The Ultimate Guide to Using Flatback Rhinestones on Clothing

The Ultimate Guide to Using Flatback Rhinestones on Clothing

Posted by Rhinestones Unlimited on Sep 1st 2022

Do you have a piece of clothing that you think would look amazing covered in bling, but you’re hesitant because you aren’t sure how to shop for and apply rhinestones properly? Don’t give up on your artistic vision. Choosing and attaching rhinestones is much easier than it looks and sounds! In this ultimate guide to using flatback rhinestones on clothing, we’ll help you find the best rhinestones and tools for your garment and guide you through the process of using flatbacks.

What’s a Flatback Rhinestone?

A flatback rhinestone is a crystal, glass, or acrylic stone that has a three-dimensional and faceted face. Unlike jewels or gemstones, flatback rhinestones don’t have a chaton, or pointed/cushion back. Rather, their back is smooth and flat, making them easy to glue on costumes, home decor, and more.

Selecting Rhinestones for Your Project

First and foremost, you need to pick out some stones for your project! There’s a lot to consider when shopping for rhinestones; we’ll go over the most important points here.

The Attachment Method

There are several attachment methods for flatback rhinestones. The most common are sew-on, hotfix, and glue-on. Sew-on rhinestones and glue-on rhinestones are self-explanatory.

Hotfix rhinestones are stones with glue pre-applied to the back; all you have to do is melt the glue and stick the rhinestones on. Hotfix rhinestones are quick and easy to apply—with machinery. We don’t recommend using them for bigger projects, but these stones work amazingly for smaller ones. Just confirm your fabric isn’t sensitive to heat before using them, or you risk tearing, burning, or shrinking your garment.

Glue-on stones are arguably the easiest for DIYers to use. Just press them into some glue and wait for them to dry. Sew-on rhinestones are ideal if you know how to sew and want to decorate with large jewels, bands, and/or appliques. Each type has its pros and cons, so choose the one that best suits your needs.

The Brand

With so many brands to choose from, it can be hard to settle on just one! Fortunately, all the stones we carry at Rhinestones Unlimited are extremely high-quality. We recommend focusing mainly on the color you want rather than minuscule differences in quality.

The Color(s)

With hundreds of options, you can get any color of the rainbow for your garment! Browse our store to see all the possibilities.

The Size

We recommend using two to three different sizes to add dimension to your garment. Our most popular sizes are 20ss and 30ss, but we also carry 12ss, 16ss, 40ss, and many other sizes of stones!

The Amount

Finally, you need to determine the number of rhinestones you need for your project. Math isn’t easy, but you can use our handy Estimating Guide to make estimating as quick and as stress-free as possible.

How To Use Flatback Rhinestones on Apparel

You’ll be happy to hear that you can bling pretty much any kind of clothing using flatback rhinestones. Whether you’re a debutante who wants to add a touch of personality to your gown, an ice skater who wants to glisten on the rink, or a mom who makes their child’s dance costumes from scratch, you can glam up your attire using these beginner-friendly stones. And the best part? Using flatback rhinestones is remarkably easy! In this ultimate guide to using flatback rhinestones on clothing, we’ll teach you how to apply these stones step by step.

Materials for Different Types

To start, what kind of rhinestones do you have? Do you have sew-on rhinestones? Rhinestones that you glue on? Ones that come with glue already on the back that you need to heat up and melt? The application process differs for each.

For sew-on rhinestones, you’ll use silamide thread and a beading needle to gently sew on the rhinestones in your desired pattern. If you have hotfix rhinestones, you need to heat the glue on the back with the tip of a hotfix applicator tool and set them in place. And for glue-on rhinestones, naturally, you’ll need glue! We recommend quick dry, industrial E6000 for materials like suede, velvet, and vinyl and user-friendly glues like Gem-Tac, Jewel It, or Jewel Bond for other fabrics. For stretchy fabric, apply the glue in small dots; for non-flex fabric, you can apply it generously in lines.

If you’re bedazzling a leather garment, you may want to consider using metal settings to stick your stones on. These metal tools fix the stones and clothing material together, providing extra security. However, make sure to place an extra barrier between the metal settings and the skin; otherwise, your clothes will be uncomfortable to wear.


Once you know what kind of rhinestones you have, you can set up your workstation. If you’re applying rhinestones to a non-flex garment, place it flat on a table or another smooth surface. To prevent glue from transferring from one side to the other, place paper, foam, or another barrier inside the garment. You can put stretchy garments over a pillow, cardboard piece, 2-liter bottle, or—even better—a mannequin for best results. We recommend washing and drying all items before you start to apply your stones.

Place all your tools within easy reach, and then you can start rhinestoning! If you’re feeling nervous, it can help to practice on scrap fabric or paper first. Once you start working on your garment, relax and take your time. The calmer you are and the slower you go, the more precise your placements will be and the fewer mistakes you’ll make.

We hope the tips in this guide have provided you with the info you need to start adding bling to your favorite gowns, costumes, and more. But before you can start your rhinestoning endeavor, you need to find bulk rhinestones that match your vision. Fortunately, at Rhinestones Unlimited, we have a dazzling number of rhinestones for you to choose from. Shop our collection of rhinestones online to find stones from top brands like Preciosa in varied attachment methods, sizes, shapes, and a rainbow of stand-out shades.