Monday, December 30, 2013

Rhinestoning Dance costumes- How to from the Pro's

How to properly apply crystal rhinestones to a competition costume.

We are quickly approaching the beginning of the 2014 dance competition season!

Some of you may have already chosen your costume or costumes for the upcoming dance year and some of you may have not.  If you have ordered a costume from a catalog what you see may not be what you saw!  Sometimes a costume looks amazing in a picture or online, kudos to the photographer, they've done his/her job well.  However, sometimes you get that costume and it, well, is lacking that wow factor.  For me, I have always added some sort of embellishment to a competition costume.  There are so many options.  Today though I'm just going to talk about crystal rhinestones and how to apply them. 

Dance costumes have to serve two functions- be stunning and be easy to dance in!  One of the ways to get to that wow factor is to add your own Bling.  Not to much and not to little! Remember, there can be quite a good amount of distance between your dancer and the judges. Therefore, what you are looking at up close and personal may indeed be barely seen by a judge. 

If you need a quick fix you can go to your local fabric store and purchase crystal rhinestones. If you plan in advance you can purchase rhinestones online.  This option will save you money and give you more color options.  Crystals come in various sizes.  I would recommend 10ss or larger.  There are many colors to choose from or you can get AB crystals.  AB crystals catch the light and bounce off what ever color is near, thus giving it a multicolor rainbow effect as opposed to a solid color.  When you go to buy the stones you will see or hear the term "gross."  Not as in ugly or a ton!  The term "gross" in the world of stones simply means that there are approximately 144 stones, of the same size, in a package.

The second thing that you need to know is how and what tools you will need to properly apply them. The most common stones are 'Hot Fix' or 'Flat Back.'

Hot fix crystals are the most commonly used.  This type of crystal has a hardened glue on the back of them. The glue melts and bonds itself to the material when you apply it with a Hot Fix Tool.

               According to Swarovski experts, It is recommended to use the flat head tips.                         

While you’re waiting on the tool to heat up, approximately 10 minutes, this is a good time to start placing the stones in the desired position.  Make sure the backing of the stone is on the fabric, with the colored side of the stone up and facing you.
Now that your tool is heated up, simply press the heated tip onto the top of stone for thirty seconds. Be sure to keep the heated head on the stone as the tool may melt some of the more delicate fabrics.

Let the garment cool and rest for 24 hours, if you can, before use.  The garment can be washed or dry cleaned.  If the stones are properly set they should stay in place through normal laundering.


Flat Back crystals look exactly the same as the Hot Fix stones but they have no glue on the back at all.  This type of crystal is applied with regular craft glue.  Gem-Tac or E6000 are the more commonly used glues.

Use a toothpick as the glue applicator, place a small drop of glue on the garment.  Place your stone on this drop of glue, do not put any pressure on it or the glue will run outside the stone and leave a “ring” of glue.
Continue placing small drops of glue across the garment and immediately covering them with the stones until all the crystals are in place.  Be careful not to bump or move the crystal until it is completely dry.

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