Preciosa and DIY go hand in hand.

Preciosa is well known in the industry for their high quality cut glass and crystal components. Along with the likes of Swarovski, Zodiac and other rhinestone brands, Preciosa have a huge range of flatback stones which can applied, with heat or glue, to almost any surface, making them the ideal choice for home crafting and DIY. Flatback non hotfix and hotfix gems are hugely popular in creative industries such as dance, bridal, jewellery design, dressmaking, fashion, costume design, nail art and textiles, but are also becoming increasingly popular among non-professionals, beginners and hobbyists. We’ve seen flatback rhinestones being used to embellish all sorts of weird and wonderful objects; marmite jars, mannequins, cars, garden gnomes, animal skulls, cricket balls and even wheelbarrows!

Today we are showing you how to add some Preciosa Flatback Crystals to a simple wooden shape to create this fabulous statement brooch. You can choose any shape you like, we recommend one with a simple design if this is your first experience with blinging. If you have worked with crystals before, or feel confident in your creative skills, go for something with a bit more detail. We have used non hotfix Preciosa rhinestones in sizes ranging from SS5 (1.8mm) to ss10 (3mm), some Preciosa crystal cupchain, Gem Tac glue, a syringe applicator and a Katana Pick Up Tool to apply the flatback rhinestones to our flamingo shape. Here we have colours in varying shades of pink, plus a few White Opal and Jet for the face.

A simple step-by-step guide

Step 1. Colour in your wooden shape using a felt tip pen, try and use a colour that is close to the crystals you will be using. This will bring the image to life and avoids any brown gaps in between the rhinestones. We used pink for the body and black for the beak.

Using a Syringe Applicator, apply tiny glue dots to the area you want to crystallise. We recommend using a syringe applicator with tip as it allows you to apply small, precise amounts of glue without getting into a mess. If you do accidentally use too much glue, don’t worry – if you are using Gem Tac glue it will dry completely clear. This method is also a great way to avoid wastage.

Step 2. Next, pick up your rhinestone (shiny side up) using a Pick Up Tool and place it down on top of the first glue dot, apply a small amount of pressure so it sticks. Repeat this step, making around 8 – 10 glue dots at a time before adding the crystals. As you get used to the method you will become quicker and more precise. We like to use triangle sorting trays to store the crystals, they are really handy for keeping them neat and tidy!

Step 3. Continue this application method for the main body, highlighting key features such as the feathers going into the tail. Here we have used Preciosa Pearshapes which are glued on in the same way. These work really well for creating the intricate shape of the tail feathers. And we chose the AB colour to give the brooch ultimate sparkle and really draw focus, especially when the light hits it.

Step 4. For the flamingo’s legs, we wanted to get a bit creative so have used Preciosa Cupchain, which is metal chain made up of individual crystals in cups. Cupchain is mainly used for jewellery making but really it can be sewn or glued onto almost any surface. Once it has been cut to size, we apply the chain using the same glue.

Tips & Tricks for DIY crystallizing

  • Practice applying the rhinestones to a spare piece of paper/card before you start your project, this will help you get an idea of how much glue to use and how much pressure to apply.
  • Use specifically designed tools to help the process such as a Crystal Katana pick up tool rather than fiddly tweezers, storage potsfor keeping the rhinestones neat and orderly, Gem Tac glue – our #1 bestselling adhesive and Application Syringe with Precision Tip for applying glue neatly.
  • If possible, work in the natural daylight as artificial lighting makes it harder to see especially when using smaller rhinestones.
  • Make sure your hands are clean when working with rhinestones - grease marks will show up and dull the sparkle.
  • Spend a little more money to purchase a high-quality rhinestone. The last thing you want is peeling stones, dis-colouration or scratches.
  • If you need more help on which type of rhinestones to use, advice on colours, sizes or application method, please contact your crystal supplier Crystal Parade.

Check out our blog for more expert guides, How To’s and inspirational tips and tricks.

Craft & diy