Rhinestones are hands-down the best way to add some sparkle to your clothes. The little glass stones are jewelry for your clothes and can make such a difference to your outfit.
When it comes to embellishing clothing with rhinestones, there is quite a bit to know beforehand. There are a few choices you need to make before you can add some twinkle to any piece of clothing.
How do you embellish a dress with rhinestones? How you embellish a dress with rhinestones will depend on a few different things, such as which type or shape of rhinestone you use and whether you will be sewing them on, gluing them, or using a hotfix application.
Below is a guide on all you need to know about embellishing a dress with any type of rhinestone and using any of the three application methods. So read on to give your favorite dress a new twinkling spin.
Before getting started, you will need to choose which rhinestones you will be using. Here are the three most common types to choose from:
- Swarovski – Swarovski rhinestones are the highest quality rhinestones. They are made in Austria, and each stone has 14 facets, with vintage stones having 12 facets. With 12 facets or more, the rhinestones reflect more light and sparkle more.
- Preciosa – Preciosa has been around for longer than Swarovski, with one of Preciosa’s employees leaving and forming Swarovski. These rhinestones shine bright, but a little less brilliantly than Swarovski, although the difference is not very noticeable to the untrained eye. Preciosa rhinestones are around 20% cheaper than Swarovski, which makes a difference when you are buying a large number of rhinestones.
- Acrylic – Acrylic rhinestones are the lowest quality rhinestones, but they are considerably cheaper than the other two brands. These are made in Asia, and are often labeled as Swarovski or Preciosa, but they are just imitations. They are fine to work with just for fun, but don’t expect anything great in terms of quality.
But there’s more than just the overall type of rhinestone to choose from. You also need to choose the shape of the rhinestones you will be using.
Keeping a few different shapes around allows you to finish different patterns and have more varied looks. Some of the most common shapes are round, navette, oval, pear, square, baguette, and octagon.
Pointed, Mounted Or Flat Back Rhinestones
But wait, there’s more. In addition to the overall type and shape of rhinestone, you also need to choose your rhinestone type by its purpose. This will also affect how you can apply the rhinestones to your project.
There are three types of rhinestones to choose from, either pointed, mounted, or flat back. Each serves a different purpose, so know how you will be fixing the rhinestones to the dress before choosing which type to purchase.
1. Pointed – Pointed rhinestones are mainly used for jewelry, and are not very suited to be used for clothing.
2. Flatback – Rhinestones that have a flat back are used for gluing or hot fixing onto clothing.
3. Mounted – Mounted rhinestones have a metal casing around them. These can be either tiffany or rim sets.
A tiffany set has a metal casing that wraps from the back to the front of the stone or the front to the back. When the casing wraps around to the front, holes are made in the back to attach the stones with a needle and thread. Where the casing wraps to the back, prongs are used to pierce through the fabric.
With a rim set, there is a metal ring set around the side of the stone, with holes for the stone to be fixed to the fabric with a needle and thread.
The Right Supplies
Once you know the options of the rhinestones you can choose from, you will need to know the supplies you need to get embellishing.
- Rhinestones – You will obviously need rhinestones to embellish your dress. When buying rhinestones you can buy by the single, the dozen, ½ gross or gross. Buying a larger quantity usually means that you pay a lower price. This is a great starter set with a variety of sizes.
- Needles – If you are sewing on your rhinestones, you will need a needle. You should always use a beading needle, as they are thin and flexible, and the eye is the same width of the rest of the needle, allowing it to pass through the fabric easily.
- Thread – You can choose to use silamide, fire line, nymo nylon, or silk thread.
- Glue – If you are gluing the rhinestones onto the fabric, you should use glue such as Gem-Tax or Aleene’s glue.
- Pattern – You might want to use a pre-cut pattern to set your rhinestones if you are not confident to set them down on your own.
Attaching The Rhinestones
These are the three different ways to fix rhinestones onto your dress: sewing, gluing, and hotfixing. The actual attaching of the rhinestones is fairly simple, but the way that you attach the rhinestones will depend on the type of rhinestones you have purchased, and the nature of your dress.
There are a few factors to consider when deciding how you are going to fix your rhinestones to your clothing. Consider how often your dress will be cleaned and how it will be cleaned.
Glued rhinestones are technically machine-washable, but there is no guarantee that they won’t fall off. You also cannot hotfix rhinestones onto your dress if the fabric is not suited to be heated.
Consider also if pronged rhinestones might irritate your skin or get snagged on your hair or other clothing.
Rhinestones that are mounted or have a carrier – such as tiffany or rim – are attached to clothing using a needle and a thread. Sewing each rhinestone onto your dress can take more time than other methods, but it does have more of an authentic touch.
When stitching rhinestones onto the dress, just keep in mind that the stitches and knots in the back will scratch your skin if you do not have a backing. Adding a backing to the dress will protect your skin from irritation.
There is the option to attach rhinestones to clothing using glue such as Gem-Tac or Aleene’s. Gluing rhinestones onto clothes allows them to stay on strongly, almost just as much as sewn-on rhinestones. It also works up faster than sewing each rhinestone on one at a time.
Gluing rhinestones onto clothing is probably the most common method used. You simply need to place glue on the back of the rhinestone and then hold it down to attach to the fabric. You can hold the rhinestone down with some tape if you feel the need.
Some of the expensive rhinestones used for gluing have foil on the back, which needs to be peeled off before gluing. This foil helps to protect the stone from any damage.
Hotfix rhinestones have glue on the back, which is activated when heat is applied to the rhinestone. This allows for quick application and hotfix rhinestones are dry cleanable. Depending on the size of the garment and the pattern, hundreds of rhinestones can be set in one go.
Hotfixing rhinestones also means less mess, as you won’t have glue leaking out from under each stone. You just cannot apply hotfix stones to a fabric that is heat-sensitive such as pleather, leather, plastic, vinyl, and sheer fabric.
The heat will destroy the fabric. To get the hotfix method right, you will need the correct heat applied, the right duration of heat applied, the right pressure applied, and the right type of material.
Embellishing A Dress
Once you have chosen your dress to embellish, the type of rhinestone you want to use, and the method you prefer to attach the rhinestones, you can go ahead and get started on your dress.
You can either do simple lines, freehand a pattern, or use a pre-cut pattern to decorate your dress. Attaching the rhinestones to a dress or item of clothing is fairly simple, and you can have a twinkling dress ready in no time.
Which Is The Best Glue To Use For Rhinestones On Fabric?
The best glue to use, other than the Gem-Tac or Aleene’s glue would be E6000 craft glue, E600 epoxy glue, or any brand of epoxy glue.
E6000 has a 1 part epoxy glue which is ready to use straight out of the tube, and it does not require any mixing. Most of their glues can be used to attach rhinestones to fabric, wood, glass, or metal and are machine-washable.
Epoxy-glues have strong, fairly quick adhesive bonds and are also typically machine-washable. They have a lot of flex to them, so they can withstand more impact and bending, which is great for something you’ll be wearing.
How Do You Remove Rhinestones From Clothes?
If you have glued or hot fixed the rhinestones to clothing, you can remove it using acetone. Dip a cotton swab into acetone on one end and place this on the inside of the fabric, placed onto the glue portion. The acetone will weaken the glue grip and you should be able to easily remove the rhinestone as well as the glue.
Just make sure the material is strong enough to not be destroyed or stained by the acetone.
How To Embellish A Dress With Rhinestones
Embellishing a dress with rhinestones is actually fairly easy, you just need to choose the type of rhinestones you want to use and which method you think would suit your fabric and your pattern best.
You can turn an ordinary dress into a stunning garment with a couple of rhinestones and a little bit of patience. Follow the above guidelines, choose your stones, choose your color, get your dress ready, and get embellishing!
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