DIYing trinkets and making pebble art are some of my favorite ways of spending time with my kids. Getting creative is great fun for all ages!
But some DIY projects involving stones can get complicated. The superglue I use to make pebble art with the kids, for example, won’t always hold heavy stones together in most other passion projects.
In other words, picking the right adhesive depending on your type of DIY project is the only way of sticking rocks together for good. Regardless, the process of gluing rocks together will be the same in every project – beyond that, it doesn’t ever have to be complex!
Here’s a quick guide on how to glue rocks together for crafts for a smooth-sailing DIY session – whether you’re by yourself or with the kids.
Preparing Rocks To Glue Together
Before breaking out the adhesive, it’s important to sand and prepare your stones. Preparing your rocks for gluing by sanding them makes for a neater-looking outcome and ensures a powerful bond.
After sanding, you can spread an appropriate amount of glue on either rock and position them so they stay put. You will then need to wait between a few minutes to 24 hours for the rock glue to cure sufficiently.
That’s the quick version – and here’s a detailed breakdown of each step:
Step #1: Sand the Stones
First, you want to identify the areas of the stones that you want to glue. If you have trouble keeping track, marking the areas on your rocks with a pencil will help. You can then proceed to clean and sand the rocks.
Take some fine-grit sandpaper to the areas where the stones meet. If the stones have a lot of dirt on them, wash them off and wipe them to ensure the glue bonds the stones properly.
Wipe off the sanded area with a soft cloth before moving to the next step.
Step #2: Move to a Well-Ventilated Area
Moving to a well-ventilated is an important step that you shouldn’t skip, especially when using powerful adhesives! Most adhesives formulated to hold rocks together release strong fumes when you work with them.
Working with these adhesives in a well-ventilated will lessen the toxic fumes you breathe in – it’s simple science!
It’s also important to remember that adhesives can damage the surface you’re working on. Covering your work surface with a plastic tablecloth will help you avoid damage when sticking the rocks together.
Step #3: Apply the Adhesive
If you’re using super glue or a jewelry adhesive, apply a little dot of the adhesive to the area you want to bond with the other rock. For gluing together larger rock surfaces, apply a few lines of glue to either rock surface before pressing and holding the stones in place.
If you’re using liquid epoxy, use a cotton swab or brush to apply the glue to the rocks.
There’s no specific rock glue however, super glue bonds in a matter of seconds, or if you’re using jewelry adhesive, you will need to ensure the rocks are pressed together for at least ten minutes to bond.
DIYers often use two-part liquid epoxy glues to hold rocks together. To use this epoxy, take a disposable cup and mix equal parts.
You can then use a brush or a cotton swab to cover the areas you want to stick with the adhesive. Epoxy takes days to cure fully, and the adhesive remains pliant for hours – so be patient!
The application process is similar for two-part putty epoxies. However, instead of mixing the liquid, you will have to knead equal parts of the two-part glue into a ball. You’ll know the putty is ready to use when the colors of the glue blend completely.
To apply the putty, put a small piece of the epoxy between the rocks and press them together. When the excess epoxy squeezes out from between the rocks, use your fingers or an ice cream stick to scrape it off gently.
After application, you must position the rocks so they don’t move for at least 24 hours. Keeping the rocks stuck together with painters’ tape may be a good idea if the stones won’t hold in place.
Step #4: Let the Adhesive Cure
The wait for the glue to cure is often what I least look forward to! However, you must allow the glue to cure for as long as recommended by the manufacturer on the packaging. In general, super glue dries in minutes, whereas epoxies and jewelry adhesives take hours to cure.
Trust me – the waiting will be worth it!
How to Pick the Right Adhesive for Gluing Rocks Together
The key to picking the right adhesive lies in understanding the properties of the various types of adhesives. Superglue works well for small and medium-sized bonds, epoxy is great for gluing medium and large-sized rocks, and construction adhesive is ideal for sticking large rocks together.
Acrylic glue can stick rocks together, but it’s also dense, which may take away from the look of your project.
Not sure what to choose? I’ve highlighted the pros and cons of every adhesive type below:
Liquid epoxy resins are the perfect adhesives for bonding rocks that don’t fit snugly. The hold is strong enough to keep large rocks glued.
However, since the epoxy is in liquid form, it runs when you apply it. Therefore, you will need to be careful not to use too much since it will pool on the surface below.
If you like the flexibility of positioning the stones for a while after sticking them together, epoxy putty is right for you to use. These can hold medium and large-sized rocks together without any trouble.
The downside with epoxy putty is that the glue remains visible when it cures, unlike liquid epoxy.
Using either type of epoxy is the best way to glue rocks together for crafts since epoxy bonds don’t ever come apart.
Super Glue/Jewelry Adhesive
Super glue cures quickly but leaves behind a residue that can make the rocks look spotty. If your project involves the rocks being in touch with water, avoid using jewelry adhesives.
If you decide to use superglue, make sure you pick up a 100% waterproof one since not all of them are waterproof.
Typically offered in a caulk-style tube, construction adhesive is the right glue to stick large rocks. However, the high bonding power comes with a catch.
A lot of construction adhesives loosen up underwater. Therefore, you will need to pick your construction adhesive carefully if you know the rocks will be underwater.
Acrylic hot glue can bind together medium-sized rocks and is very convenient to apply. This makes it the right adhesive to use for stone and tile work. But if you’re looking for adhesives for making art, the dense residue left behind by acrylic glue can take away from the appeal of your art.
How to Glue Rocks Together for Crafts: Final Recap
Gluing rocks and stones together can seem like a major feat – but providing you’re well-prepared, you’ll have a smoothed-off, great-looking stone craft in no time.
Here’s a quick recap on the steps you’ll need to follow:
- Use a sanding tool to smooth the surfaces of the rock and clean them.
- Prepare to apply adhesive by first moving into a well-ventilated area.
- Apply the adhesives to the rocks and place them together in your desired style.
- Let the adhesive cure (or dry) for a few hours depending on the glue selected.
Who knows what you might create – time to break out the glue (making sure your worktop’s covered and you’re well-ventilated, of course!).