Hotfix rhinestones, or iron on rhinestones, have revolutionised the world of crystal embellishment, offering an easy way to add sparkle to clothing, dancewear, costumes, textiles and various crafts. Their popularity stems from their ease and speed of application, and impressive results. However, as with any tool that requires heat, it's crucial to approach hotfix rhinestone applications with safety in mind. In this blog, we'll explore essential safety guidelines to ensure a secure and enjoyable crafting experience. From handling hotfix applicators to safeguarding your workspace, safety is paramount to achieve the best results without risk.

Understanding Hotfix Rhinestones and Tools

Hotfix rhinestones are small, sparkly embellishments, also known as iron on crystals, with a heat-activated adhesive on the back. They're commonly used for adding bling to various fabrics and materials. The glue which is incorporated into the foil backing of the rhinestone, means that no additional craft glue is required to attach it – this is the difference between hotfix and non hotfix rhinestones.

Hotfix rhinestones

The adhesive on the back of hotfix rhinestones melts when heated, creating a bond with the fabric or material. Once it cools and solidifies, the rhinestones stay in place. The bond is so strong that the heat fixing method is often favoured by costume designers and dressmakers who need to rely on a durable application. A hotfix applicator tool, also known as a hotfix wand, is the most convenient and efficient tool for applying hotfix rhinestones. It is compact, portable and comfortable to use.

Hotfix applicator tool

As an alternative, it is possible to fix hotfix rhinestones using a regular household iron, but it's important to turn off the steam setting as this can prevent the glue sticking properly. Always use a tea towel or baking parchment to protect your fabric while ironing. Household irons are also useful for applying a rhinestone transfer or embellishing items using hotfix rhinestone sheets.

Pre-Application Safety Tips

Setting up a safe workspace is crucial when using a hotfix tool for rhinestone applications. It's essential to have a stable, heat-resistant surface to work on, and we would advise against wearing any loose clothing that may come into contact with the tool. Most hotfix applicator tools come with a resting stand so ensure this is working properly before using the tool. Reading and understanding the instructions that come with your hotfix tool is also advised to avoid accidents or injuries. Familiarising yourself with the tool's specific features and safety measures helps prevent accidents and ensures a smooth, enjoyable crafting experience.

Safe workspace setup

Safe Handling of Hotfix Tools

When handling hotfix applicators and irons, always remember these key safety tips:

  • Avoid Touching the Tip: The tip of a hotfix applicator or iron becomes extremely hot. Never touch it directly to avoid burns. If you need to swap the tip of the wand to a different size, or you want to remove it for cleaning, make sure it has cooled down thoroughly first or use protective gloves.
  • Use a Stand: Always place the applicator on its stand when not in use. This prevents the hot tip from coming into contact with surfaces that could be damaged or catch fire. If your tool doesn't come with a safety stand, find a suitable heat proof surface to rest it on.
  • Keep Away from Children and Pets: Store hotfix tools out of reach of children and pets. The heat and ease of accessibility can pose a significant risk.

Application Process Safety

How to apply hotfix rhinestones safely, using an applicator wand:

  1. When you know which crystal size you are working with, screw the corresponding metal tip into the applicator wand. It is important to do this before turning on the power as it heats up quickly.
  2. Turn on the wand, wait for it to heat to temperature and pick up the rhinestone, shiny side facing upwards. There is no need to use your fingers to pick up the stone and place it onto the tip, you should always avoid direct skin contact.
  3. You will see the glue on the back of the stone start to melt and bubble after a few seconds – this is how you know it's hot enough to apply. Do not touch the bubbling glue as it may burn.
Hotfix rhinestone application process
  1. As soon as the bubbling starts and the glue turns wet and shiny, firmly place the rhinestone onto the desired area, press down to ensure the glue has bonded, then pull the wand away – the rhinestone will stay attached to the fabric.
  2. Leave for a few moments before touching the rhinestone, as the heat will remain in the crystal glass for a few seconds.

Post-Application Safety

Cooling down hotfix tools safely is an important step in the crafting process. After use, allow the tool to cool completely on its stand, away from any flammable materials. This prevents accidental burns or damage to surfaces. As for storage, keep hotfix tools in a designated, secure place, preferably in their original packaging or a protective case. This not only prevents accidents but also prolongs the life of the tool by protecting it from dust and damage. Remember, proper cooling and storage are essential for safe and effective use of hotfix tools.

First Aid for Burns or Injuries

In case of an accidental burn while using a hotfix tool or iron, immediately cool the area under running cool water for at least 10 minutes. This can help reduce swelling and pain. Cover the burn with a sterile, non-fluffy dressing or cloth. Avoid using ice, creams, or greasy substances like butter, as they can further damage the skin. If the burn is larger than the size of the person's hand, covers the face, hands, feet, or genitals, or looks deep or blistered, seek medical attention promptly. Remember, it's always better to prevent burns by handling hotfix tools carefully, but knowing basic first aid is essential for immediate response.


This blog offers comprehensive safety guidelines for applying hotfix rhinestones, and highlights the importance of a safe workspace and careful handling of tools. Key points to remember when embellishing with hotfix rhinestones:

  • Always read the instructions
  • Work on a heat proof surface to avoid damage
  • Avoid direct skin contact when the tool is in use
  • Keep the tool away from children and pets
  • Always use the safety stand provided
  • Seek medical advice in case of injury