How to make your own rhinestone patterns

Written by kristie lorette
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How to make your own rhinestone patterns
Pattern creation (pattern image by saied shahinkiya from

Rhinestones can add an extra touch of fun to any garment, and making your own rhinestone patterns can give you the opportunity to indulge in some creativity and design the pattern that fits your personality best. Additionally, creating your own rhinestone pattern allows you to reuse or repurpose a garment that you already own, but that might need a little sprucing up. Fortunately, making a rhinestone pattern is a fairly easy process that requires a few supplies and a couple of hours. With a little preparation, you can be putting your personal touch on a garment in no time.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Photo of pattern you want to re-create
  • Photo-editing program (Photoshop or free program, such as GIMP)
  • Computer
  • Hot-fix rhinestones
  • Garment for attaching rhinestones (T-shirt, jeans, etc.)
  • Transfer film
  • Teflon sheets (PTFE)

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  1. 1

    Open the photo-editing program and browse for the digital version of the photo that you want to use. If the photo is not already in digital format, be sure to scan it in first. Also be sure to use the measurement tool in the program so that you can see the size of the pattern you are using.

  2. 2

    Select the Layer tool to create a new layer in the photo-editing program. This layer will allow you to place the dots for the rhinestones over the pattern on the photo that you selected. Select the tool for the brush, and adjust the size of the brush tool to suit the size of the rhinestones that you want to use. The size might be anywhere from two millimetres to seven millimetres, with three and four millimetres being the most standard.

  3. 3

    Begin placing the dots in the pattern. Be sure that each dot is approximately the same distance from the others to avoid any overlap or to avoid excess spaces in the pattern.

  4. 4

    Open the Layer function again and remove the original layer with the photo pattern. This will allow you to see just the rhinestone-dot pattern against a white background and to check for any spaces or areas that you would like to correct. Make the necessary adjustments by adding the original layer back to the image and creating the dots with the brush tool. Once you have verified that the image is to your preference, turn it over (inverting it with the Rotate feature), and print it.

  5. 5

    Trim the transfer film for the pattern, making it anywhere from a half-inch to an inch larger than the pattern that you are using. Peel off the transfer paper backing and set it on top of the pattern. Leave the adhesive side on top.

  6. 6

    Add the rhinestones to the transfer paper, leaving the bottom of the rhinestone on top (with the glue side off the transfer paper). Check to make sure the pattern looks just like you want it.

  7. 7

    Preheat your iron and set the transfer paper, with the rhinestones now attached to it, onto the garment where you want it. Make sure the adhesive side of the transfer paper is placed onto the garment. Set the Teflon paper over the transfer paper pattern, and iron the rhinestones down. The iron will need to be very hot, on a cotton or wool setting. Hold the iron down for anywhere from 10 to 20 seconds.

  8. 8

    Remove the Teflon paper and give the garment a few minutes to cool. Once you feel like it is cool enough, pull the transfer paper off. If the transfer paper pulls off the rhinestones, it is not cool enough yet or might need to be heated with the iron again.

Tips and warnings

  • Other programs that allow you to make rhinestone patterns include CorelDRAW and Crystal Cad. The latter can be an expensive piece of software, but if you are interested in turning your rhinestone passion into a home business, this can be a great option.

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