Rhinestones from KNK

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.


Stone size: 

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):

  1. Ensure the material can withstand the heat process.
  2. Preheat iron or heat press to 325 degrees (cotton setting). Turn OFF steam.
  3. Remove the white backing sheet from the rhinestone design.
  4. Position the rhinestone design on the garment adhesive side down.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Wait for stones to cool before removing the transfer tape.
  8. If needed, press for an additional 5 seconds after removing transfer tape.
  9. 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.

Care Instructions:

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

Happy Labor Day/Back to School

It is hard to believe summer is coming to an end. My kids are all adults so I don’t have all of the Back to School preparation like I use to. But this is a very sad back to school for me. After having my grandkids for 2 days per week for the past 8 years, this year they will both be in school fulltime.  When they left on Friday my grandson said “see you next summer Grama.” Like that is going to happen! They are only one hour away from me so I will still make weekly visits and see them for a bit after school.


My great nephew Gus is one, and although he won’t be going back to school his teacher mom will be. She stayed home with him the first year so this will be his first time in Daycare. So I made him this little “craft apron”, hopefully little boys wear such things. I found this at the Dollar store and thought it would be fun to personalize. The label says “Made of All New Material ” which had me worried. But I set the heat at 300, used the Teflon sheet, and made sure that I did not press the bee which was on the apron when I purchased it. I am happy to report that the apron did not melt and the heat transfer vinyl stuck. :O)


Thermoflex vinyl

Heat Press


KNK Maxx

red capped blade

force  80

Speed 300


T shirts!

aMANDA PINK i RUN FOR BENJAMIN This beautiful person is my niece Amanda.She is a mom to 3 awesome kids. She joined a program called I Run For   The program matches able bodied runners with people who due to a disability are unable to run. Amanda was matched with a little boy named Benjamin. Benjamin is Autistic. Amanda posts about her runs so Benjamin knows when she runs and how far. Amanda and Benjamin’s mom communicate so Amanda knows how Benjamin’s day went. Amanda asked me if I would make this decal for her running shirts.  I had just bought a heat press  and was nervous as this shirt is polyester. But I checked it out and was able to use thermoflex plus. I remembered to mirror the image prior to cutting it which I have about a 50% success rate after doing 8 shirts. :~) The heat press is easy to use and the vinyl is as easy to cut as any other vinyl. I don’t plan on starting a t shirt business but do plan on having a lot of fun making things for friends and family.

Materials used:

Heat press

Thermoflex plus


KNK Maxx

Red blade

90 force

350 speed


Independence Day Rhinestoning!

Closeup2 America

A BIG thank you to my wonderful assistant, Gabriella Lex, for designing and making today’s three projects! Let’s begin with the materials she used:

KNK Maxx Air
Rock-It Rhinestone Flock
SS10 Rhinestones in Siam Ruby, Crystal, and Capri Blue
Rhinestone Transfer Tape
KNK Heat Press
Black T Shirt
White Cotton Placemat
Worldwin Smooth and Silky Colormates Cardstock
Red and Blue Decal Vinyl

For the design in Make The Cut, Gabriella used a rhinestone font from http://www.synergy17.com/ (note that you can download a free rhinestone font on the 17th day of each month). This font is designed with 2.0 mm circles which would have been way too small for the SS10 rhinestones. To resize the text in Make The Cut, so that the circles were 3.5mm, instead of 2.0mm, the method I show in this video was applied: Resizing Rhinestone Patterns.

For the flag, Gabriella made her own design and, as you can see, used it as the “i” in America.

After cutting the design on the Maxx Air from Rock-It, she brushed in the rhinestones, lifted with transfer tape and then heat pressed the stones to a black T Shirt I had in my closet. Now I have something special to wear at our 4th of July party this year!

America Shirt Cropped

But wait… there’s more! I decided I wanted to see the same colors on a white background, so I had Gabriella make two more items. I had some plain thin cotton placemats which I thought might also work great as basket liners for crackers or chips, So, Gabriella brushed and filled her template again with the same colors of rhinestones and then lifted and pressed to this placemat:

Cotton Placemat 2

And finally, I thought, “How about a greeting card, too?” So, we picked a red sheet of cardstock from the Worldwin Smooth and Silky Colormates line now being carried at KNK USA to use as the card base. Then Gabriella filled the template again with rhinestones and lifted and pressed to the center of a pre-cut rectangle of the white cardstock for the front of the card. I decided we needed just a little more embellishing to fill the white space to the left of the flag, so Gabriella cut some red and blue vinyl star frames and I arranged them on the front.

America Card

This is what I’ve always loved about making rhinestone templates…one template results in something you can use as many times as needed AND in different applications! Now let’s see if some of our readers can come up with their own ideas!

Here is the cutting file in MTC, KNK, and SVG file formats: America Design

Feel free to send me any project photos you take of this or other rhinestone designs! And again, a big thank you to Gabriella for helping us out at Team KNK!

New Mommy – New Daddy: an Iron-on and Rhinestone Project


Today I’m posting two shirts decorated by one of our Team KNK designers, Omayra! What a fun gift idea for couple expecting their first baby! The rhinestone additions to the new mommy shirt is also a great way to get your feet wet with rhinestones. I know a lot of KNK owners are hesitant to try rhinestones, so just like with other first time applications, it’s important to start with something easy and then work your way up to more complicated tasks.


So, on with the details…

Ingredients for this project:

Iron-on transfer
Rhinestone Rock-it template material OR Rhinestone Motif Rubber
Rhinestone transfer tape
Shur-line Trim and Touchup Pad
Home iron or Heat Press

Instructions for iron-on application:

(1) Design the lettering in the software of your choice. Omayra used either KNK Studio or Make The Cut. Both will work great.
(2) Mirror the letter!!! This is the number one mistake made by those new to iron-on projects. Because you flip the material over (dull side up) and cut only through the adhesive and iron-on layer, you need to mirror your shapes.
(3) Use a 45 degree (red capped blade) and set your blade length to only cut through the top layer. The bottom shiny layer is the heat protection layer that will be on top when you iron or heat press the material to the shirt.
(4) Use a relatively lower force. Iron-on materials do not cut as easily as regular wall or decal vinyl, however, they do not require the high force needed for most cardstock. The older Maxx and Groove-e need a force of about 60 while the KNK Zing and Maxx Air need a setting of about 30. Remember to do small test cuts first to make sure the cut is clean, weeds easy from the protective backing layer and isn’t cutting into that layer.
(5) Use 1 pass and a speed of about 200 mm/sec.
(6) After cutting, weed out the excess leaving just the shapes you want to press onto the shirt.
(7) Pre-heat your home iron to a cotton setting or about 330F (165C) on a heat press. Press your shirt first for a few seconds to remove any wrinkles and moisture from the material.
(8) Arrange your design carefully. If using a home iron, you may wish to press one part at a time.
(9) Press for about 10 seconds. Allow to cool before removing protective top sheet. You may wish to put a soft cloth over the top and press for another 5 seconds.

Instructions for rhinestone application:
(1) Design the rhinestone pattern in the software of your choice. There are free videos and tutorials teaching how to design and edit rhinestone patterns in both KNK Studio and Make The Cut. Remember that you need to make the circles larger than the actual stone size so that the stones easily brush into the holes. For 10SS (3 mm) stones, the circles should be ~ 3.4 – 3.6 mm in diameter.
(2) For cutting, remove the backing sheet and brayer the material to your sticky mat. This will great aid the weeding of the circles after cutting.
(3) Refer to KNK user manuals for the recommended cut settings for either the Rock-it or the green motif rubber. Remember to use 2 passes and, if cutting from KNK Studio, turn off Overcut so that the blade stays down during the two passes. And don’t forget to do a test cut of a small section of your rhinestone pattern. Then make sure that when you peel up the template material, the circles stay stuck to the mat.
(4) Watch this video on weeding and brushing in the stones, and lifting with the transfer tape: Cutting a rhinestone template on the Maxx. The same basic procedure is used with these recommended template materials listed in the ingredients above. Note that you do not need a backing for the Rock-it material since it has a repositionable adhesive applied.
(5) Follow the same instructions for applying to the shirt as with the iron-on, however press for a full 15 seconds. After cooling, remove the clear transfer sheet.

As always, if you have questions, let me know! And be sure to share your FABULOUS iron-on and rhinestone successes with us at our Klic-N-Kut Yahoo group or KNK USA forum!