To do cabochon beadwork, you need to use a beading foundation. For years people have had to use whatever they could come up with; note cards, coffee can lids, and other equally difficult materials. Then came a product invented and designed specifically for this type of beadwork; LACYS STIFF STUFF! I can't say enough good things about this product! It solves all the problems beaders were having. It can even be dyed with Rit dye to match the color scheme of the beadwork! (I will post those instructions for those of you who want them.)It was invented by Jack and Lace Harrelson of New Mexico, to end the frustration Lace was having with her own beadwork.( she is an AMAZING talent, by the way) And solve it they did! It is now the standard for use in all types of beadwork. Many people have asked how to get the cabochons to stick to the Stiff Stuff; well,There is really no secret to it; you use glue! I prefer to use a glue called E-6000. You can pick it up at Walmart, Menards, or any craft store.
The one thing that I do that I haven't seen anyone else do, is to rough up the back of the cabochon. I use a small dremel to do it, but you could use sandpaper or even a nail file! All you have to do is scratch the back of the cabochon up enough to get a rough surface for the glue to adhere to. This is especially important for stones like black onyx or carnelian; they are so polished and smooth, there is nothing for the glue to hold onto! Stones like pearls or turquoise already have a small amount of surface texture to them and don't need as much roughing up as others.
After you have roughed up the stone, you need to clean it. Use a small amount of rubbing alcohol on a Q-Tip and clean the back of the stone.( DON'T do this to pearls or unbacked opal, and use a light touch on turquoise) The rubbing alcohol removes any dust, oils or dirt that will interfere with the adhesion of the glue. Now you are good to go!
Just slather some E-6000 on the back of your cabochon and stick it down on the Stiff Stuff. Do this on a firm surface and press it down, holding it for a minute. Any glue that oozes out around the stone should be removed immediately with a toothpick. Technically, you really should let this cure" overnight for the best hold possible. For those of you who can't wait, (like me) you should be able to bead around it in about 30 minutes.
Use the time to pick out beads, get your needles and thread together, get a snack.....! No fair peeking to see if the glue is dry; if you pull on the stone too soon, it WILL come up and you WILL have to do it all over again, only now you will have glue to remove from the stone, too! So be patient or do what I do; glue several different projects down and have stockpile ready when you are! Hope this was helpful!