Crafters have a lot of questions when it comes to rhinestones. There are as many variations in rhinestones as there are questions. This post will help clear up some of the common questions, specifically about hot-fix rhinestones.
Rhinestones are sold using a measurement call a “gross”. A gross is 144 stones. Often it is easier to measure a gross by volume – for example with actual measuring spoons – and sellers will typically ensure that you receive at least 144 stones. In the Make-the-Cut rhinestone feature, you will be able to see exactly how many stones are required for your design.
Types of rhinestones:
Swarovski – these jewels are at the top of the rock pile. They have more facets than other stones (14 for SS10-SS40), with great color and clarity, and with a good adhesive. Because of these characteristics, and their high cost, Swarovski rhinestones are well suited for jewelry applications. When used for clothing, a wedding dress would be the most likely match.
Preciosa (Czech rhinestones) – at 12 facets these stones have fewer facets than Swarovski stones but typically have the same level of color and clarity. There are various ‘grades’ of Preciosa stones so it is prudent to investigate which ones to use for a particular application. Adhesives may vary, but are generally pretty good. The cost for Preciosa is lower than Swarovski which has made them a good choice for items like jewelry and formal wear. These stones are harder than the other options so they are also good for things like belts, boots and jackets.
Korean – for a wide variety of applications these stones meet all of the requirements for color, clarity, number of facets and adhesive. In addition, they are significantly more economical than the previous options. Korean stones have 12 facets and low lead content. There are variations by brand in the quality of cut and adhesive. Korean stones, in general, are the optimal choice for everyday garments and craft projects.
China – the most recent entry into the rhinestone market, these stones only meet the lowest standards in all areas. Stone shape and poor adhesive are primary concerns but these stones are typically the lowest cost option. There are limited applications where these rhinestones would meet project requirements.
The shape of the rhinestone is important when using a template for designs. If the shape is not consistent, the stones will not properly fall into the holes of your design. Additionally, if the manufacturing application of the hot fix adhesive is not well controlled it can cause problems getting the stones into the template holes because there may be extra adhesive ‘tags’ hanging off the edge(s). The adhesive itself must be a quality adhesive to ensure even application and durability.
Too much information? Eliminate the worry, and buy KNK rhinestones. KNK brings you a balance of the best quality and most economical Korean stones – perfect for your project needs. These stones have been tested and approved by KNK USA, and can be seen in a number of Team KNK projects.
Use a sizing chart before creating your rhinestone template. Even within a single brand, there may be variations in the size of different color stones. This will greatly reduce your frustration and stress. Sandy McCauley has a great rhinestone support page that includes a rhinestone sizing chart you can cut on your KNK.
Applying rhinestone designs (with transfer tape):
- Ensure the material can withstand the heat process.
- Preheat iron or heat press to 325 degrees (cotton setting). Turn OFF steam.
- Remove the white backing sheet from the rhinestone design.
- Position the rhinestone design on the garment adhesive side down.
- Place a teflon, muslin, or cotton sheet over the design. If the material is very thin, place a teflon sheet inside the garment to prevent glue from bleeding through to the next layer of the garment.
- Press with firm pressure for 10-12 seconds with an iron or 5-7 seconds with a heat press. Do not slide the iron across the stones. Smaller stones may need less time, while larger stones may need more time to heat up and melt the glue.
- Wait for stones to cool before removing the transfer tape.
- If needed, press for an additional 5 seconds after removing transfer tape.
- Allow the garment to set for 24 hours.
Extra tip: In some cases, heating the garment itself before applying the rhinestone design may help with adherence.
Wash and dry garments inside out at cool or warm settings.
An inside view – my personal experience: I have been using rhinestones for approximately 10 years – first by applying the stones one by one with a wand and now with templates and a heat press. I’ve made hundreds of costumes for my daughter and her friends, and quite a few T-shirts in between. The KNK USA stones have consistently been the best product I’ve worked with and the pricing is highly competitive. ~Michele Harvey