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

I’m just not that kind of gal! (Free Rhinestone Bling File)

My DH and I aren’t overly affectionate or demonstrative, especially in public. But I always know how he feels ~ and when he’s trying to figure me out he gets it right most half of the time. And I also know that sometimes he likes me to subtly tell the (whole) world that I love him. So, this project is for you, dearest husband (and a little for me, since I love my glitz! nearly as much as I love you [giggle]).



  1. Silver Metal Flake Iron-on (red cap blade)
    1. Force = 58
    2. Speed = 10/10
    3. Passes = 1
  2. Purple Deco Sparkle Iron-on (blue cap blade)
    1. Force = 110
    2. Speed = 10/10
    3. Passes = 1
  3. Rhinestone Rubber Motif (blue cap blade)
    1. Force = 115
    2. Speed = 10/10
    3. Passes = 2
  4. Rhinestone Rock-it Flocking (blue cap blade)
    1. Force = 101
    2. Speed = 10/10
    3. Passes = 2
  • Heat Press or Iron – 300 degrees Fahrenheit or Cotton setting

Method: 1. I used Make-the-Cut to create my file. I was concerned about cutting the very fine lettering so I made the text on the ‘front’ design thicker with a light shadow layer, and then deleted the original. Screenshotfront However, on the ‘back’ design, I did a little more work. After selecting my font and creating the text, I decided to weld the 2 and the 5 together. Then I gave the text a shadow layer that was slightly thicker than 1/2 the size of my 10SS rhinestones. I used the shadow layer to create the outline of stones (versus fill), then deleted the shadow layer. Screenshot1 Next, I added a couple of circles to the design and adjusted the position of a few other circles – just to smooth the lines out. Screenshot2 2.  Cut the template material. Brush in the stones and use rhinestone transfer tape to pick up the designs. (Click here for more detailed rhinestone instructions) Set aside. 3.  Reverse (mirror) the text and cut the iron-on vinyl. Test cut, Test cut, Test cut! I can’t tell you how many times I had to test cut the metal flake. It was my first time using this material, and I started with normal iron-on vinyl settings. BUT… I found it was a lot tougher than your everyday iron-on and it needed a lot more force! And then, when I cut the holographic vinyl – wow that required even more force. I saved myself a lot of aggravation and wasted material throughout this project by testing cutting each material until I got a perfect cut. And what a stunning result! 4. Apply the vinyl – 300 degrees Fahrenheit for 10-15 seconds. For the Silver Metal Flake and the Deco Sparkle, wait for the material to cool before peeling off the transfer layer. Using a teflon sheet, I applied heat again for about 5-8 seconds. 5.  Apply the rhinestones – 300 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 seconds. Peel off the transfer paper. 6. Stand in the sun and shine (or is it sparkle?)! All I know is its lovely bling! Front Back Ta – da! Here it is outside (on me, not a hanger), near dusk but with the sun coming from the horizon. It literally put sparkles all over my face and the ground when the sun hit it! 20130913_170652 The sunrise rhinestone pattern on the front of the T-shirt could be used for an accent on any project. Please download the entire file for free here for a limited time. Thanks, and Enjoy! Michele

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!

Rhinestone T for St. Paddy’s Day!

Who doesn’t LOVE St. Patrick’s Day? I’ve always made it a special celebration, having married into an Irish family! I would love to tell you about the amazing traditional Irish dinner I make every year. But the truth is… hubby’s not so fond of Irish food! lol So, I usually just pick up a half dozen sandwich rolls, several selections of deli meat (including corned beef, or course), sliced cheese, a pint of coleslaw (hey, it is made from cabbage), and some potato salad. And that’s our “traditional” St. Paddy’s Day meal! Oh… and I always add some green food coloring to a pitcher of Coors Light! 😛

This year, I have something special to wear. I designed a rhinestone pattern, cut template material on the KNK Zing, and then brushed in Peridot and Crystal 10SS stones from KNK USA to fill the template. After filling, I lifted the stones with rhinestone tape, and then pressed onto a black T Shirt.

Here’s a close up of the design in MTC:

I used the automatic fill feature in MTC for the shamrock and then tweaked to get the rows of stones perfect. Note that I cut the entire template at one time and then used masking tape to cover the holes for the words while brushing in the Peridot stones. Then I removed the masking tape and brushed in Crystal stones for the lettering. This works really well for two color templates where one color is clearly separated from the other.

Finally, if you would like to cut the pattern yourself, here’s a link to a zip containing the design in .KNK, .PDF, and .MTC formats:

Rhinestone Kiss Me I’m Irish Files

I hope everyone has a fabulous St. Paddy’s Day!