Crystals in heat press?

I need to attach some heat set crystals to some cotton fabric. I did it a few years ago using the heat press, but I forgot how I did it. My concern is that I have a few that I want in a very specific position and I’m concerned that they’ll shift when I close the press.

Should I somehow “tack” them into place, and if so, using what?

Also - should I put the crystals and piece into the press right-side-up, or down? Do I need a squishy pad of some kind?

I think I’ve found most of the answers. The attached document from Swarovski is a really good resource.

The remaining question is how to tack items into place to prevent them from shifting in the heat press.

Hotfix_EN_optimized.pdf (3.8 MB)

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The times that I’ve done hot-fix rhinestones the design is attached to a heat-resistant sticky backing to pick up the stones an put them in place on the garment. They really don’t shift when the heat press is closed down. I put garment down, stones on top, and then a teflon sheet over that.

Thanks, but these aren’t a pattern sheet. They’re loose hotfix stones.


How many are you looking to attach, and are they all the same size, or do they vary?

About 50. They vary in size from about 3.5 to about 6mm.

EDIT: I have the fancy schmantzy heat pen that they sell for this purpose but I’d prefer to use the heat press because I suspect that’s more reliable.

So maybe use the f/s pen to get them stuck in place generally, and then use the heat press to make sure they’re really stuck.


Then my suggestion would be to use the heat pen for the critical placements, and then do the less critical ones using the heat press.

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The proper way to do this is to use rhinestone flock to make your transfers. Lay out your pattern as a vector (I like to use lines with a dotted stroke, but YMMV) then cut it on a vinyl cutter and weed out the holes, then put it on a carrier sheet and put your rhinestones in face down. Then you can just put it on the substrate and press.

As far as the flock goes, most HTV suppliers carry a version of it. I’ve used the one from Specialty Materials before and it worked well enough.

And here’s a video on how to apply them:

HMU if you have any issues - it’s been a few years, but I did many thousands of rhinestone transfers back when they were hot.

Also, if you really don’t want to go this route, you can mark your design with a sharpie on the back of a carrier sheet, then flip it over and put down the rhinestones by hand. That’s a PITA and takes forever, but if you’re only doing one it may be quicker than laying out the vector and cutting a proper template.

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Wow! This is great information. I had no idea any of this type of stuff existed. Definitely a great resource. Thank you.

EDIT: The vector path will be simple … I already have a vector design of what I’m doing. Your suggestion also gives me another idea. Since this is a one-off, and not a very complex item, I can probably just laser cut positioning holes in a piece of wool felt and use that as a placement aid - leaving it in the heat press while I attach the crystals.


Yeah, wool felt would be functionally identical to the rhinestone flock - just make sure it isn’t so thick that you get multiple stones in each hole. I wouldn’t recommend leaving the felt in the heat press when you apply the stones, though - you really need good pressure and a fair bit of heat to activate the adhesive. Once the stones are on the carrier sheet (you can just peel some regular HTV with a pressure-sensitive carrier and use that - Easyweed works great in a pinch) they’ll stay in place well enough for you to get them positioned on the substrate. If it’s a really tricky thing, I have a press with bottom heat at work you’re welcome to come by and use.