What does it take to become a pro at embellishing designs with rhinestones? Our CEO Alisa Mandel Nogen has come up with her top 10 professional tips for working with rhinestones.
- Sometimes “Less is More” and “More is Right”
Don’t be afraid of using rhinestones because you think your item will be “too blingy”. Sometimes less is more. Sometimes, it is just as simple as one rhinestone dotting an “i” that can make all the difference. On the other hand, there are times when a lot of rhinestones are needed. Listen to your customers, use less when you need to and more at other times.
- Tone on Tone or POP
There are many rhinestone colors to choose from. When designing or choosing what colors to use you need to decide if you want a little sparkle or a big pop. Using rhinestone colors that match the fabric or embroidery may be enough to add the bling you need. You may also want to make it POP by using contrasting colors, like crystal rhinestones on a blue shirt.
- Invest in a Color Card
If you are serious about offering rhinestones, this is a MUST. They are very inexpensive and this is the ONLY way you will know the true color of each rhinestones. It makes it a lot easier when designing and matching to fabric.
- Always Use High Quality Rhinestones
Only use high quality rhinestones. You get what you pay for. It is that simple! If you use cheap rhinestones they won’t give you good sparkle, the glue is likely to not hold well and they will look cheap. The top 3 brands are: Swarovski crystal, Preciosa crystal and STAR BRIGHT Austrian crystal. HARMAN offers all 3 of these brands.
- Always Use Hot Fix Rhinestones and a Heat Press
Only buy hot fix rhinestones. These are the stones that have heat activated glue on the back. This will ALWAYS provide the strongest bond to your fabric. For the best application, you should use a Heat Press when applying the rhinestones. They start at around $300 and can increase in price depending on the size and features of the model.
Applying hot fix rhinestones is a lot like cooking. It is a recipe and there are three important things you need to pay attention to: Time, Pressure and Temperature. Depending on the kind of fabric you may need more pressure (think denim versus lightweight cotton). Make sure to get a heat press that allows you to adjust for all three. (This is also why you should not use an iron.)
- TEST, TEST, TEST!
We cannot stress this enough, before you start applying onto your final product, test the TIME, PRESSURE, and TEMPERATURE recipe on your fabric. Make adjustments on them as needed. Make sure the rhinestones are sticking and cannot be peeled off by your fingernails. IF APPLIED PROPERLY, the rhinestones will not come off the fabric, even after years of washing!
- Hot Fix Rhinestones
Will Not Adhere to Waterproof Materials When deciding where to place rhinestones or what materials to adhere them to, there is one important thing to know: Hot Fix Rhinestones will NOT adhere to waterproof materials. This means any fabric that has a waterproof coating or most screen print on fabrics, will not absorb the glue. If gluing onto a fabric that has a screen print, apply directly on the fabric, not on the screen print design. (You can do a water drop test directly onto the screen print. If the drop of water is not absorbed, it is waterproof.) Embroidery is not waterproof, so it is perfectly fine to apply rhinestones directly onto embroidery.
- Transfers or Hand Placement
If you are applying a few rhinestones (1-5) on each product, it may make sense to just apply them by hand. However, if you have a specific design that needs to be replicated, a larger design or you don’t have the time to do the design by hand repeatedly, then you need to have a transfer made.
- Use Authorized Vendors
Know who you are buying your rhinestones from and ONLY use Authorized Resellers. Do not buy on Ebay or any other discount site. There are a lot of counterfeit rhinestones, especially Swarovski rhinestones. An Authorized Reseller should have an Authorized Reseller Logo and if you are purchasing full factory packages, always make sure they are sealed. (*If you saw a Chanel handbag sold for $50, would you think it was counterfeit? If it is too good to be true, it probably is.)
For more helpful tips, rhinestones tools and accessories visit www.harmanbeads.com. Let us be your one stop shop for all things BLING. Place your orders online today or call us at 631.756.9800.