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Rhinestones How-To Library
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How to Rhinestone Accessories

Ready, set, accessorize! Adding crystals to your phone, shoes, belts, bracelets and anything in between is easy with flat back rhinestones because they’re so versatile. These stones are cut with the facets on the front and a flat back, as the name implies, to sit flush on almost any surface. We carry multiple rhinestone qualities for different budgets. Choose your rhinestone quality.

We recommend working with an adhesive suitable for your project, or using a metal setting to secure your stone in place.

The type of project you are working on will help determine the glue you need. In general, white glues work well on fabrics and porous materials; 2-part epoxies have a strong hold for metals and inflexible surfaces; specialty quick-set glues like E6000 have few limitations, but require a bit more control. Read more about types of adhesives in this Rhinestones Unlimited blog article, The Right Sticky Situation.

If gluing your stones onto a smooth surface, you may need to prime or score the project surface first to give the glue more to grip. This is especially true with leathers, glass, smooth plastics and vinyl. On non-rigid objects—headbands, belts, fabric necklaces—you will not want the stones to completely touch, or you will limit the flexibility of the finished project. Use dots of glue—don’t spread it or make a line with the glue—if you want a lot of coverage on flexible surfaces.

We have many tools to help with precision glue placement and increase application efficiency. Pick up some tricks when you watch our How-To Videos.

Metal settings do not require glue. These hold the stone up against the fabric, adding a decorative metallic element to your design. There are two kinds of metal settings: rim and tiffany. Rim settings fit over the front of the stone, snugly encasing the perimeter in a metal frame; the setting "legs," or prongs, are folded up against the back of the fabric. Tiffany settings come from behind the fabric, and the legs are folded over the surface of the stone, giving a look similar to a gemstone in the prong settings of a ring.

Flat back rhinestones will get you through most of your projects with relatively little investment in equipment. There are other options out there, though, for more specialized projects. For heavier fabrics such as denim, leather and suede, consider Swarovski® Crystal Applicator Tool elements. Giving a similar look in a completely different product, Swarovski® has created a line of crystal and metal fusion elements that are applied with this hand tool. A rivet has the finished look of a stone set in a rim setting, but is actually a crystal built into a metal post, much like an earring with a backing. Rose pins have the finished look of a crystal that has been glued on, but they actually have the added security of metal legs that hold the fabric. There are even Jeans Buttons and crystal Snaps (which double as Decorative Buttons when not applied as a functioning snap). All of these products for use with the Crystal Applicator Tool are especially well suited to projects like horse tack and handbags. Choose your attachment method.

We offer lots of different crystal items to inspire your creativity, including beads, appliques, crystal zippers and more!

See other sections of our How-To library for more help with the design process or application, including how to choose your color, choose your size and choose your quantity.

Visit our Inspiration Gallery and Pinterest page to see creative uses of rhinestones on accessories!
Rhinestones Unlimited: Learn. Shop. Sparkle.