DIY How to embellish anything with rhinestones

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Rhinestone types - clawback, point back and flatback for sew-on, glue-on and hot-fix methods
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Rhinestone types - clawback, point back and flatback for sew-on, glue-on and hot-fix methods
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Rhinestone types - clawback, point back and flatback for sew-on, glue-on and hot-fix methods

Types of rhinestone embellishments

Rhinestones have become one of the popular fashion accessories. There are three types – sew on, glue on and iron on (both also known as hot fix). You can add a splash of glitters and sparkles, from garment from your wardrobes to fashion accessories including mobile phones, hair accessories, vases to photo frames.

Superb quality glittering Rhinestone Diamante Crystal set on silver plated claws or rhinestones on flat-back with 2 holes and the ever popular iron-on or hot fix glue on rhinestones. Also called heat transfer rhinestones which are mainly used for apparels.

These crystals are cut and polished with care in a wide array of shapes and cuts from which springs a beautiful, colourful glitter. Whether you are looking for Crystal Clear, rainbow colour (AB or Aurora Borealis) or one of other colours, you have come to the right place for value priced Sew-on Rhinestones. Choose the appropriate rhinestone size and colour to suit. Can embellish on purses, bags, shoes, hair accessories, tutu, plain blouses, bridal and evening dress.

Planning and designing

  1. DIY embellished outfit for a special occasion and make it look like you have just splurged on an expensive glamorous dress that cost you half of your monthly wage.
  2. First, find a flat surface and ensure that it is easy to sew on or glue on. You would want to ensure which ever method of application chosen that you do on a non wrinkle or creased fabric.
  3. Gather all your materials and ensure you have everything you need, the right fabric and the colour and type of rhinestones you are using are very important. Flimsy soft fabrics like silk, rayon or georgette will pull and distort by the weight of the rhinestones.
  4. Next, you will need to have an idea of what your design will look like, where you are placing your rhinestones on the garment. This will save time and prevents mistakes.
  5. Still unsure of which pattern would look good on the garment? Get more ideas from browsing through magazines, or surf internet for examples, etc. There are many how-to video articles that will help you.
  6. Once you have the design or pattern, draw the pattern you want to use and then place dots on the drawing to show where the rhinestones are going to be.
  7. Pick a starting point on your pattern. Decide how far apart the rhinestones will be placed. Then mark and space the dot evenly with the fabric marker with the aid of tape measure or ruler.
  8. You can then see the pattern and if you are happy with it, you can then transfer the design to the fabric. You can use a fabric or tailor’s chalk or any easy to wash off fabric marker. Don’t worry about the lines as they will disappear when the fabric or garment is washed.

You will need

• Rhinestones • Flat surface • Fabric chalk or marker • Needle and thread • Scissors and tweezers • Special rhinestone pickup pencil and rhinestone tray • Hot fix wand applicator (for hot fix rhinestone) • Gem-Tac embellishing glue • Cardboard (for backing, preventing accidental mess, etc.) • Light towel (for iron on)
Impressive work by Hilda Zhen, Director of Sky Dance Studio transformed from plain tutu by Ellis Bella Dancewear
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Impressive work by Hilda Zhen, Director of Sky Dance Studio transformed from plain tutu by Ellis Bella Dancewear
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Impressive work by Hilda Zhen, Director of Sky Dance Studio transformed from plain tutu by Ellis Bella Dancewear
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Impressive work by Hilda Zhen, Director of Sky Dance Studio transformed from plain tutu by Ellis Bella Dancewear
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Impressive work by Hilda Zhen, Director of Sky Dance Studio transformed from plain tutu by Ellis Bella Dancewear

Basic step-by-step instructions how to SEW-ON rhinestones

  1. Push the threaded needle through the back of the fabric, up through one of the holes in the rhinestone. Pull the needle all the way through until the thread is tight. 
  2. Next when pushing the needle back down through the fabric, the needle should be on the outside of the rhinestone, forming a loop around the outside edge of the rhinestone. Repeat 1 and 2, two or three times on the same hole.
  3. Do the same for each hole following the above steps for the other hole.
  4. Once both holes are complete, ensure you pull the needle through to the back of the fabric then make a knot and cut the thread. Depending on your style, you may want to leave some length, cut it and tie a knot. 
  5. Once the knot is tied and thread cut, continue on to your next rhinestone.
Sparkles on plain top or Bolero jacket
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Sparkles on plain top or Bolero jacket
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Sparkles on plain top or Bolero jacket

Basic step-by-step instructions how to GLUE-ON rhinestones

  1. Place stencil on garment and use sticky tape to avoid stencil from moving.
  2. Place glue spots onto the fabric in whatever patterns you want about 10-20 at a time and apply more spots later so the glue will not dry out before you apply all the rhinestones. The  glue spots must be smaller than the rhinestones you are using, the  glue should just come around the rhinestone edge. You would want to glue the rhinestone glass edge to the fabric, not just the back of the rhinestone but if the glue slightly come out of the edge it is alright as Gem-Tac  dries clear.  Gem-Tac glue is excellent for attaching rhinestones to a wide variety of materials.
  3. Before you place rhinestones on the glue spots, leave about 20 seconds for the glue to settle on the surface, so that it will be easier to place rhinestones on.
  4. Leave for 3 hours before removing stencil.
  5. Allow the garment and the rhinestones to set before washing or wearing.
Hot-fixing rhinestone onto lace
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Hot-fixing rhinestone onto lace

Basic step-by-step guide for hot fix rhinestones using HOT IRON method

You can choose either to use the hot applicator wand or using hot iron. I suggest you test it out first to see how hot the iron needs to be for the rhinestone to adhere before you begin on the actual fabric by following the steps below.  Always ensure you know maximum temperature range to apply (120ºC - 180°C).
  1. Have your pattern ready with all the things you will need. Make sure the working area is flat solid surface. The ironing board may not be a good surface to work on as it can be a bit spongy.
  2. Place a thick card board in between the garment, underneath the area where you are affixing the rhinestones to prevent any possible marks in the process. Position the rhinestones on the fabric using tweezers to get them exactly where you want them.
  3. When you are happy with the design and layout, pre-heat the iron (disable the steam function), lay a lightweight towel over the rhinestones and hold on it until the glue on the rhinestones melt. This will also help protect the sole plate on the  iron from the glue residue.
  4. Check to see if the rhinestones have adhered to the fabric. If still not, continue on until they do.
  5. Repeat step 3 and 4 for the remaining rhinestones until the pattern is complete.
  6. Allow the garment and the rhinestones to set before washing or wearing .
Examples of hot fix rhinestones and motifs
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Examples of hot fix rhinestones and motifs
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Examples of hot fix rhinestones and motifs
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Examples of hot fix rhinestones and motifs
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Examples of hot fix rhinestones and motifs

Basic step-by-step guide for hot fix rhinestones using HOT FIX APPLICATOR WAND

  1. Have your pattern ready with all the things you will need.
  2. Position the rhinestones on the fabric using tweezers to get them exactly where you want them.
  3. When you are happy with the design and layout, pick one of the rhinestones to begin.
  4. You can buy one of these hot fix applicator wand on eBay. It is ideal of applying rhinestones, studs or pearls onto any surface. It heats very quickly. When you are ready to start, select metal tip for your hot press wand that is the same size as the rhinestone.
  5. Attach the metal tip the wand and turn on the hot applicator. Wait for two to five minutes for the tool to heat up (depending on the brand of the applicator).
  6. Press the tip of the metal wand to the coloured side of the rhinestone and pick the rhinestone up using the hot wand. The bottom side of the rhinestone should be facing straight up.
  7. Allow the stone to sit on the hot wand for 8 seconds simultaneously watching the glue on the bottom of the rhinestone as it slowly heats up.
  8. Once the glue starts to bubble on the bottom, you can press the glue side of the rhinestone down onto the fabric very lightly. Do not press down too hard. Do it very lightly to position and secure the rhinestone.
  9. Repeat step 3 to 8 for the remaining rhinestones until the pattern is complete.
  10. Allow the garment and the rhinestones to set before washing or wearing.
Examples of items you can embellish with a hot fix applicator wand
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Examples of items you can embellish with a hot fix applicator wand
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Examples of items you can embellish with a hot fix applicator wand
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Examples of items you can embellish with a hot fix applicator wand
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Examples of items you can embellish with a hot fix applicator wand
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