How to Crystallize Your Jeans
What you’ll need:
1) Rhinestones (hotfix or flatbacks)
3) Bent nose tweezers (for picking up and placing crystals with accuracy)
4) Rhinestone glue (highly recommended even if you’re using hotfix. Gem-tac is the best in my opinion.)
5) Hotfix applicator wand (highly recommended even if you’re using flatbacks; I recommend that you use a tip size that is 2-3ss smaller than the crystals that you’ll be using for this technique.)
1) Heat up the applicator wand for 5 minutes (careful, it’ll be hot!)
2) Squeeze some glue onto a piece of scratch paper or cardboard.
1) Pick up a crystal by carefully pinching its sides with the bent nose tweezers.
Pictured is the light rose 16ss crystal
2) While holding the crystals with the tweezers, carefully dab it in the glue just enough so that there’s a thin, even layer of glue on the back side of the crystal.
3) Once dipped in the glue, position the crystal onto the jeans.
4) While still holding the crystal in place with the tweezers, apply the (now hot) applicator wand’s tip vertically onto the crystal and press down, holding for 15 seconds, and then vertically lift the applicator so that the crystal does not become displaced (note: I still recommend doing this with flatbacks/non-heat activated crystals because the heat from the applicator will facilitate the drying/curing of the glue.)
5) Repeat the above steps for each crystal until you’ve finished your piece.
Above: Picture of crystallized 7 for All Mankind Pink Signature Bootcuts using rose crystals (10ss inner row and 8ss outer row)
1) If you find yourself misplacing the crystals, don’t sweat it! Just place the hot applicator wand onto the crystal, hold it for 3-5 seconds so that the glue melts a bit, and then either drag the crystal with the wand to the right place or drag the crystal off the area in a way that debonds it.
2) If you’ve found yourself completely abhorred by your masterpiece, you can debond all of the crystals by using an adhesive remover. The one I use is made for removing glue and chewing gum, which I found at Ralph’s in the detergent aisle. Cost me $3. (CAVEAT: Many of these are alcohol based, so be sure that the solution has completely evaporated from the jeans before applying heat again.)
3) If you’re short on time, instead of holding the applicator wand on the crystal for 15 seconds, hold it just for 5 seconds. Then, once you are completely done crystallizing, take out your hot iron and vertically place it on the entire design for 10-15 seconds. DO NOT leave the iron on the fabric for more than 15 seconds, as it may burn the jeans! Repeat this as necessary until you find all of the crystals securely bound to the jeans.
4) If you’re opting to use only hotfix crystals without the additional gem-tac glue, I suggest that you use crystals that are no bigger than 10ss, as the bigger ones tend to easily fall off (more surface area to “catch” onto other things and in effect dislodge).
Thanks to dissociated for this helpful guide!