Knowledge Base:  
Knowledge Base > Application Tips --> Knowledge Base > Application Tips
Last Updated: 03/12/2019
When applying flat back or hotfix rhinestones to a garment or project, the most important thing to remember is that you MUST create a SETTING for the rhinestone or it will fall off over time. Think of it like this - just like a piece of jewelry with a precious gem in it - the gem is set in a "setting" to hold it in place. So think of gluing your stones in the same vane. You must create a setting out of the adhesive to hold the stone in place. The adhesive must slightly ooze up around the stone - up the glass sides, not just the silver bottom. The oozing adhesive creates the setting needed to ensure your rhinestone will stay put for a long time. This technique is applicable to both wet glues and hotfix rhinestones. The trick with the hotfix is to be patient! Wait, and watch the glue melt on the bottom of the stone and make sure it is completely melted before you place it on the fabric. Then you must press the stone into the fabric so the glue oozes up around the glass of the rhinestone.

The rhinestones used to attach to garments, whether glue-on or iron on, are flat on the back side. There are two basic types of flatback Rhinestone. One is the regular flatback, more commonly known as the glue-on rhinestones. The other is the hotfix flatbacks, or known as iron-on rhinestone. These two types of flatbacks have no difference in colors. The only difference is in the method by which they are placed, applied or attached to the fabric or to whatever surface you may want to attach them to. The weakest link in the rhinestone adhering system is its mirror (silver) backing. The coating on the back of a rhinestone is a mirror bonded to the glass. This mirror does not have a very strong bond with the glass and can be pulled free of the glass over time. This is why you may see a silver spot where a rhinestone used to be when they fall off of a garment or project. It is highly advised to hand-wash any items with rhinestones, regardless of how they are put on the garment.You will find all the various glues, settings and hotfix applicators here on our website under Supplies and Tools.

Swarovski Hot Fix rhinestones stones have glue that melts at about 340 - 375 degrees F. If your fabric is easily damaged by heat, these are not the stones for you. Hotfix Flatback Rhinestones are ironed onto the fabric by using either a regular iron (turn off the steam), a heat press machine or a Hotfix Applicator Tool. This type of flatback rhinestone has a heat sensitive glue applied on the back of the rhinestone, that when heated, melts allowing you to stick it quickly onto your garment. This process is quick, it's clean and it's easy and dries clear. No other glue is needed. The secret is to make sure you're patient while the glue melts on the stone while heating up. Then once melted, place it on your garment and gently push it onto the fabric with your finger (being careful not to burn yourself). I personally use hot fix rhinestones on all different types of fabrics - lycra's, stretch velvets, glissenettes, micro-mesh, stretch lace, holograms and metallics. I recommend washing the fabric before you apply the rhinestones. This will remove any chemicals that may be in the fabric during the manufacturing process of the fabric.

1) Before plugging in hot-fix tool, ensure that you are using the proper sized attachment (tip) for the rhinestone size you wish to affix.
2) Plug in the hot-fix tool and lean it on the provided stand.
3) Take care not to touch the metal as it heats up - it will burn you!
4) Get your fabric ready and place it face up on a flat surface that can withstand heat.
5) Place all rhinestones face up in a separate area.
6) Pick up hot-fix tool by handle and gently place it on the rhinestone; rhinestone should readily fit and affix to the tool.
7) Now place rhinestone onto fabric where you wish it to adhere. (I recommend holding your fabric and bringing the stone and fabric together vertically. Less chance of the stone falling out of the tool and landing somewhere you don't want it.)
8) Press rhinestone into place on fabric, and lift straight off (quick motion). I recommend pressing down on the stone with your finger or the side of the tool, to ensure it is embedded into the fabric and the "setting is created out of the glue.
9) If the stone becomes stuck in the tool, simply take a straight pin and slide it through the slots of the tool tip, and release the stone onto your garment or a piece of paper.
10) MOST IMPORTANT - be patient. Be sure the glue is totally melted on your stone before you stick it to your fabric. A small amount of glue should ooze around the sides of the stone when placed on your garment. This forms a setting for the stone. Most people get in a hurry, and try to rush the job, thus the glue does not melt all the way, and the stone then do not stick like they should. Be patient - and practice and you'll soon be an expert.


1) Place fabric face up on a flat surface that can withstand heat.
2) Position rhinestones face up (sparkly side up) on fabric in the area where you wish it to adhere.
3) Heat up your iron to a medium high setting.
4) Once iron is heated, place a press cloth over the rhinestones (or teflon sheet), press and hold iron to the rhinestone; glue should melt and rhinestone should adhere to fabric (about 15 to 25 seconds). Do not slide the iron around. Press straight up and down.
5) Let cool.
6) Practice on scrap fabric before you work on your project.

Do not dry clean any garment that has any kind of glued stones on it, be it glue or heat fix. Regardless of the manufacturer, the cleaning fluids can denature the glue, cause it to become yellow and brittle, or just plain dissolve it.

Was this article helpful?


Related Articles