Rhinestones are to your outfits what accessories are to your clothes. They add elegance and class to your clothes, making them extra sparkling.
You can buy rhinestone-studded outfits, or you can put the rhinestones on your clothes yourself. All you need is to choose the type that suits your clothes and find time to do it.
Rhinestones: What They Are And How To Use Them
According to the Oxford dictionary, rhinestones are clear stones intended to look like diamonds and are used in cheap jewelry to decorate clothes. They are imitation stones that look like diamonds.
They are shiny glass jewels made out of hard glass, often made in the semblance of a diamond.
Rhinestones are also referred to as diamanté or paste and are majorly used to decorate clothes. There are different types of rhinestones, often distinguished by the material they are made of, the method of application, and the back of the rhinestones.
Rhinestones could be made of Swarovski crystals which are the most popular and of the highest quality, normal glass stones, plastic, resin, or acrylic. They are often mistaken for crystals because they are used for decorating clothes.
(Read this article for more information on Swarovski crystals ).
How to use rhinestones
Rhinestones make your clothes exquisite and sparkly, giving you the shine you need to make you stand out. Here are a few ways to use rhinestones.
- They can be used as jacket buttons. You can decide to choose a round or flower button to add a fancy look to your leather jacket or a solid summer coat.
- They can also be used as shirt buttons. Add some style and design to your look by using rhinestones for your plain white shirt instead of regular ones.
- You could also use them as brooches: putting them on the neckline of your blouse or dress.
- Alternatively, you could use them as finishing for the hems of your skirt or trousers, as fashion buttons for the sleeves of your trench coat, or on the waist of your skirt or trousers.
- Rhinestones are also great for decorating your accessories. You could sew rhinestone buttons all over your bag or on the top of footwear to give the items a gorgeous look.
- Finally, you could use them as clasps for those fancy bracelets you own. It’s easy to stitch them as fancy buttons from one side of the bracelet and make a loop from the other side. This makes your bracelets have a unique sparkle.
How To Glue Rhinestones To Your Clothes
The glue-on rhinestones are the most common and popular type of rhinestones. You need fabric glue to make them stick to the clothes. For this method, flatback rhinestones are most commonly used.
What Are Flatback Rhinestones?
Flatback rhinestones usually have a flat smooth back on which you apply glue and place the rhinestones on the fabric of your clothes.
They are raised and come with a silver-foil lining to add that extra sparkle. Flatback rhinestones could be foiled or unfoiled.
The unfoiled rhinestones are often set into jewelry pieces in desirable places for light to pass through the crystal of the rhinestones. The foil-backed rhinestones, on the other hand, are the most popular kind of flatback rhinestones.
They come with a small foil at the back of the stones, which you first have to peel before applying glue.
You can fix them to anything with a bit of adhesive or glue. They are usually expensive, as they are protected from damage. Flatback crystal rhinestones shine less than the cutting rhinestones with a pointed back.
It’s easier to glue flatback rhinestones on the things you want to decorate. The glue is manually applied to the fabric using tweezers. There are different types of glue to use for this type of rhinestones, such as E6000 Glue, E6000 Fabric Fuse, and Beacon Gem-Tac.
To use this type of rhinestones;
- Start by adding glue to the stones’ back and attaching them to the fabric. Ensure to apply just the right amount of glue to the back of the stones so that the glue doesn’t become squishy under the stone and create a mess on your clothes. The glue should not be too much or too little.
- After, hold the rhinestones in place for a few moments or tape them to the clothes if you need to. After some time, the rhinestones will have adhered neatly to the cloth. To get the best result, use good glue for your fabrics. Gem-Tac is the most recommended glue for rhinestones on fabric. Besides, expensive rhinestones usually come with the recommended glue. It is best to follow this.
- After attaching the rhinestones to the fabric, you must wait for them to completely dry. Avoid dry-cleaning the clothes to keep them from falling out.
How To Put Hotfix Rhinestones On Your Clothes
Hotfix rhinestones are another type of rhinestones you can attach to your clothes. They usually come with an adhesive back and can be applied with heat from iron with no steam or a hotfix applicator.
However, they can’t be applied to leather, rubber, or any other material that heat can damage. They are easier to fix, take less time, and don’t create as much a mess as with glue.
Hotfix rhinestones are also called iron-on rhinestones, and the glue at their backs is heat-activated before they can be applied to any material.
The hotfix applicator also called a hotfix gun, is electric. It comes with different-sized tips to fit the different sizes and shapes of the rhinestones.
Most hotfix stones come as glass, flatback rhinestones in the round, small-sized shapes. Because of the limited heat resistance of acrylic and resin rhinestones, they aren’t very easy to work with. There are hardly any hotfix rhinestones in plastic material.
As a precautionary measure, make sure to put a piece of cardboard or foam in between the layers of your fabric.
To use this type,
- You must first spread out the rhinestones facing side up. Make sure to put the correct tip on the applicator and then turn it on. The hotfix gun or applicator takes a few minutes to heat up. Once heated up, pick the rhinestones with the tip and press them onto the desired fabric surface. Be careful not to allow the tip to touch any delicate fabric.
- While the applicator is heating up, layout the fabric to be designed flat. The stones need heat to melt the glue on their back. As such, the fabric must be laid out and the stones possibly placed into position with a jewel setter, after which their glue is melted with an iron or hotfix applicator.
- If you’re using an iron, ensure you turn off the steam. Place a piece of cloth or a light towel over the stones that have been set on your fabric and press the iron on the crystals for about 10-15 seconds. Check the rhinestones to see if the glue has melted. If it hasn’t, repeat the process till it finally does.
How To Fix Sew-on Rhinestones To Clothes
As the name suggests, sew-on rhinestones are attached to clothes by sewing them on. They are stitched into the desired design. They look like flatback rhinestones but with holes on each side.
They usually come in two types: some with holes for sewing and others with holders or catchers. This method consumes the most time.
Compared to glue-on and hotfix rhinestones, sew-on rhinestones are easy to remove. They come with holes for sewing on each side or in the middle. They are ideal for stitching into footwear or for embroidery on native attires.
They can also be used for making jewelry by attaching them to jump rings or wires. Since they are mostly flat back, they can be firmly sewn to the fabric without falling off.
Sew-on rhinestones can be mixed with sequins and beads to create maximum impact.
For this method,
- You need a beading needle and thread with the same or similar color shade of your fabric. Ensure to use a strong beading thread for the sewing process. Because of the amount of time it takes to fix these stones on your clothes, it isn’t advisable to substitute them for small stones, or use them on delicate fabrics. To attach the stones using the holes in the center or on the periphery, use tiny straight stitches to sew them onto your fabric.
- Make sure that you use the thread and needle to tie knots after making stitches at the back for each rhinestone, so you don’t have rows coming off at once. This way, even if one stone becomes loose, it won’t affect the whole design. It is also important to sit in great lighting to avoid mistakes.
- The knots and stitches made in the back of the stones may itch your skin if you don’t have a backing. To avoid this, keep the facing of your neckline/ cuff/collar open and attach the open facing edge to the main fabric after you have sewn the rhinestones. This will allow the facing to protect your skin from the irritating thread on the back of your clothes.
- Use tiny whip stitches to attach the facing to your clothes till you achieve your desired design.
Rhinestones are beautiful embellishments to your clothes, accessories, and even footwear. They make these fashion items sparkle and classy, helping you make the most of them.
Now that you know all about rhinestones, their types, and methods of application, you can go ahead and use them to embellish your favorite wardrobe choices or any of your accessories.