Exactly How To Glue Rocks Together For Crafts (4 Steps)

DIYing trinkets and making pebble art are some of my favorite ways of spending time with my kids. 

But DIY projects involving stones can be complicated. The superglue I use to make pebble art with the kids does not hold heavy stones together in most other passion projects.

In other words, picking the right adhesive depending on the 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.

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

Preparing your rocks for gluing by sanding them makes for a neater-looking outcome and ensures a powerful bond. After sanding, spread an appropriate amount of glue on either rock and position the rocks so they stay put. You will then need to wait between a few minutes to 24 hours for the glue to cure sufficiently.

Here’s a detailed breakdown of every step: 

Step #1: Sand the Stones

A red electric sanding tool

First, you want to identify the areas of the stones that you want to glue. If you have trouble keeping track, marking the area 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. 

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Step #2: Move to a Well-Ventilated Area

A room with a ventilator

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 also important to remember that adhesives can damage the surface you’re working on. Covering the work surface with a plastic tablecloth will help you avoid damage when sticking the rocks together.

Step #3: Apply the Adhesive

Applying adhesive to a small stone with a glue gun

If you’re using super glue or a jewelry adhesive, apply a little dot of the glue 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.

Super glue bonds in a matter of seconds, but 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 of the epoxy. 

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.

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.

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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 glues dry in minutes, whereas epoxies and jewelry adhesives take hours to cure.

How to Pick the Right Adhesive for Gluing Rocks Together

A selection of different kinds of glue in bottles

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 right for sticking large rocks. Acrylic glue can stick rocks together, but it’s also dense, which may take away from the look of your project. 

I’ve highlighted the pros and cons of every adhesive type below:

Epoxy Liquid

Tubes of epoxy glue being squirted onto a surface

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.

Epoxy Putty

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

A bottle of super glue half squirted out

If you want to glue smaller rocks, you can use super glue or jewelry adhesive. Jewelry adhesives take longer to cure but dry clear. 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.

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If you decide to use superglue, make sure you pick up a 100% waterproof one since not all of them are waterproof.

Construction Adhesive

A bucket full of construction adhesive

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 Glue

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

Rocks and stones can be rough, sharp, and have unusual surfaces that make them tricky to use in crafts.
But in this how-to guide, I'll show you my 4-step process for getting small rocks clean and ready to be used in crafting your very own DIY homewares!
Prep Time1 hr
Active Time1 d
Total Time1 d 1 hr
Keyword: Crafts
Cost: $10-30

Equipment

  • Sanding Tool
  • Glue Gun

Materials

  • Epoxy Liquid
  • Epoxy Putty
  • Super Glue
  • Construction Adhesive
  • Acrylic Glue
  • Sandpaper

Instructions

  • Use a sanding tool to smooth the surfaces of the rock and clean them
    Sandpaper
  • Prepare to apply adhesive by first moving into a well ventilated area
  • Apply the adhesives to the rocks and place them together in desired style
    Epoxy Liquid
  • Let the adhesive cure (dry) for a few hours depending on the glue selected

Notes

Make sure to look at the adhesive options on this how-to guide, as there can be different pros and cons to using each.
Liquid Epoxy glue is often a great choice because it’s very strong, but bear in mind it could get messy and difficult quickly if you’re not careful.