A few guidelines:
- Use varying quality of stones on larger projects. Your largest stones should be the highest quality because they'll catch the most light. Scrimp on the spending with the smaller stones. It's okay to use cheap glass or plastic stones as filler when you're covering a large area.
- Use the least toxic glue you can. Highly toxic cements like E-6000 and Bond 527 might dry quickly, but you need to open a window when working with these cements and watch for potential allergic reaction. Glue like Gem-Tac and Jewel-It aren't as toxic but require a longer drying time. There is a special hot glue for embellishments, but you'll probably want a hot glue gun dedicated to that glue to maintain its integrity.
- Toothpicks or stir sticks are great embellishment tools. You can also use wax sticks from jewelry stores. I've had to rhinestone with my fingers alone, but that doesn't work so well on small stones.
To apply each stone, put a tiny pool of glue on a scrap of paper. Pour a small amount of stones onto your worktable or into a dish, flipping the foil side up to make the process easier. Dab a tiny bit of glue onto the tip of the toothpick. Use that dab of glue to lift a single rhinestone. Slide that rhinestone gently onto the surface of your project.
For symbols and pasties, I recommend you do all outlines first and fill in the rest later. You can see with the Bat symbol that I started lining the edges of the yellow section before filling them in. It's much easier to leave tiny gaps in the middle and have them go unnoticed than to cram in so many stones that your edges are janky.
If you get wet glue on the top (exposed glass edge) of the rhinestone, try scraping off the excess with the clean edge of your toothpick or stir stick. If that doesn't work, dampen the end of a cotton swap with a very tiny amount of rubbing alcohol. Gently buff the top of the rhinestone with the swap until the glue is gone.
Here's the completed version:
If you have rhinestoning questions or concerns, let me know. I'm happy to share what I've learned.