Friday, January 08, 2016

The Best Glue for DIY Glass Gem Magnets

Mod Podge vs. Tacky Glue vs. Quick Grip 

Which of these 3 glues work best for making quick & easy DIY glass gem magnets or pendants? I put them all to the test!

Best Glue for DIY Glass Gem Magnets Crafts by The Funky Felter

After many years working as a professional crafter and also as a publishing Craft Editor, I have gone through an enormous amount of glue - all types of glue from simple white school glue to glue dots to industrial strength adhesives. I've used bottle after bottle, and quite honestly, I've used some bottles just once and set them aside because they didn't cut it for the craft at hand. The right glue matters! And, more importantly, the right adhesive for the right project matters most.

Free Printables for Crafts, Kids Activities, Bible Study, and Christian Education at 123 Journal It Publishing

Recently I made several sets of personalized glass gem magnets and some pendants for gifts to close friends and family. I guess my glue skills were rusty because the first batch of magnets that I excitedly made fell apart. Then the next one that I tried (and this time, I tried just one with the new glue option) came out a bit blurred, not terrible, but not what I was hoping for when I started. After two failed attempts, I decided to pull out the best glue options that I had on hand and test each one side by side. Hopefully my results will benefit you in making a decision on which adhesive to use for your DIY glass gems or pendants.


Aleene's Original Tacky Glue
Matte Mod Podge
Beacon Quick Grip

Tacky Glue vs. Mod Podge vs. Beacon Quick Grip Glue Review  by The Funky Felter

(Side note... These are not your only options. These are just what I happened to have on hand in my craft supply stash for this quick and easy project. Test your own glues too!)


Clear Glass Gems (floral gems or vase fillers work great!)
Sticky-back Magnets (or glue the plain ones on)
Rubbing Alcohol to clean the gems
White card stock paper and ink jet printer to print photos
Picmonkey or photo manipulating software to size photos if needed


1. Clean the gems with a little rubbing alcohol to remove any dirt oily residue from the surface and set them aside.

2. If needed use an online photo editor like Picmonkey (love this site!) or software of your own to re-size your photo images small enough for the glass gems. (I used larger sized glass gems to make it easier on myself and for the details to be seen better.)

3. Print your images onto white card stock paper and let them sit to dry for a few hours if possible. You can cut them out roughly if you like, but there is no need to as it is easier to cut them out after you glue them to the gems.

CRAFTER'S NOTE: I tried sealing my ink jet prints in a few different ways including using Acrylic Gloss Medium, Satin Varnish and Mod Podge, but each of these smudged or blurred my print in some way - some worse than others depending on the amount and brush that I used. I tried brushing these on first and then, with the Gloss Medium, layering it on with a glass plate and brayer to avoid the brush stroke smudges, but nothing worked ideally for this. Ultimately, I decided to leave my ink jet prints without a sealer and see what happened. (Perhaps being a former Craft Editor made me a stickler about things, but I am quite detail oriented, in my testing - to say the least! Ha!)

4. Time to glue! My gluing method for these evolved from brushing the glue on the image, which always caused some kind of smudging or blur, to simply using a dot of glue. I decided the best glue method was to place a dot (a little less than pea size) onto the image itself and then quickly place the flat side of the gem on top and press from the center out to spread the glue evenly. 

5. I continued to press gently to remove as many air bubbles as possible and used a paper towel to wipe up any excess glue. (The goal is to not have much excess to wipe up though - less glue is better here.) Then, once glued in place, I didn't handle the gems at all - at all! Set them aside in a safe place (I used my oven to keep them safe from the cat) and forget about them for a full 24 hours if possible! (See below for my glue recommendation and evaluations.)

6. After they've dried for at least several hours, use a pair of scissors to trim the excess paper away close to the edge of the gem. I coated the backs of mine with Acrylic Gloss Medium and let them dry to seal them. Then I added a sticky-back magnet.


Tacky Glue - this glue has always been my favorite for a thick white all-purpose glue. Although it essentially looks the same as a school glue, it is thicker and has a great hold for everyday craft projects, drying perfectly clear. I also like using it with my daughter for our mommy-daughter projects in lieu of her school glue. However, that being said, it was a total no-go for this glass gem magnet DIY craft. It caused the ink to bleed terribly and ruined the photo image within seconds. Skip this adhesive for your glass gems, but save it for your kid crafts and other quick and easy projects.

Mod Podge - this decoupage glue and sealer is all the rage and has been for a long time. I have to admit that it is my go-to glue for many projects, especially home decorating and canvas art. Unfortunately for me, it didn't cut it for this glass gem magnet craft project. While it performed better than Tacky Glue, it still had issues blurring the ink and slightly distorting the detail of the picture. If you aren't dealing with an image where detail matters (i.e. nature or abstract), then this would probably work fine. It was durable and adhered to the gem well. I would recommend brushing this on though as it is thinner than other white glues I've used and runs more as a drop instead of a thin brushed layer.  

Quick Grip - this is probably the least known adhesive of the three that I tested. It is one of my favorite glues of all time though! Besides E6000, Quick Grip by Beacon is my go-to glue for any material. My husband has even used it to glue mechanical parts together in some of his more manly projects and it has held up great over time. I think of it as more of an industrial strength glue (it is quite smelly!) and usually don't reach for it for my everyday craft projects, but after a few failed attempts, I thought I'd give it a try. Although there were several small air bubbles in many of the gems I made with it, it was by far my favorite adhesive for this glass gem magnet craft. It was cheap, quick and easy, and best of all, it had the least bleed, next to none, on the non-coated ink jet images. I also used it for some pendants and smaller gem magnets and all turned out pretty well, besides the air bubbles. 


Glue Review for Glass Gem Magnets at The Funky Felter

AND THE WINNER IS (drum roll please)...

Beacon Quick Grip - At least that is my personal preference for performance, durability and cost on this DIY glass gem magnet craft - of course, you use whatever you like! And let me know about your own gluing adventures in the comments below! Questions? Comment and I'll do my best to give my "professional" gluing opinion :-) 
Quick and Easy Glass Gem Magnet Craft Tutorial by The Funky Felter

If you have felt craft projects coming up and need to find just the right adhesive, check out my 3 Best Glues for Felt Crafts for my personal favorites and felt gluing tips! 

(Disclaimer note: These are all my personal opinions. No paid advertising for products, just my recommendations of what I like to use on my own craft projects from years of gluing all sorts of objects to objects and occasionally gluing my fingers together, yeah, it happens.)


  1. Glossy Accents always works best for is such a multipurpose glue/sealer,etc. I have not experienced image smearing, but a trick is to heat set your image before doing anything with it...not failproof, but it helps.

    1. Thanks Anne for the tip. I have never tried that glue before and will look it up. How do you heat set your images? I had seen online people using their oven at low temps to essentially dry the ink printed images out better. I had also thought about a hair dryer or a heat gun. Thanks so much for the info. I plan to make some more glass gem magnets for Valentine's Day coming up :) We'll see how it goes...

  2. I have a dedicated iron(no steam) for crafts. Put the image between two white sheets of paper(printer paper works) and press, just press and lift- don't "iron" (move the iron) as that can smudge the print. Just watch that the paper does not burn/singe. I have also just used a heat gun, too.

    1. Big THANKS for such a great tip on setting the inkjet prints! I have an iron that I use for crafts too, but never thought about it for this. Time to pull it out of my craft supply closet and give it a try. I really appreciate your suggestions for both the glass gem glue and the heat setting. Thanks again!

  3. Picmonkey is great for fast online editing..there is no much filters that you needed to use for prof editing (or simple editing of great amount of pics). You can try GIMP (its free) or even aurora tools for pics editing

    1. It looks like Aurora HDR is Mac only and rather pricey and specific to higher end photography needs. For the novice, I would recommend Picmonkey, Pixlr, Canva or one of the many free and easy online photo editors personally. Gimp is good too, but you have to download it also. I work mainly on a chromebook these days and really like the flexibility of all the many (usually free) online photo editors - more economical for the crafter. Thanks so much for sharing!


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