When it comes to gluing metal or faux gems to fabric, you have an array of options. While more than one type of glue can do the job, you should consider the durability that you need. Also consider the specific items you're using.
Rhinestones and Heavy Jewels
When gluing rhinestones and heavy jewels to fabric, use a glue manufactured for just that purpose. Glues like that are clearly labelled and often sold in craft stores. Keep in mind that you're not just adhering the metal to the fabric but also making a slight perimeter around the metal on the fabric. Let the glue dry before you move to another part of the fabric. Always test the glue on a scrap of fabric so that you can get a sense of the drying time and how fast it comes out of the applicator to avoid making spots in unintended areas.
Classic Spray Adhesive
A classic spray adhesive is the best all-purpose product when it comes to gluing metal to fabric, according to the creators of thistothat.com, a reference website that covers the adhesion of all types of materials. Keep in mind that when you spray a metal object to fabric using such an adhesive, you want to start with one thin coat and then add an additional coat if necessary. Keep a 6- to 8-inch distance between the can and the fabric to avoid soaking it. Cover your work surface with newspaper or cardboard to protect it while you are spraying. Hold the can as vertical as possible to get even coverage, and wait 30 seconds before pressing the metal object to the fabric once it has been spray with glue. That will give it time to absorb into the fabric and actually have more adhering power.
Instant glues in small tubes sold in drugstores are perfect to have around the house if you need to make a quick repair that involves gluing metal to fabric. They're not a great tool for projects; they have such a quick bond, it's easy to glue your fingers together. Plus, the tubes tends to dry out rather quickly if not kept airtight. Using a hot glue gun is generally pretty effective for craft projects, as the glue is very pliable. To use a hot glue gun, insert a glue stick into the heated craft gun, which is either battery-operated or plugged in. Each squeeze of the trigger produces a spot of very hot glue. But it does not always provide a durable bond, and it is easy to burn yourself with this tool if you touch either the mouth of the gun or the glue.
Any glue contains toxins, so make sure you use it in a well-ventilated area or outside, if possible. Particularly when using spray adhesives, it is recommended that you wear a mask designed for toxic fumes.