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How to Make Rhinestone Conchos & Buckles

August 25, 2015

A lot of people ask or have questions on making or fixing crystal rhinestone conchos and buckles. It is pretty easy to do and takes a little time and practice to become a pro....But before I tell you the steps, First, we will talk about where to get some crystal rhinestones.... We buy ours from a wholesaler, but there are a lot of good companies online and carry a variety of crystal rhinestones... A couple of the companies I like and have used are, Crystal Rhinestone Boutique and Harman Importing ....Once you decide on your color and the sizes you like, you are going to need some Conchos and/or Buckles..... You can get western conchos and buckles at a good price from conchos.com and tritexconchos.com.... Now you have the main components, Next, you will need some additional items...

  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Cotton balls or cotton pads (I like the pads)
  • Gem picker upper... LOL..... I use the Crystal Katana...It is pricey, but worth the cost if you plan on making a lot of rhinestone conchos
  • Small thin Popsicle sticks... (You can get at any craft store)
  • Adhesive/Glue........ I use Clear epoxy w/5 minute set time....OK let's talk Glue

There are a ton of glue products on the market that can be used for metal and crystal rhinestones.... But the wear and tear our horse do to our Tack make it impossible to have rhinestones permanently stay on our conchos.... With that said, We have tried a lot of products...... I like the epoxy glues that set in five minutes.... The 5 minute set time is not something I would use if you are new to making rhinestone conchos... There are 30 minutes set time epoxy out there to start with... but make sure to keep an eye on the stones... The stones sometimes have a tendency to slide on your conchos until it dries.  You can also use E6000 and I have used in the past and it will work.... However, the rhinestones do come off pretty easily and won't last too long for wear and tear and the sweat of our horses... If you want to use E6000, you can get a syringe with a blunt tip to apply the glue... OK, NOW the steps to make conchos and Buckles...

  1. Wipe down all Conchos & Buckles with rubbing alcohol and air dry... Rub pretty hard to make sure all dirt and oil are removed.
  2. Lay out the rhinestones you plan to use.... Our 1.25" conchos we use (1) 34ss, (6) 30ss and (8) 20ss Rhinestones... I lay enough out to complete 3 or 4 conchos.... (Don't forget I use the 5 minutes set epoxy)
  3. Get a paper plate, piece of cardboard or card-stock and EQUALLY push out a small amount of epoxy from both sides of the epoxy syringe... IF YOU DON'T HAVE ENOUGH HARDER MIXED IN WITH THE EPOXY IT WILL NOT DRY!!!!!!!
  4. Use the thin Popsicle stick to mix the epoxy for about a 30 seconds. Then apply a thin layer staring on top and moving the epoxy around like frosting a cake... then dab some epoxy on the outside portion of conchos if you would like stones placed there.
  5. Then use your Stone Picker Upper and start with the center one and work your way down, moving the stones slightly to where you want them placed.
  6. Now you are done.... Watch your stones until the epoxy has set... If the stones start to slide, you can use your finger or picker upper to move back in place...
  7. Once the epoxy has fully cured... I like to use rubbing alcohol pad and clean the stones of any film left from the epoxy....

It takes time and practice to figure out how much glue you will need on the concho for your stones... Too much and your stone will be covered with glue... Too little and the stones will pop off... But practice makes perfect... Keep trying and before you know it your horse will be all binged!!!  If you have any questions, post your question or email us at alleywaytack.com