Gluing Rhinestones on Mesh or Tulle

Ok, this post is specifically for Lu Lee who asked me about this a couple days ago. Here was her question, "Can you do a blog post about rhinestoning tulle/lace/mesh? I'm unclear on how to keep from glueing the whole garment to the workstation."

This is a great question. Ok. So let's say you want to put rhinestones on something like this:


This is a mesh body suit I'm working on. But the same thing applies to lace or tulle. And Lu Lee is totally correct that the glue will ooze through the fabric onto whatever surface is underneath so as to simultaneously ruin your surface, and having to tear your precious costume piece off of whatever surface was sacrificed for the occasion.

UNLESS... you do this very very simple thing! You buy a roll of parchment paper like this.


I cannot live without parchment paper in my kitchen, the uses of it are endless and time-saving. However, that's not today's point. For rhinestone application on porous fabrics I take a cutting board, but feel free to use whatever appropriately-sized, rigid surface you want, and wrap it in parchment paper. Tape it in the back if you want.


Now, use this as your gluing surface. You don't HAVE to wrap the paper around a hard surface if you don't want, but I prefer a nice, solid, perfectly flat surface for gluing. Plus, once you have rhinestoned the section of the piece that is sitting on the parchment paper, you can now pick it up and move it without moving any of the crystals.


You are able to pick up the board like this because the glue does lightly adhere to the parchment paper as it dries. But it adheres sort of like a post-it note. It's super easy to peel off once it's dry. You can continue to use that same piece of parchment until it's pretty much covered in glue, and then you just peel it off and put another piece on. Seems so obvious, right?

Let me give you a couple of other pointers with respect to gluing onto mesh. Take a look at this next photo. This would be much easier to illustrate if I could figure out how to draw on this image. So bear with me.

This is obviously a super duper close-up. What I'm wanting you to notice is that there are three blobs of white glue that are sitting in sort of a puddle on top of the fabric, do you see those? Ok, that's what the glue needs to look like when adhering the stones. As OPPOSED to the glue dot that you see in the centre of the image. That glue isn't in a puddle anymore because it has seeped through the holes in the mesh onto the parchment underneath before I put the rhinestone on it. I did this on purpose to illustrate the fact that you have two options to deal with this issue.

Burlesque performer and costume blogger

Option One

You can limit the number of glue dots you put down at a time. So instead of say five or six glue blobs, you only put down as many as you can before the glue starts to seep through the fabric. This is going to vary from fabric to fabric. In this case, I would probably only put down three or four max before sticking the stones on. If that doesn't make sense, let me know and I will try to explain differently.

Option Two

Go ahead and put down as many glue blobs as you want and LET the glue seep into the fabric for as long as you want, so that is looks more or less like the center blob in the above photo. You can let it dry longer, but then it's harder to see where your blobs are.

See, what happens in this first pass of glue, as it seeps, it creates sort of a skin that fills the holes in the mesh. Gem-Tac adheres unbelievably well to itself, so you can put down like 20 dots if you want, then go BACK and put aother blob on top of the seeped blob. This second blob will NOT seep into the fabric, because the first dab filled the holes. Lordy that's hard to explain. PLEASE let me know if that sounds like gibberish, ok?

This second option is NECESSARY rather than optional if you are dealing with anything that has much bigger holes, like netting or tulle. In those cases, you have to create a 'skin' with the first pass of glue so that you have a big enough surface to attach the stone to. Remember, you are doing this on parchment, on a smoothe, flat, solid surface under your parchment if you are gluing stuff with bigger holes. Because your 'skin' will only be as flat as the surface under it. And you want a nice flat skin to form so that your rhinestone has a proper surface to stick to.

That's the gist of the thing. Make any sense? I hope so, let me know if not. I can always to a video.



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