Rhinestones 101: How Many Rhinestones Do I Need?

Rhinestones 101: How Many Rhinestones Do I Need?

Posted by Rhinestones Unlimited on Sep 25th 2022

For Today's Rhinestones 101 lesson, we’re delving into the frequently asked question, How many rhinestones do I need for my project?  We have some great tools to help!  

I hate to tell you this, but we’re at the portion of rhinestones that comes down to math. You’ve chosen your design statement, method of attachment, and product. You’re ready to get started, right? Except that you don’t know how much you need. (Someone, please insert a big sigh here) The process may seem daunting at first, but we’ll go through a step-by-step guide that's relatively stress-free.

How Many Rhinestones Do I Need?

Figuring out the technical design aspect has always been- in my personal opinion- the least exciting part.  Well, fear not! Or at least, fear not as much!  Rhinestones Unlimited can help make your spec sheet a breeze.  These tips are great when estimating how many rhinestones you need for a garment, such as a dance, skating, or gymnastics leotard costume.

Be Your Own Measuring Stick

First, a lifelong lesson: Learn to use your body as an estimating device to make measurements of non-linear, curvy or round sections such as arms, circle skirts, or bodices. 

For instance,  a yard: hold the tip of a yardstick or yard of fabric in your hand and straighten your arm out to the side. Where does the other end of the yardstick fall on your chest? For me, a yard is from my grasping fingers to just beyond the center of my collarbone; a meter is one full pace.

Now, a foot: outer elbow to wrist, maybe, or fingertips to that freckle on your forearm? Now, make your hand into a fist, stretching the pinkie and the thumb as far as you can in opposite directions; measure the distance between them. For me, I can pretty accurately measure the 15” width of my computer screen just by knowing that it takes two of these pinkie-to-thumb measurements.

What about square inches? This one is helpful when figuring out how many rhinestones to scatter over a bodice or section of a skirt.  Your palm? (Mine is close to 10 square inches)

A few more measurements I tend to use when designing apparel: the length of your pointer finger? (Mine is right about 3”), and the width of your thumbnail? How about your middle finger?  Watch how you use that one :) Getting familiar with your own body’s measurements can give you a good idea of how much space other objects take up by comparing them with your own “tools.”

Use Our Rhinestone Estimating Guide

With scratch paper, a calculator, and your measuring tool of choice, take a look at your blank canvas. Perhaps it’s a costume, phone case, tumbler, etc. Is the space you want to rhinestone linear or geometric? That is to say—are you outlining or filling in space? 

Our Rhinestone Estimating Guide is an accurate reference for space planning. This type of rhinestone calculator will cut down on a lot of math you’d otherwise have to do (now, giant sigh of relief here) If you are using 12ss, 16ss, 20ss, 30ss, or 34ss, we have calculated both linear distances and spatial coverage for each of these stone sizes.

Download Our Estimating Guide

Rhinestones Estimating Guide

Print off a copy for your workspace for free, or access it online at any time. Remember, check your print settings - the images are realistically represented when printed at 100%.

Let’s say your piece has a repeating pattern of floral lace. Count how many stones you would like to make a complete flower. Then, note how many flowers are in a 6” square. Finally, count how many 6” squares can fit on your costume—remember to count front and back. Once you have figured out how many rhinestones you need in each color and size combination, you can divide them by gross to find the number of packages to purchase.

Most rhinestones come in multiples of dozens or gross.

Are you more of a visual learner and want to skip past all of this math? Our friends at The Line Up have created a really great visual guide with images of dance costumes to help with the math-challenged! Check it out!  How to Estimate The Number of Rhinestones for Your Dance Costume, by The Line Up

How Do I Calculate Crystals?

Rhinestone Calculator- How Many Rhinestones Per Inch?

If you would rather just run some quick calculations and don't need the visuals, here you go.,,

How many 5ss crystals per inch? 14 

How many 7ss crystals per inch?  12

How many 9ss crystals per inch? 10 

How many 12ss crystals per inch? 8

How many 16ss crystals per inch? 7 

How many 20ss crystals per inch? 5 

How many 30ss crystals inch? 4 

Rhinestone Calculator- How Many Rhinestones Per Square Inch?

If you would rather just run some quick calculations and don't need the visuals, here you go.,,

How many 5ss crystals per square inch? 196

How many 7ss crystals per square inch? 144

How many 9ss crystals per square inch? 100

How many 12ss crystals per square inch? 64

How many 16ss crystals per square inch? 49

How many 20ss crystals per square inch? 30

How many 30ss crystals square inch? 16

Math reminder for us visual types- 2" wide x 5" long= 10 square inches.

How Many Rhinestones Are in a Gross? 

1 gross package is a dozen dozens (12x12) = 144 rhinestones. 

How many Rhinestones in Half of a Gross?

.5 or half gross package is six dozen (6x12) = 72 rhinestones. 

How many Rhinestones in 5 Gross?

5 gross package (5x144) = 720 rhinestones. 

How many Rhinestones in 10 Gross?

10 gross package (10x144) = 1,440 rhinestones.

If you don’t need as many rhinestones as the manufacturers have put in one envelope, we have package options available for smaller quantities. Flat back and hotfix rhinestones may be sealed into ten gross packages by the manufacturer, while shapes and fancy stones may be sold in quantities of six dozen or more. Because packaging involves time and material, the best value per gross remains with the full manufacturer’s packages.

Reference guides are available online for both quantities estimating and package pricing. With our help, decisions will come naturally after the first few projects. Remember, this should be fun!

How Many Rhinestones do I Need to Cover a Tumbler?

So, we do know that not all of our customers are estimating for a garment.  What about the fun trend of the Bling Cup made popular by Jennifer Lopez?  Our estimate for an average-sized tumbler is 2500-3000 size 20ss crystals when doing a simple honeycomb pattern.  If you want your design to feature your name or some other design with curves and bends, you will want to pick up some smaller crystals, such as 12ss to fill in the gaps.  

How Many Rhinestones Do I Need to Cover Converse?

We love converse covered in crystals!  What a fun addition to your 4th of July outfit, wedding ensemble when finished with your heels, or a cute gift with ribbon laces for someone special!  For an average woman's size 7, we are estimating 15 gross of 20ss and 5 gross of 12ss (for fill in on the curves).  This would be for a simple honeycomb pattern.  You will need to adjust based on several colors and curves in a design.  This is enough to completely cover the shoes.  You can use the estimating guide or crystal calculator above for a more accurate estimate for your specific project.  Happy Rhinestoning!

Rhinestones 101

Plan Your Project

Thank you for following along on today’s lesson! We know that estimating the quantity of crystals for your project is only one of the many decisions you need to make while planning your design. Check out our Rhinestones 101 Series, PLAN YOUR PROJECT for help:

1) Choosing a  brand & quality of crystal.

2) Deciding what rhinestone size you want.

3) Learning what attachment method is best for your project.

4) Selecting your rhinestone colors.

5) Estimating how many you need to order.

6) Determining which  rhinestone glue will work best for you.

Create A Beautiful Work of Art & Share It With Us

@rhinestonesunlimited on Instagram!

At the end of the day, designing is a matter of opinion: yours. True, some attachment methods may work more smoothly than others, a particular rhinestone color may better translate the desired mood, different arrangements of facets glitter with different personalities.

When you are open to experimentation, you'll find what clicks for you. Maybe your ultimate routine will involve hot fix stones and metal studs, a glass of Pinot Noir, and the soundtrack to Chicago. Just me? Okay then.

Think of rhinestones as a Choose Your Own Adventure story. No need to fret—no matter which path you choose, they all bring you to a wonderful end product! 



Rhinestones Unlimited blog author Jemm Stone is here to deliver rhinestones advice, insights, and tricks you need. Keep an eye on her blog for the latest RU news.

Download our Rhinestone Estimating Guide. 

Don’t forget, when printing our estimating guide; make sure your printer is set to  100%.