Yesterday I posted about how I figured out how to make my own template and lay down Rhinestones to make my own pattern. Today, I'm going to share some tips for doing this, should you decide to try it on your own.
I should also tell you, not only is it much easier to order pre-set rhinestones on-line but you can do this relatively inexpensively. There are sites that sell really great rhinestone transfers for less than $3.00 a piece. I really like Dakota Collectibles. There are several options for companies that make high-quality transfers so if you don't want to make your own, this is a great option. You can even special order rhinestone transfers so you can put your logo or company name on your t-shirt without all of the work that went into my company shirt!
You can also buy templates that are already made. These are re-usable and often much quicker than what I was showing you yesterday. Many companies offer templates where you simply spread the rhinestones over the template and the rhinestones collect in pre-cut divots and all you have to do is make sure they are facing the right way. Again, much simpler than how I did it. You can check out templates on sites such as Dazzling Designs and Apparel. I've never used their templates but they look interesting. Just make sure you know what you are getting when you order. Some templates are just a paper drawing and you will still have to hand place all of the rhinestones with tweezers the way that I did.
There are also a lot of places where you can order loose rhinestones. You can get them at specialty craft and hobby stores, like Michael's but they are probably going to be more expensive if you get them at a store instead of ordering on-line. I order 10 gross of loose rhinestones from Blingin' It Wholesale for about $11.00, plus shipping.
Okay, so this is what I learned from my first attempt at applying bling to a template!
1. The bigger the better! It's much easier to manipulate the rhinestones and use the tweezers if you have a pattern where the rhinestones are spread apart. When you get into designs where they are touching, it's harder. If you think it looks better for them to be closer together then by all means, take the time to do it, but if you can spread them out and your design still looks great, then go for it!
2. Start off simple. I started off with some pretty intricate letter stencils. It made it a lot harder than if I would have just chosen some straight lettering or a simple picture. It turned out just as awesome as I had envisioned it would but, like many things in life, starting out simple and building to the more complicated is probably a better idea.
3. You will get better with the tweezers the more you use them. At first, I felt like I was trying to use chopsticks for the first time. After about an hour, I noticed I was really getting the hang of it and could move pretty quickly. (It took about an hour and a half to do the shirt I showed you yesterday. I also did a few other small projects after that.) So, don't give up. Keep working at it and eventually you will find your rhythm.
4. Dumping the rhinestones out helps. So does shaking the plate. I never tried to turn a rhinestone over with the tweezers. I just shook the plate until they were facing the right direction. The rhinestones are weighted so they naturally tip over. If they are face up then it's pretty simple to get them to flip and it's much easier to do it by shaking the plate or pouring out more rhinestones than it is to try to turn them with the tweezers.
5. Tape is sticky! I taped the template to the table and then taped the tape (the transfer tape I was placing the rhinestones on) sticky side up so that I could put the stones directly onto the transfer tape. Be careful when you are doing this not to touch the tape because it's hard to get un-stuck from the tape. A couple of times I flipped the whole design when I was trying to move one rhinestone.
6. Watch the edges! You want to cut the tape so that you leave plenty of clearance around the outside edges of the design. One of my templates was very close to the edge and not only did it make it difficult to manipulate the rhinestones and the template that way, it made it more difficult to apply the transfer to the t-shirt.
7.Be proud of yourself! I know I was a lot prouder of myself than anyone else was when I finished my "Glitter and Tulle Boutique" shirt. But that's okay! Only you know how difficult the task was to finish. And it's not simple, it's tedious work! So, if you show someone the finished project and they say, "Oh, that's nice," continue to be proud of yourself and try not to throw anything at that person. (This is difficult! You will want to throw something at him or her!)
*Bonus* Though this post is not about applying rhinestone transfers, (there's a lot of info on the web about that, especially on YouTube) I do want to tell you something I have learned while I'm applying the rhinestones that I haven't seen on any tutorial. If the shirt happens to stick together (back and front stuck, stuck, stuck!) you can easily pull it back apart as long as the glue is still hot. So, if you don't put something non-sticky between the front and back of the shirt (or whatever you are applying the transfer to) like a sheet of Teflon, just pull it back apart as soon as you pick the shirt up. It'll be fine! If you wait until it cools, that makes it a little harder but I've never messed a transfer up by pulling the shirt apart.
What questions do you have? Let me know! You can always email me here: Glitter and Tulle Boutique