How to Make a Rhinestone Heat Transfer

Things You'll Need

  • Heat-fix rhinestones (Swarovski or Czech)
  • Tweezers
  • Tacky tape or heat transfer paper
  • Graphics program, MS Word or pencil and paper

Sparkly, colorful and endless possibilities make rhinestones every girl's best friend. Rhinestones can be your savior when the relationship between you and your favorite article of clothing needs a spark. With the skill that it takes to play "connect-the-dots," or maybe a little more than that, you can create your own custom rhinestone design. Heat-set rhinestones are what provides the simplicity. The world is now your canvas, so make sparkle.

Begin with your design. Pictures with defined outlines and words or phrases work best. The size of the object that the transfer will be placed on will influence the size of your design. A T-shirt or tank top has a maximum width of about 9 inches. Letters that are 1 inch or higher work best, and don't go smaller that 3/4 inch.

Use your computer to create your words or picture, or do it by hand. This example uses a computer. Choose a simple font for your words or a picture with a defined outline and simple details. Make sure that your font is large enough. You may have to use a graphics program because MS Word has a maximum font size of 72.

Print out your design, if using Word, on cheap, thin paper, or use your graphics program to create a mirror image of your design and then print it out on regular paper.

Arrange your design so that it is reversed. If you printed your image normally, turn the paper over and tape it onto a glass table.

Place your rhinestones in a container so that they are easier to reach.

Cut a piece of transfer paper about 1 inch bigger all the way around than your design. Do not remove the backing paper before cutting.

Tape your paper design onto your work surface. If your design is taped to a glass table, place a light under the table. This allows you to see the reversed image.

Remove the backing from your transfer paper and set it aside.

Place the transfer paper over your design and barely tape down the corners. Make sure that the paper is sticky side up.

Use your tweezers to place your rhinestones face down onto the transfer.

Remove, carefully, the tape holding the corners of the transfer paper when you are finished. Place the backing back onto the transfer paper. Try not to shift any of your stones.

Turn the transfer over and make sure that everything is how you want it. If it is not, take the back off and fix it. Your transfer is now ready to be applied to fabric.

Apply your transfer by peeling the backing off and placing the transfer exactly where you want it.

Use a nonsteam iron set on "Wool." You may have to place a piece of scrap fabric inside of the T-shirt or tank top that you are working on to keep the glue from melting through and staining the other side.

Bring the iron straight down and press it for as hard as you can for about 25 seconds. Do not move or wiggle the iron because you can move the stones.

Remove the iron by lifting it straight up, and allow the transfer to cool. After about 10 seconds, the transfer should be warm but not hot.

Remove the transfer paper by peeling it away. Do this slowly because some stones may come with it. If this happens, replace the transfer and reheat it with the iron.

Allow your stones to cool completely, and your new design is ready to go.


  • Use caution when using the iron.