It is a common practice to use backing in beading. Attaching materials to the backs of beads gives beaders a few advantages for their projects. Backing can enhance the look of the gemstone or bead. It can add stability to the bead. When it comes to embroidery, backing provides a strong base for attaching the bead to the embroidery project.
Successfully adding backing to beads and gemstones, like cabochons, requires the use of techniques that ensure the bonding of the bead surface to the backing material. The technique you use will depend upon the materials you are adding as backing to your cabochon. Here we will look at the best way to attach felt to a cabochon. The secret is epoxy.
Cabochons’ shape and texture affect their ability to bond to felt.
Cabochons are gemstones (or pieces of glass) that have been formed into convex shapes. This shape is rounded at the top and flat on the bottom. In addition, the gemstone or glass has been polished, rather than cut into many different faces (a process called faceting). Its entire surface is very smooth and shiny. This process creates brilliant and beautiful gemstones that are ideal for beading and other projects.
These gemstones do present a couple of challenges when it comes to applying a backing of any kind, but felt in particular. The first challenge is the smoothness of the stone. The lack of rough spots makes it harder for the surface of the cabochon to bond successfully with the backing. A certain amount of friction is necessary to create a strong bond that will prevent the backing from coming off during or even after the project.
The second challenge to bonding a cabochon and felt is the felt itself. In the process, you are trying to bond two different types of materials: Glass or gemstone and fabric. These two materials often do not bond easily with each other. In order to create a strong and lasting union between the two, you will need more than simple glue. You will need something that forms a rigid and immovable bond between both types of material.
To apply a felt backing to a cabochon, start with a jewelry-specific epoxy.
Successfully applying a felt background to a cabochon requires you to choose something stronger than glue for the bonding agent. You will need an epoxy. Preferably, you will need a jewelry-specific epoxy.
An epoxy forms a much stronger bond than glue does. It is capable of bonding with a wide variety of surfaces (making it ideal for bonding two different materials). It is resistant to heat and moisture. It contains a resin and, often, a hardener in order to create a very firm bond that is still flexible enough when not hardened to take on a variety of shapes.
There are a variety of industrial-strength craft epoxies from which you can choose. One of the best for dealing with fabrics is E6000. This epoxy comes in different formulations for specific applications. The jewelry and bead formulation works on fabric, stone, and glass, which makes it ideal for bonding the glass or stone of the cabochon with the fabric of the felt.
For attaching different surfaces to each other, E6000 is a good choice. However, other types of epoxy that you can use for this project include Zap a Gap (which works well for the hard surface of the cabochon), Epoxy 220 (which creates one of the strongest epoxy bonds out there), and Devcon 5-minute hold (a good basic epoxy).
Whichever epoxy you choose, make sure that it is suitable for bonding to a variety of surfaces. Some only work with fabrics or only work with harder surfaces. These will not allow you to bond the felt and cabochons as effectively as a multi-purpose epoxy.
Give the epoxy enough time to dry before using your newly-backed cabochon.
Once you select your epoxy, follow its instructions to attach the felt backing to your cabochon. This typically requires you to complete the bonding project within a certain amount of time.
For E6000 epoxies, the working time ranges from a few minutes to several hours. The jewelry and bead formulation has a working time of only 4 minutes. For Devcon 5 epoxy, the working time, as you might expect, is about 5 minutes. This means you will need to work quickly but accurately to affix the piece of felt to the cabochon.
After you apply the epoxy, it takes much longer for the epoxy to set. This time period can last anywhere from 1 hour to 3 days. E6000 cures in about 24 hours, while Devcon 5 is fully set in about 12 hours.
Waiting until the curing process is completed before you use the cabochon for your beading project will ensure a strong and complete bond between the felt and the cabochon. Once the felt is affixed, you can cut it down to size and use the cabochon as you need for your project.
Bonding felt and cabochon for a beading project requires the use of a strong epoxy. The best way to attach felt to cabochons is to use the strongest epoxy you can find to secure these two different materials to each other. Use a strong epoxy according to the instructions, and wait the full curing time before use. Then you will have a felt-backed cabochon to use for whatever beading project you desire.
For any beading supplies you need, including cabochons, check out Austin Bead Gallery. We offer classes, a gallery, and a store where you can obtain both the knowledge and the supplies you need for a successful beading project.