This month, in the spirit of gratitude and celebration surrounding the holidays, Rhinestones Unlimited turned a team-building opportunity into a full-fledged crystal party! It was fun disguised as learning.
10am: Heat Press. Let me slip into something a little more comfortable… The morning started with the unveiling of a brand new, in-house heat press. This is basically a sandwich press- but, instead of melting gouda and sharp cheddar between two layers of bread, you’re applying a hotfix crystal transfer design onto fabric. We each pressed a glittering RU logo- gleaming in either Swarovski® or LUX Austrian Crystal™- onto a black shirt (then promptly swapped out our work attire for the comfy tee and ran around the warehouse, showing off our sparkly handiwork). Once the design was lined up on the shirt, application time took about 13 seconds. If your creative brain is disciplined enough to plan ahead, this is a great way to knock out group embellishment projects- no need to rely on uncoordinated volunteers to glue every individual stone and hope the result is presentable. Take the time to think through your design, and we can facilitate the custom transfer design and ordering process. With the lower melting temperature of Swarovski® and LUX Austrian Crystal™ hotfix glue, this can even work on heat-sensitive dance fabrics like spandex and stretch lace.
11am: DIY ultrasuede Swarovski bracelet. Ohh, snap!
Move on to a beginner-level project that even our in-house crystal veterans got giddy over. Cut a strip of ultrasuede to overlap at your wrist and add a crystal snap with two squeezes of the Swarovski Crystal Applicator Tool. Keep it basic, or you can do what we did- add more crystal. (What do you mean, you’re not surprised?) We used a syringe, found in the Crystalline Precision Glue Tools, to apply our glue dots, then added 20ss stones with the help of a trusty Pick-N-Stick. Because most of us used E6000, we were able to wear the bracelets (and hold them up to the lights in admiration) within 10 minutes.
12pm: Time to eat! The annual appetizer potluck has grown over the years. Once manageable, when the selection reflected the tasty gourmet efforts of the mere seven or eight employees, it’s now become an event of agonizing choice, knowing we can only consume so much delicious food in one sitting. 2pm: DIY Swarovski beaded wrap bracelet. Restrain yourself… A new project for most of us, our Swarovski rep, Debbi, came to town for the day to walk us through the deceptively simple (but miniscule) world of beading. In a grand encore of the heat press, we applied hotfix-ready strips of Swarovski Crystal Fabric- a sheet of extremely fine crystal pieces- to lengths of leather or jute cording, cutting the crystal-topped strips apart once cooled. Add some findings and a string of Swarovski beads, finish with an adjustable chain and wrap it around your wrist in pride. Yeah- two bracelets! We talked with our hands a lot that day.
4pm: Celebrate in style! In good spirits, we finished out the work day a bit early and headed out to happy hour and bowling at one of Minneapolis’ most beloved landmarks, right in the middle of art-centric Uptown. The party didn’t stop there- oh, no. Next was a gastropub tap house, after that late-night happy hour where our group amped up the energy of a mood-lit eatery, where compliments from patrons and servers alike abounded. We were still wearing the bracelets two days later, out on the town, as some of us toasted the naughty and nice at a holiday burlesque (where the performers- who included an employee and a local customer- also found creative ways in which to wear their Swarovski sparkle. Very creative…).
At the end of the day, we emerged a little smarter, a little more skilled, a lot fuller, and more prepared to get you looking your sparkly best this performance season. We’ve got tons of tricks up our bedazzled t-shirt sleeves, and have seen a lot of ways to shine in the spotlight. On occasion, more than we expected…
Rhinestones Unlimited blog author Jemm Stone is a multifaceted girl navigating our sparkly world with on-point insights. Visit RhinestonesU.com/blog to follow her thoughts as she highlights design trends, turns the spotlight on industry influencers and breaks down how-to tips like light through a crystal prism.