Okay....so for years I made collage jewelry and I used glue.
Hot glue does not work for this stuff. It shrinks in cold, expands (runs) in heat, and your stuff comes apart. Like the old Friendly Plastic, remember that stuff? It was awesome to work with, I have to tell you, I sort of miss it. But it was NO good in heat, it would melt. In cold, it would CRACK.
Well, hot glue is sort of like that. No good for making jewelry. Just don't do it.
Then you have your two-part glues and epoxies. Yes, they work. But in time, they will form a nasty yellow crust. UGH UGH UGH. And they're toxic anyway. So something that is ugly and toxic too, well, why bother.
E6000 and GOOP glues work like the bomb. They DO NOT turn an ugly color in time. They are relatively easy to work with once you get a technique going. They stink and they are toxic and they are bad for YOU, great for jewelry making because they are sturdy as can be, but BAD FOR YOU.
Still nothing else works better if say, you want to take a ring shank and glue a rose on top of it and set with a pearl. Nothing gets banged around worse than a ring. If you use E6000 and let it cure for a few days before you wear that ring, it's probably gonna hold up....for a long time. And it's great for stuff that's uneven, you don't have to have all flat surfaces to get it to 'take'. Again, great for collage jewelry, that way.
If you are going to use this product, and you don't have a respirator or can't stand to work with one, then go outside in the garage, front porch, back on the picnic table or something, to use it. If you use it in close quarters in winter, open the window a little if possible or use a fan to blow the fumes away from you and use it in short stints only. DO NOT EAT while using it. DO NOT HOLD THE GLUE clenched tightly in your little hand, anywhere near your face, while you are using in. DO NOT INHALE!!!! DON'T use it every day, and KEEP IT OFF YOUR SKIN.
Another viable alternative is Crafter's Pick THE ULTIMATE GLUE. We sell it and E6000 both on the website at http://www.bsueboutiques.com. Crafter's Pick is nice and strong, and it is NON TOXIC. I dunno if I would use it to set something on a ring shank that's going to get banged around, but I have made some bodacious picture frames with Crafter's pick, very deeply collaged.
Something like this, however, would take about a week to cure, IMHO. With E6000, it would be cured in two days. But it would be far safer to use.
Okay, so let's talk about lacquer now. I used to carry a product called Treasure Crystal Coat, it's made by the Plaid Co. It really made a magical surface finish on collage like you see here. BUT the main ingredient is BENZENE, which is a horrific carcinogen. So I won't have anything to do with it anymore.