Techniques for Mounting Rhinestones
Glue and Gluing Techniques:
We strongly suggest GemTac Glue by Beacon. If you have success with other glues, we are not trying to talk you into a new product. In our hands, this glue has been very good. However, I strongly suggest that before you do anything to fabric or anything else with glue, you test the glue, itself, to make sure it is a good batch and sets properly. To do this, open the glue as described below, place a small amount on paper, scrape fabric, plastic,...whatever, embed one rhinestone into it as described below and allow 24 hours for full curing. IF the glue is behaving properly, your glue is fine and proceed. If you have any questions as to the condition of the 'set glue,' stop now and call us or anyone who glues with great regularity. Do NOT take a chance that the glue may be defective ....mistakes happen with all production, and occasionally, these mistakes slip by quality control of the manufacturer.
- Practice on scrape fabric until you can consistently judge the size of glue spots required for the following:
- Place glue spots onto fabric in whatever pattern you want. The glue spots MUST be of a size that when the rhinestone you are using is pushed into glue, glue will just come around the rhinestone edge. You want to glue the rhinestone glass edge to the fabric, NOT JUST THE BACK or the rhinestone. (the bond of the mirror backing to the glass of the rhinestone is not sufficient to hold the stone to the fabric. Eventually, if abused, you will have nice, bright shiny metallic spot of backing with missing glass...the rhinestone separated from its backing!
- It stands to reason...you will use smaller spots of glue with smaller stones, larger with larger. (DUH!) Practice with each size stone you use. A 5ss stone will use an incredibly small spot of glue, a 34SS will use a large spot of glue. ◾ Do not apply any more spots of glue than you can set stones into within 60 seconds. If it is a dry day, do fewer at one time...you do not want the glue to skim dry on the surface BEFORE the stone is set into it.
- When gluing large jewels, use glue so that glue comes up over all edges of the stone. Otherwise, the stone will fall off. (The bigger/heavier the stone, the better the edges must be glued)
- Glue is white when it comes out of the tube, and is water soluble. It becomes clear when it dries, and is no longer water soluble. This (these) glue(s) will bond to glass, metal, etc. Please note: The use of these glues outdoors is at your own risk. Most glues on the market will amber over time when exposed to UV light.
- Use an APPLICATOR STICK to make your life much easier ...Apply the glue spots to the fabric, lightly touch the top side of the stone with the waxy end of the applicator stick (the stone will stick to the applicator stick, but you do not want it 'cemented' to the stone. Push the stone into the glue with the applicator stick, lightly twist the stick as you pull back. The rhinestone will stay in the glue and you can move on to the next stone very quickly. Don't even think about tweezers! Glue gets on the tips and the stones stick to the tweezers.
- Allow rhinestone glue to begin to clear before moving to another part of the fabric (if you have to move the fabric) and handle gently, being careful not to loosen stones that are drying.
- Usually, 24 hours is a good drying time before wearing garment. Wait one week to hand wash. We do not suggest machine washing. Wash in cold to warm water.
- DO NOT DRY CLEAN GARMENTS WITH GLUED STONES. The glue will discolor (yellow) and eventually become brittle. You will loose your stones.
- If you lose a stone, reapply glue to same spot and replace stone as above.
- With practice, you will set at least 10 gross stones per hour with this technique.
- IF you drip glue on fabric, use damp, clean cloth to remove. Wipe and repeat a few times. Should leave no trace. OR ....change stone pattern and go to town. DO NOT TRY TO REMOVE GLUE FROM SATIN WITH A DAMP CLOTH...YOU WILL WATER SPOT THE SATIN!
- The best way to avoid spots, etc., when glue is ... be careful.
WARNING: Although GemTac is a wonderful glue for all around use, do NOT use GemTac to attach rhinestones where the temperatures of the item you are gluing to will experience low temperatures... The glue becomes brittle when it is really cold. Its elasticity returns when it is warmer. This warning is applicable to ALL acrylic glues, regardless of who makes them.
WARNING: I do not advise using any glue when relative humidity exceeds 75%. There is a chance that the glues will take on water from the air and prevent normal drying and adhesion.
E 6000 Glue: My experience with this glue has been mixed. When used correctly, it holds stones very well, and survives washing very well. Even clothes thrown into a washing machine seem to survive just fine, losing no rhinestones. The down side of this glue is that it: dries very quickly, so must be used carefully, or full adhesion of the stones will be harmed. AND, it dries shiny. Excess glue that is required to surround the rhinestone WILL show. The last thing I do not like about this glue is that when you pull the tube back from applying a spot of glue, the glue leaves a 'string' of glue that dries almost immediately. You will have a 'hairy' look to the garment if you do not take the time to remove all the 'strings' of glue. This will be especially apparent if the clothing is seen under spot lights.
Overall, most glues made for applying rhinestones and 'jewel's work fine. Some manufacturers do it better than others, and the problems of manufacturing can come and go. I do not endorse any one product more than another. I am giving you the results of my personal experiences only, and assume no responsibility for glue in your hands. (or on them, for that matter :-)
WARNING: if you purchase glue from a store, and IF the top of the glue dirty or dusty, this glue is OLD! Acrylic glues do not take kindly to aging on the shelf...they can begin polymerizing and cause lumps in the bottle that will stop up the applicator tip..very annoying, and very dangerous...you will have a tendency to squeeze harder on the tube to apply a small amount of glue, and the lump will let loose, delivering a mountain of glue where you wanted a small spot...very messy, and can ruin a garment. You have been warned.
REMOVING SET ACRYLIC GLUE: good luck! Most solvents that will dissolve acrylic glues may damage fabric or plastics. TEST, TEST, TEST. Goof Off will soften and dissolve the glue. You may be able to remove the glue by use of this product, but I make no guarantees. Usually, it is successful. But it MAY damage plastics and some synthetic fabrics. Try it first on an inconspicuous place before going to town. Acetone should also work, but wear RUBBER GLOVES! Acetone will pass through your skin and can damage kidneys...very expensive to replace! Heat-Set (Heat Fix, etc)
Hot Fix Glue and Mounting:
Heat Fix glues have improved dramatically in the past few years. Different Brands of rhinestones use different glues, but, in general, the adhesives are very good when used correctly. BUT, the bonding is to the backing only, therefore, the problem of stone loss is real. Therefore, we strongly advise hand washing any items with heat set stones. IF, like me, you throw everything into the washing machine, the worst that will happen is that an occasional stone will rip free of its backing. This can be repaired by applying another stone over the shiny spot where a stone was lost...no big deal.
To minimize this loss, use 6SS, 10SS, and 12SS stones when heat setting if you are going to machine wash. The larger the stone, the more apt it is to abrasion. Larger stones, say 16SS, 20SS, 30SS, and 34SS really need to be hand washed, period.
Furthermore, put garment inside out (rhinestones in) in a mesh laundry bag and on gentle cycle, with other soft items around. hang to dry.
NO GLUE IS Fully DRY CLEANABLE! Some heat Fix glues will withstand one dry cleaning procedure (Swarovski is better than others), BUT not another procedure.. It depends upon the chemicals used in the dry cleaning ...therefore, we suggest avoiding using heat setting stones with non-washable fabrics. (PS...Silk IS washable!) (at this time) The new Swarovski, style 2028, is claimed by Swarovski to be fully dry cleanable. This is Swarovski's claim, not ours. Dry Clean at your own risk.
IF you are using single stones, one at a time, to develop patterns of stones, AND if you want to heat fix them to the fabric, an iron is a poor method of affixing them. We suggest you consider the 'Kandi Kane Pro'™ unit, a wand, very much like a soldering iron, with different tips for sizes. Makes the process fairly easy. (You will find the Kandi Kane* under 'Tools' in this catalog. IF you have a heat press, you can place the stones and lower the platen, then move on. Either way is successful in affixing these stones. Heat Fix stones are available in most transparent colors, crystal, and crystal AB. They are available in ,many Color AB varieties in sizes SS6, SS10, SS16, and SS 20. SS12 is not a size that we stock in Colors AB for there are very few of them made. So plan accordingly. Most of the new 'Effect' colors from Swarovski are available in Heat Fix (HF). Colors AB are stocked by Rhinestone Guy when they are available.
KEEP IN MIND, temperatures required to set these stones vary by brand of rhinestone. Czech stones mount successfully at between 305 and 310 degrees, Swarovski stones require about 340 - 350 degrees with style 2012, but the newer style 2028 requires the same heat as the Czech Preciosa MC rhinestone.
Do NOT overheat the stones, and do not allow stone to remain heated too long before mounting. Test your methods before proceeding. When the glue melts on the back of the stone, it is ready to use. Do not apply and leave heat on too long, as glue will spread out into fabric too far, leaving too little glue under the stone, AND the glue will discolor the fabric. So, practice before you use them. You will catch on to the technique very quickly!
We do like heat transfers a lot, but only in 6SS and 10SS stone sizes (since most of our clients will end up throwing tees into the washing machine. DO NOT USE HOT MELT GLUES WITH RHINESTONES...WILL NOT STICK WELL TO STONE BACK, and this stuff is nasty to use! Glue sticks, etc. are NOT good at holding stones, and leave strings of glue every where, AND, given enough time, you will get your fingers and hands burned...not very pleasant, overall. Rhinestone Guy produces most of their transfers in 6ss or 10SS rhinestones because this is the only size stone we have found to hold up reasonably well in the washing machine on Tees, etc.
For custom work, see our section, here, "Custom Heat Transfers."
These guys are great for strong setting of stones to fabric, leather, etc. Four prongs come from back of fabric and wrap over stone edge. Easiest to apply with tool, but you can bend each prong over by hand (We have much better things to do with our time). Bedazzler, or Commercial setters are best for this type of application. Even the inexpensive 'hand setter' works well. We glue our stones (very lightly, NOT coming out around stone) in place before mounting with tiffany or rims. This insures pattern will stay perfect. If you have no pattern, go to it with a Bedazzler...very easy, fun, and sort of fast.
Great look for some garments. Used in Country/Western and Rodeo clothing. Has metal rim that surrounds rhinestone with prongs bending over on back of fabric...very good mounting. Can be used one at a time by gluing stone in place (lightly, as described in 'Tiffany'), placing rim over stone and lightly stretching fabric as you push rim over stone (avoids fabric puckering). Bend prongs over back of stone with spoon, tweezers back end, etc. OR, if doing lots of these guys, buy a setter.
Many clients prefer sewing jewels and rhinestones on costumes...very permanent.
Lochrosens, Coronas, and Margaritas have a center hole, use with seed bead by coming from back of fabric, through hole, through bead, around bead, and back through center hole. Then, move to next. You will have to use a BEADING needle to do this, as regular needles are too big to go through seed bead. We prefer silk or monofilament thread. If you use thread, wipe it a few times with a 'Bounty' fabric softener sheet prior to sewing...will help prevent thread from tangling into a real mess!
Rhinestones 9mm and up are available from Swarovski with two holes for sewing. We have a great selection of large Sew On Jewels with 2 holes on each side both Swarovski and RG Premiums. Choose Sew-on Jewels for this purpose.