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Flatback vs. Hotfix Rhinestones: Which Should You Use?

Flatback vs. Hotfix Rhinestones: Which Should You Use?

Posted by Rhinestones Unlimited on Jan 16th 2023

If you're new to the world of rhinestones, you may have a hard time determining which kind of rhinestone to use for your project. But don't worry; we're here to help you select the right kind. When it comes to flatback vs. hotfix rhinestones, which should you use? Read on to learn what sets these two types of rhinestones apart and which one is the better fit for your art.

Flatback Rhinestones

Flatback rhinestones are stones that have a flat, smooth backside covered in reflective foil. You apply them using tweezers or one of our pick-up tools, such as the Pick-Me-Up or Pick-N-Stick, and glue. Many kinds of glue work with flatback rhinestones. We recommend light viscosity glues like Gem-Tac for most fabrics and E6000 for trickier, fussier materials like synthetic suede and velvet. We can also give you glue recommendations for other non-fabric projects, such as natural leathers, glass, wood, vinyl, or plastic.

Hotfix Rhinestones

Hotfix rhinestones, also referred to as iron-on rhinestones, have a fabric-friendly heat-sensitive adhesive pre-applied to the backside. To apply hotfix rhinestones, you will need to heat up the glue. There are several methods used to heat the glue; using a heat press, an iron, or a hotfix applicator wand such as a BeJeweler are the most popular methods. A BeJeweler Pro tool is the cleanest, quickest, and easiest method to apply hotfix crystals one by one. Manufacturers typically use a heat press to apply a rhinestone transfer that has the rhinestones preset onto hotfix transfer paper. You can recreate this method by purchasing some of our hotfix transfer paper, setting up your design, and using an iron with a little pressure in place of a large heat press. Larger manufacturers use amazing equipment that uses a digital design and heats and applies the stones with robot precision!

Which To Choose

Flatback vs. hotfix rhinestones: which should you use? Both have their pros and cons. Ultimately, the answer comes down to what you're rhinestoning, whether your material can hold up to heat, and the attachment method you feel most comfortable using. Flatback rhinestones are preferred for custom projects on delicate materials and costumes that will only be hand-washed occasionally. Hotfix rhinestones are preferred for garments that are being mass-produced or may get washed a lot.

No matter the kind of rhinestones you need for your project, you can find them at Rhinestones Unlimited. We have a wide array of MAXIMA Crystals by Preciosa, LUX Austrian Crystal, Starcut Crystal, and Priceless Crystal rhinestones available for bulk purchase. Use our red rhinestones to give your gowns, costumes, nails, and more a bold, lovely look, or pick one of the other colors in our collection.