When you’re applying round flatback rhinestones to an object or material, it can be tricky to decide on a pattern or design, especially if the area is an unusual shape. The easiest shape to crystallize is a square or rectangle such as a phone or tablet case, picture frame or journal. We have collated the top 5 ways to add crystals to a basic shape:

Design 1. Basic symmetrical rows

When working with crystals that are all the same size, you can easily apply them in straight lines, one above the other. This forms nice neat edges and corners. However, as you can see in the example above, this does leave a small gap in between. To avoid these gaps and for a more fully embellished look, there are two further options you could take. Firstly, you could place smaller rhinestones into these gaps, we call this technique ‘gap-filling’. The smaller sizes such as SS5 (1.8mm) are perfect for this:

Or secondly, you would need to ensure that the background colour matches as closely as possible to the colour of the rhinestone. This may involve painting or colouring in the object before starting your project, or using a material of matching colour:

This is a technique commonly used in footwear and handbag design, seen here by Jimmy Choo:

Design 2. The Honeycomb Effect

The neatest and simplest way to avoid gaps in between crystals is to use the ‘honeycomb’ method. This means placing the crystals in the space between the two above it. So, they still appear to be in rows, but not lined up directly beneath one another. This technique is great for a project that needs to be completed quickly as you then don’t need to do a round of gap filling. However, the edges aren’t as neat and crisp so they would need tidying up with smaller rhinestones. Decorating mobile phone cases in this way is becoming very popular, see how the talented Zoe at Crystal Skins uses the ‘honeycomb’ method to great effect:

Design 3. Scattered

This scattered approach is more casual and random, and involves placing the crystals in a more sporadic or spread out design. This method is great for adding subtle sparkle, especially if you’re on a budget or don’t have many rhinestones to work with. Spreading out the crystals still allows you to get coverage on a large area so is popular with costume designers and dressmakers. Sometimes though, just a hint of bling can be very sophisticated. Jimmy Choo’s handbags are often sporting scattered crystals or pearls:

Design 4. The Rockery Effect

When we talk about using the ‘Rockery Effect’ it basically means using crystals of mixed sizes to create a 3D, more textured pattern. A lot of nail technicians use this technique to create statement nails within their set. This method is also frequently used by fashion designers on shoes and handbags. Jimmy Choo is well known for highly embellished accessories full of rhinestone sparkle! This way of laying out the crystals is great if you have the luxury of working with various sizes, and it is so different to what most other people are doing in their designs. You can really add your own sense of style and make the design bespoke.

Design 5. Rainfall

Rainfall effect is when the design starts off dense and full of rhinestones crammed in together, then decreases gradually as if rain drops are falling, to end with the crystals spaced out. This pattern can start from the top going downwards, or like in the above example, going from one side to the other. This technique is a fun one to use on interior design projects or fashion pieces. We see it a lot in embellished cushion covers or lampshades. Here is an example of how Jimmy Choo has used this effect in this design:

Rhinestone application

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