My daughter loves bling. So, when she discovered that she could add shiny rhinestones to her plain shirts and bags, she was very eager to give it a try.
We used a hot-fix rhinestone applicator and 4 mm diameter rhinestones for this project. Please note, however, that this device gets really hot and can very easily cause burns. Thus, please proceed with caution (especially when working with children). This project also requires a bit of patience, because attaching each rhinestone takes around 10 seconds (when you multiply that by the number of rhinestones in your pattern, it can quickly add up!).
My daughter first drew a design by hand. We then recreated her idea with more precision in Inkscape (a great free and open source vector graphics editor). You can also start with a ready-made template, which you can find online. I also prepared a Muumade_Free_PEACE_Symbol_Rhinestone_Pattern which you can download.
The design shown in the photo above, as well as the free peace symbol template, is approximately 15 cm (6″) high and 15 cm (6″) wide, and the dots for the placement of rhinestones are approximately 5 mm (3/8″) apart from each other.
There are kits and software available to create silhouette templates on fabric, but we simply used a print-out of our design and a straight tailor’s awl to make a pattern with holes for the placement of the rhinestones. This is how we did it:
Now you are ready to start gluing the rhinestones onto your shirt.
As for how to use a hot-fix applicator, it is best to follow the instructions which came with your device. I just want to note that we first tried using a precision tip (with a concave end), but it left a faint ring mark around the stones. In the end, we found that a hot spot tip (with a flat end) gave a much cleaner finish.