Rhinestones beads, thanks to the reflective nature of their crystal composition, are ideal to decorate and personalize belongings, clothes and accessories...they even make it a real pleasure to do so !
There's no particular technique to be learned for glueing strass beads: it's easy and leaves you plenty of scope for your imagination. The possiblities are endless: scrapbooking, patchwork, painting on wood or metal...not to forget personalizing your own clothes.
There being different types of strass beads, the method used to glue them varies. The material on which they are glued also matters.
Heat-fixable rhinestone beads (hot-fix strass)
These beads are pre-pasted on the back with a special glue that melts and therefore sticks on contact with heat. Normally, use an iron (no steam, cotton setting) to provide this heat, but for serious strass fans there's an electric tool with specially-designed nozzles for the job.
Our experience Up to 5mm diameter size, strass beads can be fixed by placing them on the clothing fabric, protecting them with a cloth e.g in cotton, and ironing for a few tens of seconds. In larger sizes, the thickness of the bead prevents the heat getting right to the back so you need to iron from the underside of the fabric: this way the glue melts and sticks very well, even if the fabric happens to be thick denim.
Remember ! Swarovski ® also sell metallic hot-fix beads and clear hot-fix strass, to be used depending on what effect you want and where you want it.
Recommendations from Swarovski ® concerning these beads are that you use an iron at 338F, lightly pressing from the underside of the fabric. Iron for 10 to 15 seconds thin fabrics in cotton, linen, polyester or elastic fabrics (nylon, lycra...) and 20 to 25 seconds for thicker cotton, linen or polyester fabrics. For a garment in leather, a trial run on a small area is needed.
Advice Applying too much heat or for too long a time can make the glue run. For thicker fabrics, press harder on the iron.
Adhesive strass beads
The advantage of adhesive strass beads is that you can use them to decorate surfaces and objects unsuited to being ironed : spectacles, cellphones, plastic sandals metal or wooden boxes - the list of things we might want to personalize with strass beads in this way is potentially endless. However, remember that the use of superglue type products is not recommended as it can chemically alter the strass beads. This explains why there are glues designed for strass beads, which can even resist being put in the washing machine but are rarely suitable for the dryerIf using these machines, turn clothes inside out beforehand. Another precaution, depending on the manufacturer's instructions, wait for one to seven days after gluing before washing.
Strass beads for sewing
[ rhinestone crystal bead]
Although posing no problems as regards washing, these beads can only be fixed to fabric items. Their metallic setting is on the back in the form of cross-shaped tubes through which a thread is passed.
Matched with embroidery or just sewn, either way they look pretty good !