How to Create Rhinestone Iron-On Transfers

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Things You'll Need

  • Mylar hotfix transfer paper
  • Masking tape
  • Hotfix rhinestones
  • Tweezers or rhinestone positioning tool

Iron-on rhinestone designs give your clothes custom glitz and bling. Many iron-on rhinestone designs are available at craft stores and online, but to make something truly unique and custom you may want to design your own. With hotfix rhinestones and mylar transfer hotfix paper, you can easily make custom rhinestone iron-on transers to impress your friends.

Creating the Iron-On Transfer

Create a simple design in an image editing program on your computer, or type a word or short phrase using a simple font in a word processing program. This design is the image you will create with the rhinestones. If you do not have access to a computer, you may draw your design on paper.

Choose the option in your printer settings for "reverse" or "mirror," and print your design. Make sure that the design prints backwards, especially if your design uses words or has other details that need to face a certain way. If your design was hand-drawn, make a copy so it appears backwards.

Tape your design to a flat work surface.

Cut a piece of mylar hotfix transfer paper larger than the design. Remove the white paper backing and set it aside. Place the clear transfer paper--sticky side up--on to the design. Tape the corners of the transfer paper down so it won't move.

Place the rhinestones face down along the lines of the design using tweezers. The backs of the rhinestones should be facing up. Keep the rhinestones about 1/16 in. apart from each other.

Remove the tape from the corners of the transfer paper. Take the white paper backing you set aside earlier, and place the shiny side back down on to the sticky transfer paper.

Turn your rhinestone transfer over. If any of the rhinestones are placed incorrectly, carefully use your fingernail to push them into the correct place.

Applying the Iron-On Transfer

Set your iron to the "Cotton" setting, and make sure the "Steam" setting is off.

Place the t-shirt or cotton item you wish to affix the rhinestones to on to a hard, flat surface.

Peel off the white backing off of the transfer, and put the sticky side of the transfer down on to the the shirt.

Place a piece of cotton fabric, such as an old t-shirt, over the iron before you begin the transfer.

Press the iron down on to a section of the transfer with firm pressure, but do not move it back and forth. Hold it in one place for 25 to 45 seconds. (Consult the rhinestone manufacturer's instructions first. Trial and error will also help you determine the correct time.)

Lift the iron straight up. Repeat Step 5 on another section of the transfer and continue until the entire transfer has been covered. You may need to go over sections again to make sure the rhinestones affix.

Remove the cotton cloth. Let the plastic transfer sheet cool for 10 to 15 seconds. You want it cool enough not to burn your fingers but not so cool that it will stick to the shirt. Carefully peel the plastic up. If some of the rhinestones start to loosen, the transfer needs more heat, and you'll want to repeat these steps again. Otherwise, keep peeling the plastic off to reveal your completed project.