A question we’re often asked is ‘how do you attach rhinestones to leather?’ There are so many leather or faux leather materials out there that would look fabulous if adorned with crystals, and some of them are just that! From jackets, boots, belts and watch straps, to dog collars, horse bridals, sofas, handbags and much more! The main question is always around which glue is best for attaching crystals to leather, and the same goes for suede too. We would always recommend E6000, which is an industrial strength glue ideal for porous fabrics, and those which need to be flexible. The new E6000+ now comes without the strong smell that used to put people off. Another great glue is Supertite Fabric Tack, again this is a super strong adhesive perfect for use on fabric. For more information on glue suitability, see our Ultimate Guide to Glue.

We’ve been catching up with Caroline Marston, who came to us recently with an old pair of cowgirl boots and a hat about to be thrown away. With this DIY and upcycling world we now live in, Caroline couldn’t bear to see that happen, so she had an idea! Caroline had visions of sparkle and turned to Crystal Parade.CP: How did you first hear about Crystal Parade?
Caroline: I found Crystal Parade via The Crystal Ninja on one of her live streams. I wanted someone in the UK who sold stones with amazing quality, similar to what she was working with and every time we asked, Crystal Parade and Poppy’s name came up.

CP: Is this your first crystallising project?
Caroline: No, my very first one was a pair of shoes I did for my best friend’s hen do in 2019. Then I did a load of treat jars for my customers (I have a dog walking business), each one had a different dog breed face on the front.

CP: Was there a special reason for adding sparkle to the boots and hat?
Caroline: The boots are my sister’s, they were originally a pair she was going to bin along with the hat. I was looking for a project to do so I was given free rein on what I did with them. She did end up wearing them when she went to Country2Country at the O2 in March.

Caroline: I did a little research with regards to the type of things you would normally find on cowgirl boots when decorated and had come up with a few ideas. Then it was a case of finding what I was looking for which is why I love Crystal Parade, you have an amazing collection of stone shapes in different brands. I’m slowly building up my beautiful collection.

CP: I can see that you used a mix of brands: Preciosa and Zodiac. Did you like the quality of the Zodiac? Would you recommend it as a good alternative to Swarovski?
Caroline: I do mainly use Preciosa as I did find Swarovski was out of my price range. However, I’m loving the mixes Poppy puts together with the vintage stones meaning I’m able to get a beautiful collection together. I have bought a number of Zodiac stones and have found they are amazing quality. I do have an ever growing, collection just don’t tell the hubby. I am looking forward to buying the Mermaid Bubbles next. I already have an idea working in my head.

CP: Which glue and pick up tools did you use?
Caroline: For previous projects I had used a toothpick and blue tack to pick up and apply the stones. But now my pick up tool is a Crystal Katana, which after using on so many other things, is the only tool I will ever use. The boots are made of faux leather so I used Supertite Fabric Tack and I’m pleased to say after my sister spent the night really putting them to the test, we did not lose any stones. To apply the glue, I used a syringe with an 18 gauge tip.

CP: Why did you decide to use a mix of crystal rounds, shapes and cabochons?
Caroline: I love using the Clear and AB rounds and to be honest I’ve been using them since day one, however for the boots I wanted to include the Turquoise and when looking on the site I found the Marble Cabochons, so how could I not add them?

Caroline: When I started, I only ever used SS10 and never really diverted from it. Watching other artists and what they do opened up my eyes and really encouraged me out of my comfort zone and to try more. I do watch Natalie Mugridge, I know she does nails however I take a lot of her ideas and manipulate them to suit what I want to do.

We absolutely love how Caroline upcycled these plain boots by adding a shed load of sparkle! For more inspirational ideas, top tips and How To guides, check out our blog.

Find Caroline on TikTok @carolinebcrystalart

Clothing embellishment