Rhinestones are imitations of gemstones, which are most often made of lead glass with high refractive index of light. This glass is a lead crystal and has characteristics similar to those of cut diamonds - strong luster, high refraction index, and beautiful color in stones.
What are the different types of rhinestones?
When the lead oxide is added to glass, a crystal is produced. The lead enhances the sparkle of the crystal and helps to reflect the colors better than pure glass.
Glass rhinestones include a lower ratio of lead oxide. The glass itself is transparent. A layer of metal coating is placed onto the backside of the stones so light is able to reflect and make rhinestones shine like a diamond. High-quality glass rhinestones are a great alternative to crystal rhinestones with similar shine and lower cost.
Plastic rhinestones are mass produced, low cost, lead-free, and light. However, they do not have the same shine as glass rhinestones. If you need a large number of rhinestone with a low budget, plastic rhinestones may be the right fit for you. There are two kinds of plastic stones: acrylic and resin.
Acrylic rhinestones are formed by mold injection. The acrylic material is transparent, easy for molding, light and unbreakable. They can easily be mass produced in various shapes, sizes, and colors of rhinestones.
Resin rhinestones are made by dripping the resin into the silicon mold.
How can I understand rhinestone sizes?
You will most often see one of the three following measurements for rhinestones: MM, SS or PP.
MM (Millimeter Size) - common unit of measurement. Many flat-backs, pointed-backs, sewn-on, or other shaped rhinestones are measured in mm. This unit of measurement is usually used to measure larger size rhinestones.
SS (Stone Size) - SS stands for size of a stone. The units are for round rhinestones, mainly in the glass and crystal flat-backs chaton, Rivoli, chaton, and other styles. SS units are smaller than mm and can be used to measure more accurately. Therefore, it is often to measure smaller size rhinestones.
PP (Pearl Plate）- PP units are often used for round rhinestones with very small sizes. It can differentiate down to a tenth of a millimeter (0.1mm). PP units are derived from the measurement method for pearl sizing.
How do I use different types of rhinestones?
Flat Back Hot-Fix Rhinestones
Hot Fix Rhinestones, also called iron on rhinestones, have a heat activated glue already adhered to the back. To apply these stones, the glue must be activated by heat and then applied to appropriate material.
Flat Back Glue-on Rhinestones
Apply the rhinestone on the objects by glue. Compared to the Hot Fix rhinestones, there are more options of the shapes and colors. They are also great to use for rhinestones jewelry.
Sew on Rhinestones
There are two main types of sew on rhinestones. Some have holes on the sides or in the middle of the rhinestones and others are attached to a sew-on metal base. Although sew-on rhinestones can be labor intensive and time consuming, the advantage of sewing method is that these flat rhinestones can strongly attached to fabric and won’t fall off easily. However, it takes lot of time and effort.
What are hot fix rhinestones & appliques, how do I apply them?
Hot Fix products have glue that melts at about 340 - 375 degrees F. If your fabric is easily damaged by heat, this is not the right applying method for you.
Hotfix products can be applied with your household iron, a heat press or specialized tools. Place fabric face up on a flat surface that can withstand heat. Position rhinestone with the adhesive side against the face of the fabric in the area where you wish it to adhere. Heat up your iron to about 350 degrees. Once iron is heated, press and hold iron to the rhinestone with medium pressure for about 17 seconds. After heat is applied, glue should melt and rhinestone should adhere to fabric. Let dry and cool. Depending on your iron or machine It may take a few tries to get this correct, but with practice you’ll be an expert!
What does AB or Special Effects mean?
AB stands for Aurora borealis (which means "northern lights"). Aurora borealis rhinestones have a special iridescent finish that shines with many colors. The iridescent surface is a result of a very thin layer of metallic atoms that have been deposited on the lower surface of the stone. This process was invented in 1955 by the Swarovski.
Where can I get a size chart so that I can see the sizes of PP and SS crystals?
How do I care for my garments with hot fix rhinestones attached?
Turn inside out before washing and select a mild wash cycle and a mild detergent. To ensure that the flat backs will not be damaged during the washing process, cover them with a soft washing bag. Dry at a warm temperature with reduced thermal load. Iron at a warm temperature using the setting wool/silk/polyester/viscose. Use a protective cloth. Please note that the glue is reactivated when ironing. Do not use chlorine bleach.