You are about to begin your next creative endeavor. You have music pumping and wine chilling. You have a clear vision in your head of what you want to make. But just as you sit down, you realize…
You don’t have a clue what tools you need to actually execute for this project. Don’t worry—we’ve ALL been there. That’s where we come in.
The Basics of Rhinestone Application
First things first, what material are you using? That will determine the type of rhinestone you want and the best tools to make your vision come to life.
Rhinestones on Fabrics- Our Specialty!
You might be looking to apply rhinestones to one of the following materials:
If you have one of the following fabrics with a low quantity of nylon (or other heat-sensitive material) in the blend, we suggest hotfix rhinestones. Especially if the garment will be washed repeatedly.
- Lycra or Spandex
- Cotton or Blends with Low Polyester
If you have one of the following fabrics with a high quantity of nylon (or other heat-sensitive material), we suggest flat back (no hot fix) rhinestones.
- Chiffon and Sheers
- Polyester or Blends
Hot Fix Rhinestones for Textiles
The crystal manufacturers recommend using hot fix rhinestones whenever possible. This is the best solution for larger scale manufacturing. However, with smaller custom jobs and without equipment such as heat presses or hotfix setting machines, many of our customers prefer to glue the non-hot fix flatback rhinestones to their projects. For smaller projects, check out the BeJeweler brand of tools which work great with hotfix rhinestones!
Also, beware, some fabrics don’t react well to heat! You’ll want to avoid using hotfix rhinestones on those and opt instead for non-hotfix (glue on or metal set) flatback rhinestones or sew-on rhinestones.
Glue On or Metal Set Your Flatback Rhinestones
If you would like to either glue your rhinestones on or use metal settings, you will need non-hot fix rhinestones, also known as simply "Flatback Rhinestones".
Many types of glue on the market work well to adhere rhinestones to fabric. It’s all about finding the one best suited to your fabric type:
- E6000 works well for trickier materials: suede, velvet, and vinyl. For vinyl, please test
- Glues with a lighter viscosity, including Gem-Tac or E6000 Fabri-Fuse, are easy to apply straight from the bottle and are suitable for almost any fabric, stretch and non-stretch alike.
Rhinestones Unlimited Pro-Tip: Protect your work surface from any glue that may seep through the fabric. If your material is sheer or thin, slip a barrier between layers of fabric. Read our in-depth article on rhinestone glues.
When Should I Use Sew-On Rhinestones?
Great questions—there is certainly a time and place for sew-on rhinestones. You can also elevate your design with sew-on rhinestones, trims, appliques, and banding (essentially rhinestones by the yard). If you desire the look of large sew-on jewels, appliques, or the very straight and linear look of banding, you will want to choose from these options. Reminder to you, if your garment will not be washed repeatedly (like a costume) or your sewing skills are limited, you can use our fabric adhesives to attach these trimmings.
What about Leather and Rhinestones?
Leather gets a bit trickier. You’ll want to skip the hotfix and choose non-hotfix rhinestones with metal settings for this material. The glue situation for leather is tricky but not impossible. Want to dive in further? Read our guide to “Rhinestones and Leather.”
What about Rhinestones on Glass, Wood, Metal, Acrylic, or Painted Canvas?
You probably won’t be surprised to learn that you will want to use non-hotfix rhinestones adhered with the right glue for these materials. Read our glue article for a deeper breakdown.
Crystals for Nails
To add dazzling crystals for nails, you’ll want to look into non-hotfix rhinestones, our GEMGEL Adhesive, and our nail tech tools. These will help you get this detailed work just right.
SHOP CRYSTALS FOR NAILS
Rhinestones for your Eyes & Face
To add some sparkle to your next make-up application for an extra glam look for costume or clubbing, we recommend non-hotfix rhinestones applied with eyelash or skin adhesive such as spirit gum. Please snap a shot of your work and tag us on Instagram @rhinestonesunlimited- these pics are always fun to share!
The Right Tools for Rhinestone Application
As I mentioned, the type of rhinestones determines the tools you’ll want to use.
Flatback or Non-Hotfix Rhinestones
Our Crystalline Magical Tray helps you organize your rhinestones to be more manageable. Simply lay out your rhinestones and shake the tray—it will flip your crystals the right way.
Rhinestones Unlimited Pro-Tip: In a pinch, you can also use a bumpy (quilted) paper towel folded in half. Place your rhinestones inside the paper tower, then shake it. That flips your rhinestones, too, so they’re all facing the correct way.
Then, use one of our pick-up tools to pick up and place your rhinestones easily.
This is when the magic begins. You’ll want your glue and a syringe to attach your rhinestones to your fabric.
How About Rhinestone Storage?
At the end of a long project, you want to store your rhinestones and tools for rhinestone applicationsomewhere safe and organized. Take it from me; you’ll thank yourself when you begin your next project.
Get Ready to Create Something Magnificent
Well, there you have it - you’re officially ready for your next project. This first decision is the most daunting, now, relax, design, and enjoy the creative process!
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.
We cannot wait to see what you create next!
-until next time-
Jemm is our Rhinestones Unlimited blogger who should probably sort through her own glue collection before she begins yet another project.