Have you ever had the experience of drinking out of a Waterford Crystal goblet? Waterford, as you may know, is one of the leading manufacturers of opulent crystal stemware. There are many types of glass stemware, but for elegance and luxury, crystal is the only choice.
To make crystal, glass components are mixed with lead. In doing so, the glass becomes clearer and inherits a prismatic effect. The Prismatic effect is the ability to take light and break it up like a prism. This is one of the primary reasons for choosing crystal over glass.
The Prismatic Effect is One Difference Between Glass and Crystal Rhinestones
Crystal rhinestones (with the exception of Swarovski, but I’ll get to that in a minute) are produced in the same manner. Lead is mixed with glass components to make crystal. Then, shapes and facets are cut into the crystal to make rhinestones. Glass rhinestones are, well, just glass.
Since 2012, Swarovski has been making rhinestones without lead with a patented a formula. Equally important is that Swarovski Rhinestones have lost none of their sparkle or prismatic effect. Moreover, this also means that Swarovski Rhinestones are CPSIA compliant and are safe for use with children. CPSIA laws govern the amount of lead allowed in children’s products because as we know, exposure to lead causes health issues.
Glass rhinestones are cheaper than crystal and may be just the rhinestone for your project. Although glass rhinestones do not have the prismatic effect, the facets will reflect light. When considering your next project, think about the comparison between regular glass stemware and Waterford stemware. After that, make your choice.
If you are still not sure, contact Rhinestones Etc for help. Our friendly staff is always ready to assist you!
If you are new to rhinestones, you may be confused by the choices of sizes, colors and manufacturers. There are acrylic or crystal rhinestones, hot fix or non-hot fix, round, square or practically any shape imaginable. Not to mention all the many colors available. So many choices and where to begin?
While there are many rhinestone options today, this was not always the case. Once upon a time, rhinestones were a naturally occurring resource. Quartz mixed with lead pebbles were found along the banks of the Rhine River, one of Europe’s greatest rivers. Eventually, this natural resource became depleted, and in 1715 the Czech company, Preciosa, developed a way to manufacture rhinestones. Daniel Swarovski originally worked for Preciosa and left to open his own company in 1895. Today, there are many manufacturers of crystal rhinestones as well as acrylic rhinestones.
Types of Rhinestones
Crystal rhinestones, those made by Swarovski, Preciosa and other manufacturers are laser cut. Different manufacturers have different number of facets. Keep in mind, that the more facets a rhinestone has, the more light it reflects. The Xiruis Rhinestone manufactured by Swarovski, has a whopping 16 facets. Preciosa Rhinestones have 12 facets. Should you decide to buy a non-brand name rhinestone, be sure to check on the number of facets as it will affect its sparkle.
Additionally, crystal rhinestones break up the light like a prism. Rhinestones sparkle so beautifully because of this prismatic effect combined with the number of facets. In 2012, Swarovski patented a new lead-free crystal formula making their stones CPSIA compliant. CPSIA laws govern lead content in items for children. For this reason, Swarovski is a good choice for parents who have children ice skating, dancing, or in participating other activities.
Acrylic rhinestones are molded rhinestones and while the facets do reflect the light, they do no have the prismatic effect of crystal. Inexpensive and lead free make acrylic rhinestones a good choice for children’s crafts.
The 4 C’s
Key points to keep in mind If you are planning on using a non-name brand rhinestone: the four C’s: color, cut, contour and clarity.
What about that “ss” size?
Originally, when rhinestones were found along the banks of the Rhine River, they were measured in “stone sizes” or “ss”. Although natural rhinestones are no longer, the “ss” system of measurement is still in use today. The smaller the number next to the “ss”, the smaller the rhinestones. Likewise, the larger number next to the “ss”, the larger the rhinestones. And the smaller the rhinestone, the more you will need to cover an area. By the same token, the larger the rhinestone, the less you will need to cover an area. Most retailers will also give the millimeter size.
Below is a conversion chart from ss to millimeters:
ss mm ss mm ss mm
3 1.4 8 2.35 20 4.7
4 1.6 9 2.65 30 6.41
5 1.8 10 2.85 34 7.17
6 2.0 12 3.1 40 8.54
7 2.15 16 3.9 48 11.11
There are two things to consider when applying rhinestones. First, the surface and then the type of rhinestone. Some adhesives provide a more permanent bond to some surfaces. Beacon’s Gem Tac is a great all-purpose glue. Gem Tac is recommended for fabric, wood, suede, glass, vinyl and metal.
E6000 is another adhesive suitable for just about any type of surface. Recommended for all the surfaces as Gem Tac as well as plastic, tile, ceramic, cement, rubber, leather and Styrofoam. However, this glue is a bit harder to work with as it’s thicker and harder to apply. Keep in mind that this glue dries quickly and must be used in a well-ventilated area.
Be careful as some adhesives are not recommended for use with Acrylic rhinestones. Beacon’s Fabri-Tac and E6000 are not recommended for use with these types of rhinestones. Always check the glue manufacturer’s instructions and the supplier of your rhinestones for the best adhesive to use.
How to attach Rhinestones to Fabric
After you pick your adhesive, you are ready to glue. Prewash whatever garment you are applying rhinestones to. Squeeze a drop of glue slightly smaller than the rhinestone on your fabric. Using a tweezer or wax tipped tool, pick up the rhinestone and gently press it into the glue drop. Some glue should seep out of the edges of the rhinestone. This makes a seal and helps to prevent the rhinestone from peeling off. Allow to dry flat for 24 hours.
Hot fix rhinestones are rhinestones with glue on the bottom. These can be adhered to fabric using a hot fix tool or a hot iron without steam. A hot fix tool is a wand with different size tips for the various size rhinestones. Position the rhinestones crystal side up, heat the tool, then vertically position the wand over the item you want to pick up. With a light touch, pick up the item in the cup at the end of the tip. It will stick in the tip. Depending on your type of wand, wait 10-15 seconds for the glue to heat (you will see it bubble). Gently tap the tip onto the fabric and the rhinestone will stick. Too much pressure will cause the rhinestone to stick in the tip so make sure you use a light touch. In a few minutes the glue will cool, and the rhinestone will be securely attached.
Another nifty tool is hot fix transfer paper. You can make complicated designs or lettering by laying rhinestones on the sticky side, then simply use an iron without steam to apply. The recommended temperature for glue activation by Swarovski is a temperature range of 120°C to 170°C (250°F to 340°F).
Due to a lack of absorbency, some fabrics are not suitable for use with hot fix rhinestones. These include tightly woven fabrics, very thin fabrics such as organza, leather or imitation leather as well as fabrics treated with water-repellent treatments, stain-resistant treatments and easy-to-care treatments.
Other Methods for Attaching Rhinestones
Two other ways of attaching rhinestones to fabric are sewing and metal settings. Sew-ons are rhinestones with predrilled holes for sewing. Simply sew the rhinestone on with a needle and thread through the holes. Rhinestones with metal settings that have channels on the back such as Rose Montees can be used for sewing as well.
There are two types of metal settings, tiffany and rim. Tiffany settings enter from the back of the fabric, the rhinestone is placed in the middle of the prongs and then prongs fold over the front of the rhinestone. Rim settings fit over the top of the rhinestone and the prongs are pushed into the fabric and folded on the backside of the fabric. There are also rhinestones already attached to metal settings such as Rose Pins.
How Many Rhinestones will I need?
What is the size area you are covering and are you completely covering it with rhinestones? And yes, it involves math.
For a straight line of rhinestones:
Step A. Multiply the number of inches by 25.4
Step B. Then divide your answer by the millimeter size of the rhinestone. So for:
3.1 for 12ss (3.1 is the mm size for 12ss rhinestones)
3.9 for 16ss (3.9 is the mm size for 16ss rhinestones)
4.76 for 20ss (4.76 is the mm size for 20ss rhinestones)
If you are covering a large area with rhinestones you will need this formula:
Step A. Find the area by multiplying the width and length of the area you wish to rhinestone.
Step B. Multiply the answer in Step 1 by
67.14 for 12ss rhinestones
42.41 for 16ss rhinestones
29.20 for 20ss rhinestones
The answer will be the amount of rhinestones you will need to cover that area. If you are still confused or need help in figuring out how many rhinestones you will need, contact us here at Rhinestones Etc and we will be glad to help you do the math.
What Color Rhinestones Should I use?
Much of choosing a color is preference but choosing certain colors will give your project a certain look. Choosing a rhinestone the same color as the background will provide sparkle while blending in. A contrasting color will pop while providing sparkle.
Not sure what color to use? Popular colors, crystal and crystal AB are good choices. Both colors look great with anything. Crystal is a clear rhinestone while Crystal AB is a clear rhinestone with an Aurore Boreale (AB) coating that gives the rhinestone a rainbow look. Crystal AB rhinestones are great at picking up and reflecting back the surrounding color.
Is your Head spinning from all this information? Do you have more questions than answers? Don’t hesitate to contact the friendly staff at Rhinestones Etc. We love to help people with their projects.
There are a variety of Rhinestone products on the market today. Whereas once upon a time, they were a naturally occurring resource, now there are many different manufacturers. Quality of the rhinestone depends on the material and the number of facets.
Once rhinestones were a natural resource found along the banks of the Rhine River in Europe. As this natural resource became depleted, the Czech company, Preciosa, developed a way to manufacture rhinestones. Daniel Swarovski originally worked for Preciosa and left to open his own company in 1895. Today, there are many manufacturers of crystal rhinestones.
Crystal rhinestones are laser cut. The number of facets in the rhinestone depends on the manufacturer. For this reason, the greater the number of facets mean the greater the reflection of light. Swarovski Rhinestones have the greatest number of facets in their Xirius rhinestone, 16. Preciosa Rhinestones have 12 facets and then some of the other lesser known brands have 10 or less facets. In addition, crystal rhinestones also have a prismatic effect. When light hits the rhinestones, it acts like a prism breaking up the light into a myriad of colors.
Starting In 2012, Swarovski began manufacturing a new crystal with a patented formula that is lead free. This makes Swarovski CPSIA (The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act) compliant. These laws govern consumer products designed or intended primarily for children 12 years of age or younger. CPSIA specifically limits the amount of lead allowed in children’s products. Having a lead-free product is great for children who participate in activities where rhinestones are used to adorn costumes.
Acrylic rhinestones are different than crystals in that they are molded rather than cut. They usually have 8 facets which reflect light but do not have the prismatic effect. Also, acrylic rhinestones are lead free and the cheapest option for embellishing with rhinestones and are great for children’s products.
All rhinestones come is a variety of colors, shapes and sizes making them extremely versatile. Throwing a girl’s princess party? Some colorful acrylic rhinestones can add some bling. Prom time and your budget is slim? Browse the racks at the thrift store and give your find a boost of sparkle with rhinestones. Not sure where to begin with rhinestones? Here at Rhinestones Etc we’ll help you find the right rhinestone, in the right size and color.
Embellished shirts are expensive but cheap plain shirts tend to be boring. However, for most of us, our budget says buy the boring plain shirt. After you learn how easy and cheaper it is to bedazzle a shirt, you’ll be happy buying that ordinary solid color shirt. The t-shirt used in this project was one I found on clearance for $4.00 and the stencil I found at the dollar store.
For this project I used:
1 t shirt
Gold metallic fabric paint
Black diamond 12ss rhinestones (about 170 rhinestones)
Wax tipped tool or tweezers
Easy Steps to Bedazzle a Shirt
Wash and dry your shirt.
Because I like my designs to be somewhat symmetrical, I like to mark with chalk the position of the designs. Chalk works great because you can brush off your marks if you need to make a change and it easily washes out.
Once I marked out the position of my design, I was ready to paint. You can use a shirt board If you have one; place it on the inside of the shirt. Usually, I just use a piece of thick cardboard I have laying around. Using the chalk marks, position your stencil and apply the fabric paint using a paint brush. Either a foam brush or a regular paint brush works fine.
Remove the stencil and clean it off before repositioning it. When you are done painting, allow to dry completely.
I chose the rhinestone color of black diamond because I liked how it reflected off the black of the shirt and yet didn’t overpower the gold color of the stencil designs.
Again, I marked with chalk the design of the rhinestones.
If the material to the t-shirt is thin, you may want to leave the shirt board in place when gluing or place a piece of wax paper on the inside of the shirt.
To glue your rhinestones, place a drop of glue slightly smaller than the rhinestone on the shirt. Then, using your wax tipped tool or tweezers, pick up a rhinestone and gently press it into the glue drop. Continue gluing until your design is complete. Allow to dry flat for 24 hours.
How much do you think you’d pay in retail for this shirt? At least $25. But by doing it yourself, you can bedazzle a shirt for $10-$15 depending on the brand of rhinestones you choose to use. You’ll feel trendy and stylish while keeping to your budget.
No matter how you use them, rhinestones add a touch of sparkle. Have a plain shirt? Bedazzle it with rhinestones. Upcoming wedding? Bling out your wedding invitations. Don’t know what to give your best friend for Christmas? Glue her initial in rhinestones to a coffee mug. Rhinestones Etc. has many tutorials blogs like these with instructions.
Applying Rhinestones to Different Surfaces
There are two things to consider when applying rhinestones. First, the surface and then the type of rhinestone. Some adhesives provide a more permanent bond to surfaces. Beacon’s Gem Tac is a great all-purpose glue. This glue is recommended for fabric, wood, suede, glass, vinyl and metal. It also happens to be Rhinestones Etc’s favorite choice of glue. Finally, it is easy to apply, dries clear and is washable.
E6000 is another adhesive suitable for just about any type of surface. Recommended for all the surfaces as Gem Tac as well as plastic, tile, ceramic, cement, rubber, leather and Styrofoam. However, this glue is a bit harder to work as it is thicker and harder to apply. Rhinestones Etc likes to squeeze a bit out over a paper plate and use a toothpick to apply the glue. Keep in mind that this glue dries quickly and must be used in a well-ventilated area.
While most adhesives are safe to use, some are not recommended for use with Acrylic rhinestones. Beacon’s Fabri-Tac and E6000 are not recommended for use with these types of rhinestones. Always check the glue manufacturer’s instructions and the supplier of your rhinestones for the best adhesive to use.
Other Methods for Attaching Rhinestones
Two other ways of attaching rhinestones are sewing and metal settings. Sew-ons involve rhinestones with predrilled holes for sewing. Simply sew the rhinestone on with a needle and thread through the predrilled holes.
Rose Montees are rhinestones set in a metal setting that have a cross channel on the back for sewing or stringing wire through.
Additionally, some metal settings come with holes to string wire or throughfor jewelry making.
When metal settings are used for fabrics, the rhinestone is placed in the setting. Then the metal prongs are pushed into the fabric and bent to secure the rhinestone. There are also rhinestones attached to metal settings such as Rose Pins.
As you can see, there are several different ways to attach rhinestones and some things to consider. Think about the project you are working on and the manufacturer’s suggestions. If you still have any questions about what works best you your project, you can contact Rhinestones Etc for help at email@example.com.
Are you new to using rhinestones? Then you are probably scratching your head over rhinestones sizes. Rhinestones are typically measured in “ss” sizes. Just what does “ss” mean and how big is it? You’ve heard of inches and millimeters but “ss” has you stumped.
Years ago, there were naturally occurring sparkling quartz found along the banks of the Rhine River in Europe. These quartz or stone pieces were measured in” stone sizes” abbreviated to “ss”. Over time, this natural resource was depleted, and companies learned to manufacture rhinestones. Of course, the system of measurement using stone sizes was kept.
How do I know what size I need?
The smaller the number next to the “ss”, the smaller the rhinestones. For example, a size 6ss rhinestone is about the size of a head of a pin. A size 34ss is slightly larger than an eraser on a pencil. Most companies will list millimeter size alongside the “ss” size. As to which size you should use depends on the project you are working on
Smaller size rhinestones are perfect to nail design. After applying nail polish, use a nail glue and top coat to secure the rhinestones on finger nails. For competition outfits such as dance and skating, larger size rhinestones generally work better. Rhinestoning shoes? Use a medium size rhinestone such as 16ss or 20ss. Sometimes, you may even need several rhinestone sizes to complete your project.
Rhinestones Conversion Chart
Below is a conversion chart from ss to millimeters:
ss mm ss mm ss mm
3 1.4 8 2.35 20 4.7
4 1.6 9 2.65 30 6.41
5 1.8 10 2.85 34 7.17
6 2.0 12 3.1 40 8.54
7 2.15 16 3.9 48 11.11
Still not sure what size you need? Rhinestones Etc will be happy to help you determine what works best. You can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Many years ago, when my daughter figure skated, I remember feeling very intimidated at gluing crystals to fabric. I was afraid of using too much glue, and also gluing the crystals in the wrong place. A good friend of mine offered to help me as she had embellished her children’s dance costumes several times. Once I got over my fear, I saw how easy it was. So, today, I am going to share with you some tips.
Choosing your glue
First, you need to select an adhesive. There are many adhesives on the market and some are better at applying Swarovski Crystal to fabric than others. My all-time favorite glue for this job is Gem Tac. It dries clear, is washable and is perfect for fabrics. Plus, the flow of glue is easy to control. E6000 is another glue choice that some people like to use. It does come with some warnings and it’s much gloppier and harder to control the application.
Applying Swarovski Crystal to Fabric
To begin with, pre-wash and dry your garment before you start gluing. If the fabric is thin or sheer, place a piece of wax paper underneath.
When applying Swarovski crystals to fabric, it’s very important to use a large enough glue drop. The drop of glue should be about the size of the rhinestone. After you press the rhinestone into the glue, the glue should seep out from the edges. This makes a seal which helps keep the rhinestone from peeling off. One of the most common reasons for rhinestones falling off is this one, a lack of glue seal. Use a wax tipped tool or tweezer to pick up rhinestones and press them into the glue drop. This glue will be invisible once it dries as it dries clear.
Always let dry flat for 24 hours before wearing. To sum up, applying Swarovski Crystals to fabric appears harder than it seems. With a little practice, you’ll soon be adding crystals to everything.
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Altoid mints come in a cute little tin. The latest crafting rage is to recycle these tins into cute scenes or children’s travel play sets. There are many mediums to choose from to cover your tin: paper, fabric and/or clay. I wanted an altered tin that was both beautiful and practical. When I travel, I never have a place to carry an extra pair of earrings. So, I set out to make a jewelry carrier out of my Altoid tin.
For this project I used:
Metallic gold oven baked clay
Raw sienna color oven baked clay
12ss and 20ss Dorado rhinestones
Scrap material 8.5 x 5.5 inches
How to Make an Altered Altoid Tin
Mix the gold with raw sienna until you get a rustic bronze color. Cover the lid and sides with a thin layer of clay making sure you can still open and close the lid. Using the gold clay, roll out some vines and position these on the lid. Shape some small leaves and place these along the leaves.
Finger prints can be problematic and distract from the beauty of the case. Therefore, simply brush the clay surface with a 50/50 mixture of alcohol and water with a paint brush. The alcohol “melts” the clay and smooths the surface. Bake in a 275-degree oven for 15 minutes then remove and let cool.
After the clay is cool, brush the vines and leaves with modge podge. Sprinkle the clear glitter on and let dry.
Fold the scrap material right sides together. Sew up the 2 longer edges of the 3 open edges. Turn inside out. Sew lengthwise evenly spaced so that you have 3 pockets. Stuff each pocket with pillow stuffing.
Once stuffed, turn the remaining edges to the inside and stitch the ends together.
Place inside the tin. Glue several 20ss Dorado rhinestones scattered along the top of the tin using Gem Tac. Squeeze a drop of glue slightly smaller than the rhinestone. Using a tweezer or wax tipped tool, pick up a rhinestone and gently press it into the glue drop. Glue alternating 12ss and 20ss Dorado rhinestones along the side edge of the lid, spacing about 1/4 inch apart. Lastly, let the finished case dry for 24 hours without any further handling.
Tins are fun to recycle and gluing on rhinestones adds to the fun. You can experiment with different styles and designs to come up with the perfect altered Altoid tin for you. Finally, these tins are the perfect way to store and safely carrying jewelry on a trip.
Rhinestones like the ones used in the picture are available from:
I have five kids and often feel like I am running a zoo. I love to craft and do so in whatever spare time I have.
On your first purchase of quality embellishments from Rhinestones Etc.