Customers often ask us ‘How do you apply rhinestones to clothing?’ and there are so many answers to that question: Heat fixing crystals on using an applicator wand or heat press, ironing crystals on with transfers, sewing rhinestones or crystal buttons to the fabric – the possibilities are endless. But the simplest and most cost effective way of adding rhinestones to clothing, with just a few easy to use tools, is by gluing them on.

A popular way to upcycle clothing with glue and non hotfix rhinestones, is by adding sparkle to the logo, this adds a touch of luxury to the brand. Whether it’s a Nike tick, Chanel logo or any other popular icon, you can make your clothing totally unique by applying rhinestones.

Crystal Parade team member Jen has been busy blinging up a t-shirt for a Duran Duran concert she’s attending this month in Birmingham. Jen bought her Duran Duran ‘Double D’ t-shirt from Etsy, and chose the Zodiac non hotfix crystals that perfectly matched the colours of the logo – SS16 Fuchsia and SS16 Aquamarine. She half filled an applicator syringe with Gem Tac glue, this is the best adhesive for attaching rhinestones to fabric – it dries completely clear and forms a strong bond that can withstand a cool wash without damage to the rhinestones. The syringe is a mess-free application method and avoids glue wastage too.

How to place the rhinestones

  1. Squeeze out tiny glue dots in a neat line onto the area you want to crystallize, in this case, the lettering. Start with 6 – 8 dots at first, then as you go along you will get faster and more confident, so you can do 10 – 12 dots. Allow the glue a few seconds to get tacky before picking up the crystal and placing it onto the glue dot. We always recommend using a crystal Katana to pick up and place the crystals, this is a professional embellishment tool that is used by crafters, costumiers, dressmakers etc. For a more cost effective option, the Tanto pick up tool or wax pencil are both good alternative for smaller projects.
  2. Continue applying glue dots and rhinestones to the logo in the same way – Jen’s Duran Duran logo took around 1 hour to complete; she filled in all the lettering and added some scattered crystals to the large ‘D’.
  3. Allow the glue to dry fully for 24 hours before wearing the t-shirt. Jen did a test wash to make sure the rhinestones were fully adhered to the fabric – when washing clothes with embellishments on, make sure you do a cool wash with no fabric conditioner.

We love the final result! In just 1 hour, and with very little mess or money spent, Jen transformed her t-shirt from merch that would be seen everywhere at the concert, to something truly bespoke that nobody else would be wearing! And of course, she’s wearing Harry Styles inspired crystal sunglasses to go with it. These fabulous crystallized Harry Styles heart sunglasses are available for just £8.99 in a colour of your choice. Or, get creative and make your own - Find the sunglasses tutorial here.

Clothing embellishment