gems attached with E6000 adhesive

Cons: It was smelly, messy and the gems slid out of place unless I held them until they set (around 15 minutes). To cover the entire rock, the E6000 would be very impractical. Who has the time to hold each gem in place until it sets?



GE Silicone II

Make sure to use the silicone which is waterproof, clear, and made for outdoors – either for gutters and flashing or windows and doors.



Pros: The silicone is thicker than E6000 and the gems stayed in place more easily (however, gravity may still cause some to slide). Even though my silicone was 1 year past the expiration date, it still held the gems and the smell was less intense than a fresh tube.

Glass gems added to pitted rock with silicone adhesive

Cons: Globs of silicone showed around the base of each gem and the adhesive stays somewhat rubbery when dried. The globs may be avoidable if the gems are tightly spaced or a smaller amount of silicone is used. A fresh tube of silicone will be smelly (like ammonia.)



My Preferences


For attaching gems to rocks: I will use the silicone. The stones didn't slide around as much (if at all). I could use the tube like decorating a cake and make designs on the rocks.

For attaching stones together: I will use the E6000. I think the hold would be much better and the look cleaner than blobs of silicone around the glued pieces.

For a more eye-catching "gem" stone: I'll paint the rock first.

Which adhesive held up better outdoors?  

This blog post will be updated in Spring 2015 after the "gem" stones have been outdoors and exposed to the sun, sprinklers, rain, snow, wind and dust.

In the meantime, the "gem" stones add bling to my garden. (But now the other rocks and pavers look oh, so boring.)

"Gem" Stones in the Garden

Update: Spring 2015


After being outdoors all Winter and exposed to wind, rain, dust, and snow, the "gem" stones held up beautifully. I took this photo after I removed them from the garden and just brushed off the red mulch. All the gems were still strongly attached on both the silicone and E6000 stones. And, the "gem" stones don't look much different then the day I originally placed them in the garden.

Photo Taken Spring 2015 - "Gem" Stones Are Fresh Out of the Garden
 
I'm definitely making more of these!

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