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I am a sequin naïf.
Sewing sequins on one at a time is laborious. I see that one can use glue but I am sure the sequins shed like mad.

Can one use a pop rivet gun to attach sequins? Are there special tiny rivets?

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Sequins are wonderful and magical, but do take a lot of time to attach by hand one-by-one.

Gluing is not a great option, but can be a good quick fix. One problem with glue is unless you are surgical in your technique, the glue can get on the front of the sequin and make it cloudy.

Another watch-out with glue is that the glue tends to be stronger than the sequin, and unlike using thread where the sequin can adjust to pressure, the glue holds the sequin firmly in place which means it can be easily crushed or broken.

It is possible to attach sequins with a sewing machine (see No. 10 method of attaching sequins in the link below), but that method also requires some precision and attention to detail, and it's debatable whether it is really faster than sewing by hand.

It is also possible to attach sequins with a very small crochet hook (Method 7). Once you get the hang of this method it might be pretty fast, but I have never tried it.

The answer to your question about rivets is, "probably no." Rivets would have one of the same problems as glue - a rivet will be stronger than the sequin, the rivet will hold, but the sequin will break. The hand-sewing equivalent to a rivet is the bead. Instead of bringing your needle up through the center of the sequin and down over the edge of the sequin, you wrap the thread over the edge of the bead and back down through the hole in the sequin.

The bead technique (Method 5) has the benefits of not having the thread showing on the sequin, not holding the sequin so tight that it breaks, and a clear bead can add even more shine while a colored bead can add interesting color effects.

You don't say what you are attaching the sequins to. If it's decorative art that will be looked at or displayed but not worn or handled too much, the glue might work as long as you apply the tiniest amount it takes to attach the sequin, and being sure not to get any glue on the front of the sequin. But even in this case, the glue will hold the sequin in place and can reduce some of the shimmer that comes from the sequin moving and sifting.

For decorative art, a rivet might work, you might come up with some cool "rivet" ideas, e.g., maybe modifying a clear plastic "bead and string" gun like those used to attach price tags to clothing.

It is possible to buy "strings" of sequins (Method 9 in the link), but they don't look as nice as the individually-applied sequins do. That might be an option though if time is your biggest concern.

https://sewguide.com/how-to-sew-sequins/ • Which Needle to use with sequins? • Which Thread to use with sequins? • Method 1.Attaching individual sequins • Method 2 Attaching sequins in a row with back stitches • Method 3 Attaching sequins in a row – with two straight stitches • Method 4 Attaching sequins  – with straight stitches • Method 5 Attaching sequins with a bead • Method 6 Attaching large sequins at the edge  • Method 7 Attaching sequins  with a special needle • Method 8 Attach sequins with fabric glue • Method 9 Attaching sequin trim • Method 10 Attaching sequins with a sewing machine 

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  • After 6 weeks this fine answer! Thank you for taking the time. – Willk Sep 19 '17 at 0:13
  • You are welcome, Will! Have fun in Sequin Land. – user1798 Sep 19 '17 at 3:04

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