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How to Transfer Rhinestones Onto Clothing and Jeans
What you will need
- Hot fix transfer tape-Costs around a pound.
- Iron on rhinestones
- Home iron
- A pack of 1440 Swarovski crystals costs around 32 in the UK while the cheapest ones are Korea rhinestone crystals where a pack of 1440 costs around 4 if ordered in China. Diamante rhinestones fall in between the two in terms of sparkly effect. Crystal AB stones sparkle the most no doubt.
Rhinestones, sequins and beads are all the rage in the world of fashion and apparel. The current trend is clothing that is embellished with sparkly rhinestone studs and sequins. Just browse any website or shop floor and you will be bombarded with sequin dresses and rhinestone dresses. However you can also apply rhinestones on clothes too.
Since they are all the rage currently, not only can you add some "bling" to your wardrobe, but you can replicate a designer look at a portion of the cost. Even better, you can sell your creations like me (see Rhinestone Clubwear). I currently sell around 3 designs per week so I would definitely recommend learning this enjoyable skill.
While rhinestones are not hard to apply, they do require a bit of discipline and patience.
If you have never applied rhinestones before, I recommend starting with a small, inexpensive design to test it out. My first one was only 3 inches wide, and while successful, it took multiple attempts so that every stone was firm. I also learnt that my home iron sometimes didn't get hot enough before it begun to cool down so I switched irons and this remedied the situation.
One key thing to note is that, each stone, even with the same glue, will melt at faintly different times due to the size difference. For example, SS10 stones will melt faster than SS20 stones. What I learned is that you really cannot over iron them (short of scorching your fabric!) so the best tactic is to start on a lower temperature setting, and increase temperature and time.
1. WARNING: NEVER move your iron while applying rhinestones! Other iron-on stones might be more forgiving, but not hot fix, if you push heated rhinestones with your iron, you will push the glue across your fabric. At best, you will not have enough glue to secure the stones. At the worst, you will leave glue residue on your fabric! So use a "press down - lift up - move over, overlapping a bit - press down" movement.
2. Set home iron to "dry" not steam setting.
3. Pre-heat to cotton setting (or if unsure of your fabric, one or two settings lower).
4. Place on a flat, solid surface-do not place on your ironing board since it's not very flat and hard enough. I recommend kitchen worktops or if you have extra money, you can buy a cutting board used by artists like architects to cut stuff on.
5. SLOWLY & CAREFULLY peel the white transfer sheet from the rhinestone motif. If any of the stones or studs shifted, just carefully reposition them using your fingers.
6. Find a suitable position of fabric before applying! If you feel the need to experiment a bit with placement, cut a sheet of paper roughly to size to determine placement.
7. Place the transfer tape sticky side down, onto your fabric. DO NOT slide it back and forth into place as you might loosen the rhinestones and might have to reposition a number of them.
8. Cover with a clean cloth, muslin, Teflon sheeting or tee shirt, or even a double folded kitchen paper towel works fine).
9. From the front of the cloth, start ironing by pressing the iron down flat (do not move back/forth/around). Just hold and press for 20 to 40 seconds on light clothing such as cotton and silk. For heavier fabrics like jean denim, press and hold for approximately 1 minute since jeans require more time to heat up. Again, do NOT slide the iron back and forth! Just lift and place down, working from one section to the next with a slight overlap. Repeat once more. (First horizontally, and then vertically).
10. Turn the fabric inside out and using the pressing cloth again, apply heat to every section of the stones for another 30 seconds. This ensures that all the glue has melted deep into the fabric.
11. Turn back right side outside again.
12. Gently remove the transfer tape when the design and material have cooled, but while it is still warm to the touch. I usually leave everything in place to cool for about 20 minutes!
13. Shake a section of the rhinestones with your fingernail to ensure they are secure. If any or a few of the stones are still loose, it might be due to not giving them enough ironing time to melt the glue. Don't worry though, simply repeat steps 7 to 11 increasing the ironing time by 10 to 20% depending on how many were loose. If just one or two stones were loose, just focus on them. Remember to let the iron reach the proper "cotton" temperature before repeating.
14. If done correctly, you should be able to run your hands across the design, up and down, and all pieces should feel secure. Gently pick at them with a finger nail (not too hard, or you can remove them since they are still warm!).
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