How to create a Rhinestone Transfer - A Complete Guide

Customizing your gear can be exciting and fun, but sometimes just a bit of colored vinyl isn’t enough to get the exact look you want. Adding rhinestones can a ton of personality and bling to any item. Many of the rhinestone transfers that are on the market just aren’t “you” enough. So why not just make your rhinestone transfer? It’s easier than you think.


Related: How to buy the right heat transfer paper

While the process may sound a little intimidating, it can be a fun challenge for any crafter wanting to add a little bling to their work. The designs themselves are a similar process to creating vector artwork. Or sometimes also called pixel art. Think of it as a new style of cross stitch even.

There is some software out there that can make the process even easier. Even beginners can create beautiful rhinestone transfers for their unique crafting needs. This handy guide will give let you know everything you need and a complete walkthrough of how to make your very own, one-of-a-kind rhinestone transfer. 

Does your design need more than one color of rhinestone? Sometimes picking through the rhinestones can be challenging for those large custom transfers. Our Katana Pen can give you the precision you need.  

What Is a Rhinestone Heat Transfer?

You might be asking yourself, "what is a rhinestone heat transfer?" These rhinestones are also known as artificial diamonds or strass. You can use these shiny pieces to add sparkle to clothes or spruce up your jewelry. 

Rhinestone heat transfers feature heat-activated adhesive with a flat back. With a bit of pressure and heat, you can transfer these pieces to your garments. Make sure to arrange your rhinestones into a particular design. You can just heat press these creations onto your favorite piece of jewelry or clothing. 


How Do You Make a Rhinestone Decal?

If you are looking to snazz up the look of your outfits, it has never been easier to create a customized look by creating a rhinestone decal. With a few pieces of equipment, you can choose a picture, a few words, or an intricate design and turn them into a rhinestone masterpiece. For the best results, select a design that is at least 1 inch in height, especially if you want to apply them to a tank top or T-shirt. Make sure to keep the maximum width to 9 inches. 

Once you have a design in mind, go to the computer and add additional touches to your masterpiece. Corel and Adobe are great programs to create a rhinestone decal. You can print out the decal and get ready to add those rhinestones to the transfer paper. 

These types of paper will have an adhesive backside that can be heat applied to your favorite piece of clothing. However, before you can add to your clothing, you need to add those rhinestones. Secure the transfer paper to a solid surface and get ready to dazzle your creation. Mix and match rhinestones that will make your design shine

You can use heat press rhinestones transfers to make a sparkly design. Take your time and create something that will look fabulous on your clothes. Once you have the desired result, you can heat transfer this creation onto your favorite apparel. 


How Do You Make Rhinestone Iron-On Templates?

Much like creating your own decal, you can easily design an iron-on template. With this process, you will want to open up your favorite photo editing software and get to work. You can find a favorite photo, layer it, and add some dots where you intend to place the rhinestones. Once you have finished that, print it out onto transfer paper and you are all set. Add the rhinestones and heat transfer the design to your favorite piece of clothing. With these few steps, you will know how to make rhinestone transfers for your next project.

Turning a Picture Into a Rhinestone Template

Do you have a favorite picture that needs a little sparkle? You might not think that you can create a fabulous piece with rhinestone transfers, but it is easy. It is simple to take a photo and dazzle it up. Take the picture and polish it with some editing software. After a few edits, you want it to have the proper size. Once that is finished, print it out to transfer paper and start adding your rhinestones. Want to know what supplies you will need for this easy craft? Follow our simple steps.

Supplies you will need to make a custom rhinestone transfer.

  • Vinyl Cutters
  • Flock (Be sure the piece is large enough for your design)
  • Heat Presses or an iron
  • Rhinestone transfer masks
  • Rhinestone template board
  • Rhinestone brush
  • Tweezers or a Katana Pen
  • Squeegee
  • Hotfix rhinestones
  • Your amazing design

Before you begin, you will want to finalize your design. If you are using software, then the system should take care of most of the clean-up. If you are preparing your design by hand, be sure to clean up any sketch lines and maybe even go over the design with rhinestones to get an idea of how the final product will look. 

Decorated kids shoes with pencils and chalkboard

Making Your Rhinestone Transfer - Step by Step Instructions


Now, onto the fun part. 

Step one: Load your flock into your cutting system (you can use a circuit cutter for this). Make sure your flock is facing up when you load it.

Step two: Export your rhinestone design to your cutter through the software of your system. This process will replicate the design onto the flock.

Note: Template flock takes more pressure to cut and will need a sixty-degree blade. 

Related: Tutorials

Step three: Once your flock is finishing being cut, these holes will be where your stones will lay. Peel the liner off of the flock to reveal the rhinestone placements. Then place your flock directly onto your template board. Remember to keep the sticky side down so that it holds onto the template board.

Step four: Things are about to get sparkly. Go on and pour your rhinestones onto your board and use your brush to brush them into place across your design gently. The rhinestones will get caught in the holes within your flock and should hold there. Keep brushing until the rhinestones fill every hole. Sometimes the rhinestones will fall in at odd angles, or you will need to swap out a color. You can use a pair of tweezers to correct the stay stones.

Step five: Once you have all of your rhinestones in place within your flock, you will need a piece of rhinestone transfer material. Cut down your transfer material to the proper size and peel off the backing. Place the sticky side down on top of your pattern in the flock. Be sure to be gentle at this part. You want to ensure a crisp transfer of your design.

Step six: Apply firm pressure to the entire design. Every single rhinestone must stick to the transfer material at this time. For small designs, your hand should work just fine. On the other hand, Lager designs may need the help of a squeegee to help adhere the sticky transfer to all the small stones.

Step seven: Now comes the scary part, don’t worry. Even if all the stones don’t transfer, you can replace the transfer material and put some more pressure on it for them to stick. Peel away the rhinestone transfer material from the flock. It’s not a band-aid, so don’t rip it off. Use smooth, steady tension as you remove the transfer from the flock. Again, if not all of the rhinestones stick, just place it back down and apply pressure in that area and slowly peel it back off.

Step eight: Almost done! You have your design on your transfer material. Now you can do one of two things, stick it on, or wait. If you do intend to wait and use your rhinestone transfer at another time, place it back onto the flock liner and set it aside. That will ensure that your pattern stays put. 

If you are ready to stick it on, then continue onto the next step. You might notice some orange fibers on your template. Don’t worry. They will not stick to your final project.


Green iron on fabric

Step nine: Things are about to get hot. You have your ready design. You have some bland thing that needs some zing. You are ready to transfer your rhinestone design. Place the design onto your garment. Make sure the stones are touching the fabric, and don’t worry about those orange hairs you might notice. Press with an iron or a press at 305 degrees Fahrenheit for about ten to fifteen seconds. You don’t need to use steam. Heat only will do.

Related: Acid applied apparel

Step ten: Let it cool! Do not remove the transfer backing until the rhinestones have cooled entirely in their new home before you peel off the backing.


Bonus step: Enjoy your new custom rhinestone craft!

Now you know what you need and how to make your own one-of-a-kind rhinestone patterns and designs. The crafting possibilities have become limitless. Get creative and mix and match. 

Ready to get started creating your own super simple, super awesome designs? Their stretch heat transfer vinyl goes great with rhinestones and lasts a long time. Avance Vinyl has everything you need to create your custom look.

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