Swarovski is recognized as the world's best rhinestones. Swarovski uses a 14 facet cut stone, where as other brands still have the eight cut style. A higher lead content gives a wonderful clarity to the rhinestones. Swarovski crystal was first created when Daniel Swarovski invented an automatic cutting machine in 1892. In 1895 the Swarovski company was founded when he established a crystal cutting factory in Wattens. The Swarovski Crystal range includes every thing from home decor, jewelry, clothing accessories and artwork. Swarovski encourages artists and consumers to create their own designs, having a design contest every year.
In order to create a crystal that allows light to refract in a rainbow spectrum, Swarovski coats some of its crystals with special metallic chemical coatings. Aurora Borealis, or "AB", is one of the most popular coatings, and gives the surface a rainbow oil slick appearance. Other coatings include Crystal Transmission, Volcano, Aurum, and Dorado. Coatings may be applied to only part of an object; others are coated twice, and thus are designated AB 2X, Dorado 2X etc. A recent development was the 2004 release of Xilion, a new copyrighted cut designed to optimize the brilliance of Roses (crystal components with flat backs) and Chatons (diamond cut).
There are two different types of Swarovski flatback crystals.
Hot Fix and Silver Foil Back
Swarovski Hot Fix crystals come from the factory with a heat activated glue already attached to the back of each crystal. The glue melts at about 340 to 375 degrees.
This type of crystal is used only for fabrics and are applied using a heat applicator tool like a household iron, heat press or a specialized tool like a The Professional Touch. The Professional Touch will pick up round rhinestones, heat them until the glue begins to melt so that you can attach them to your fabric. Its quick, its clean and its easy!!!
Silver Foil Back crystals do not come from the factory with the glue already attached to them.
When applying this type of crystal you first place glue to the object, then apply the crystal.
Silver Foil Back crystals are used to crystallize hard surface items like cell phones, i-Pods, cameras, and computers.
What Kind Of Crystals To Buy..
If you are crystallizing items like cell phones, i-Pods, computers, flip flops etc. you should purchase the silver foil back crystals and apply them with glue.
If you are crystallizing fabrics with low melting temperatures such as nylon, rayon, or plastic
you should also use the Silver Foil Back crystals with glue.
If you are crystallizing fabrics with a high melting temperature such as cotton jeans or shirts, the Hot Fix crystals are the better choice.
Swarovski Flat Back Regular FAQ
How do I use a SETTING?
Tiffany settings enter from the back of the fabric and crimp over the stone on the front side. They come in gold, silver or black and in several styles and sizes.Rim settings are placed on the front of the fabric, over the stone, and crimped on the back side of the fabric. They are available in gold, silver or black with engraved or smooth finishes
What kind of glue should I use?
I strongly suggest a good fabric glue, like E6000. Never use Super Glue, Krazy Glue or Hot Glue to set Rhinestones, it will change the color of the foil backing and make the crystal darker. They will just flick off. E6000 is clear when it comes out of the tube. It stays a shiny clear when it dries.
How should I apply the glue?
Practice on scrap fabric until you can consistently judge the size of glue spots required. When I use the word FABRIC...it will apply to anything you are making...cell phones, IPods, eyeglasses etc..! Place glue spots onto fabric in whatever patterns you want. The glue spots must be smaller than the rhinestone you are using, the glue should just come around the rhinestone edge. You want to glue the rhinestone glass edge to the fabric, not just the back of the rhinestone. The bond of the foil backing to the glass of the rhinestone is not enough to hold the stone to the fabric. You can help accomplish this by pushing the crystal a little bit with your fingernail or finger. **Prints are OK because you are going to use your polishing cloth later to shine it and make it smudge free!
How much glue for each stone?
You will use smaller spots of glue with smaller stones, larger with larger. Practice with each size stone you use. Do not apply any more spots of glue than you can set stones into within 60 seconds. If it is a dry day, do fewer at one time. You do not want the glue to skim dry on the surface BEFORE the stone is set. I usually do about 1 inch at a time.
How do I place the stones?
Use your cupped tweezers to make your life much easier. Apply the glue spots to the fabric, lightly grab the stone and drop it right above your glue. Use your fingernail or the tip of the tweezers to lightly push the stone down into the glue. The rhinestone will stay in the glue and you can move on to the next stone very quickly. Allow rhinestone glue to begin to clear before moving to another part of the fabric and handle lightly, being careful not to undo stones that are drying. I use the beading (knotting is what they are technically called) tweezers to pick off the excess "gobs" of glue. I place a paper towel or an old bath hand towel on my knee while I am beading...It is a quick and easy way to wipe the extra glue off your tweezers.
How to avoid a glue mess?
IF you drip glue on fabric, use damp, clean cloth to remove. Wipe and repeat a few times. Acetone will also take the glue right up...DO NOT let it get by the other stones. Do Not Remove Glue From Satin With A Damp Cloth. You Will Water Spot The Satin. The best way to avoid spots, etc., when gluing is to be careful. I use a syringe and tip for the glue. You can purchase the syringes for about a quarter each at your local pharmacy. Sometimes they will come with the needle, please make sure that you dispose of the needle properly. Keep your tip CLEAN !! If you don't...the glue will dry in it and you can not get it out! I went through about 10 of them before I figured it out...it is easier just to keep them clean! I use a safety pin to clean it after every use.
How long until it is safe to use?
Usually, 24 to 48 hours is a good drying time before wearing your garment OR using your phone.
How should I wash a garment with glued crystals?
Wait one week to hand wash. Wash in cold to warm water. Do Not Dry Clean Clothes With Glued Stones. The glue will discolor (yellow) and eventually become brittle. If you loose a stone, reapply glue to same spot and replace stone as above.
What do I need to set up my "beading station"?
The essential thing is to have good lighting. Other than that, it all depends on your preferences, but here is what I do: I bead at my living room coffee table...I use a little table lamp to help with the lighting. It easier to have good lighting and see what you are doing! I pour the beads on the mat, farthest away from me...then using the long end of your cupped tweezers...pull about 5-10 crystals toward you at a time, in a row...the mat will flip them all over...now you do not have to turn them over one by one!
Why do the crystals keep coming off my leather pouch?
When using leather...You will need to sand it down! Leather has a lot of oils in it and the surface is too smooth, there is nothing for the glue to adhere to. You need to make "teeth" or "grooves" so that the glue and the crystal will stay on. If you just put them on leather...they WILL flick off!
My finished piece doesn't look perfect.
What did I do wrong? Remember that you are creating a unique, one of a kind item, so ... there is no perfection. Just have fun!!
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