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I am in love...with Rhinestone transfers! How to get custom rhinestone transfers made

 
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I am in love...with Rhinestone transfers! How to get custom rhinestone transfers made
Published by Moo Spot Prints
August 12th, 2007
Default I am in love...with Rhinestone transfers! How to get custom rhinestone transfers made

We broke new ground on Friday over here and I thought I'd share our experiences. Yes, we tried out custom rhinestone transfers and you know what? I FREAKIN' LOVE THEM! There, I said it.

I was skeptical of going this route because for a few reasons -
  1. Our target demographic isn't really known for sporting the bling.
  2. I was afraid it would cost a fortune.
  3. I didn't think people would pay a premium for rhinestones.
  4. I had no idea how to adapt our graphics to this new medium.

My girlfriend 'educated' me on a few things.
  • Half our target demographic is female and they LOOOOOVE the sparkly stuff.
  • They are used to paying through the nose for this stuff.
  • The girls love the sparkly stuff.
  • The girls love the sparkly stuff.
  • The girls love the sparkly stuff.
    ...

Thus properly indoctrinated, I found that I only had 2 barriers (as opposed to 4 previously). I was prodded a little more and I finally broke down and started to look into possibly testing out a rhinestone transfer.

I did my due diligence on google and here and found that the ONLY way I would even consider doing this is if I could buy ready-to-press transfers. The idea of manually placing the stones on a shirt or piece of tape made me want to stab out my eyeballs with a wooden spoon. A little more digging and I found one place that might offer what I needed. Turns out, The Rhinestone Guy offers custom transfers and is right down the road from me in Santa Ana, California. After doing a little math I found that the per transfer prices were not outrageously expensive.

The price varies depending on the type, size and quantity of stones so you could make the designs as simple or complex as you could afford.

Not bad. But how to get some artwork in a rhinestone ready format? Their website gives some ideas but there's a whole lot of manual work to do. One suggestion was to use a sharpie to place dots where you wanted the stones to be.

Excuse me? Sharpie? I don't think so. If I'm going to shell out money for 50 transfers (the minimum), I'd better have a better way of visualizing the design!

I ended up trying the sharpie-dots approach and got pretty much what I expected (a lot of work and a lot of dots in the wrong places). I tried the GemMaster software I found through google but after 30 minutes I wanted to throw it and the computer out the window. What a POS!

Things weren't looking good until I remembered about a thread I saw on this very forum. One I even participated in. Something about an Illustrator vs Corel p*****g match... I thought "hey, I'm an illustrator advocate, why not figure out how to use it?" Well, I did and here's how I did it:

1. Take a design that's relatively simple. By that I mean not a lot of detail. Remember, you're trying to represent the image as a series of 2-3mm dots. Luckily for me, I have a perfect design. I make shirts for some of the local Hash House Harrier (yup, the drinking club with a running problem) groups. One of their most recognizable images is a foot with the words on-on in it. I just happen to have a nice vector of it on my server. It looks like this:



2. Make a template with all the sizes you think you'll be using. Make pattern brushes out of each dot. The spacing isn't super important. You will tweak it later on when you're trying to get the placement. Note that some of the dots are distorted. This is because illustrator is trying to bend it so that it 'fits'. I have yet to find a way to make it not do this to my satisfaction. If you figure it, let me know! In this image I have my dots on the top and a path with inner and outer edges as well as a line (to see the start and end pattern).

You can color these to match the stone colors. In the sample image I took a jpg off the net and trimmed it to the SS10 size to see what it would look like. Not bad... Anyone want to create a set of brushes in all the sizes and colors for me to use?



3. Take your image and apply brushes to the paths until you get something that looks pretty good. It's not science.



4. Tweak the spacing for the brush and the paths so that the dots aren't too close or too far from each other. You're looking good separation between dots on different paths.



5. Print out the image and see if you've got the dimensions right. Do this until you're confident about the sizing! Use different sized people and shirts so you don't end up with weird looking extremes.



6. Call up the rhinestone guy and place an order. For this transfer we used clear SS10 xfer guy 2cut stones (the most inexpensive) for the shape and SS10 clear AB xfer guy 2cut for the lettering. A few days later you'll get your transfers. Turnaround time was amazing -- 2 days! We lucked out and got in between jobs.

The transfers come on a sticky mylar carrier with a plastic backing. Very similar to t-shirt vinyl.



6. Press the transfer just as you would a plastisol transfer. I pressed at 295 degrees for 26 seconds using med pressure Probably a 6 for those of you with pressure indicators. It doesn't take much!

This particular transfer was destined for a black bella tank (we have since pressed onto black Gildan shirts and 100% poly performance fabrics with perfect results).

Peel warm.

I used a teflon sheet only because my press if not working right. The shocks are shot and the auto release is VIOLENTLY releasing the lid taking the transfer and shirt along with it about half the time.







7. Give it to a girl with a boring shirt and make her SMILE!






Oh, one important thing I learned (and if you're sharp you saw that in the last photo). Stretch the shirt when you're pressing. If it's a tight fitting garment like this bella, the artwork WILL stretch and appear distorted.

After this first pressing I started using my fabric stretchers (cardboard squares) on all shirts that were to be rhinestoned. The design looks correct when worn.

...Scratch that.

The design looks fabulous when worn!

The cardboard squares are 4-5 inches wider than the shirt size. I'm looking for a better material if anybody's got any ideas!


8. Prepare to be the most popular dude on the block. Seriously!


Big thumbs up to the rhinestone guy. The website isn't the easiest to navigate but it has all the necessary information. The designs were done quickly and pretty reasonably. Per per transfer was just over $4. They pressed perfectly on the first try and look awesome!

Hope that helps some of you. It's late and I'm sure I forgot something. Ask if I wasn't clear.

Enjoy!
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Old August 13th, 2007 Aug 13, 2007 4:33:06 AM -   #1 (permalink)
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Default Re: I am in love... with Rhinestone transfers!

Great post Jose... I added this thread to the heat transfer faq post.



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Old August 13th, 2007 Aug 13, 2007 5:11:50 AM -   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: I am in love... with Rhinestone transfers!


nice shirt thanks for the info...


i will try..
 
Old August 13th, 2007 Aug 13, 2007 6:12:31 AM -   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: I am in love... with Rhinestone transfers!

Excellent post!
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Old August 13th, 2007 Aug 13, 2007 6:19:47 AM -   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: I am in love... with Rhinestone transfers!

It works if you want to know how to place stones on a shirt. I'm happy for you. I too like putting stones on tees. Good post.
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Old August 13th, 2007 Aug 13, 2007 6:54:44 AM -   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: I am in love... with Rhinestone transfers!

Thanks a bunch
 
Old August 13th, 2007 Aug 13, 2007 7:05:24 AM -   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: I am in love... with Rhinestone transfers!

Wow, great post Jose. I also need to add some bling blings on some of my ladies shirts. For now, I'll just be using the Star metallic flex/vinyl transfers from Forever.
 
Old August 13th, 2007 Aug 13, 2007 8:55:13 AM -   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: I am in love... with Rhinestone transfers!

Glad you guys liked it. It was late last night and I forgot to mention that the designs still need to be put into a cad system/format that the placement machine can understand. This is currently done by hand! By submitting my artwork like I did I saved a bunch of money in setup fees. As soon as I find some time I'm going to head down and figure out exactly what that format is so I can get that number down as close to zero as possible.

Our initial test batch sold out very, very quickly. You should have seen how quickly those necks turned when the sparkles caught their eyes! I really think I would have had much more fun in my youth if I had gone through it covered in rhinestones.
 
Old August 13th, 2007 Aug 13, 2007 8:59:55 AM -   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: I am in love... with Rhinestone transfers!

Quick question...

Can Plastisol transfers and Rhinestone transfers be combined?

1 sheet? or 2 different sheets?

Can you re-heat press the same garment with different plastisol and rhinestone designs?
 
Old August 13th, 2007 Aug 13, 2007 9:13:01 AM -   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: I am in love... with Rhinestone transfers!

Quote:
Originally Posted by paulo
Quick question...

Can Plastisol transfers and Rhinestone transfers be combined?

1 sheet? or 2 different sheets?

Can you re-heat press the same garment with different plastisol and rhinestone designs?
I've seen shirts with both types of decoration on them but I haven't seen a transfer made with both. I have no idea who could do that. You would need a sticky backing on the plastisol sheet to keep the rhinestones on it. You're probably better off doing it in 2 steps.

As long as you use a teflon sheet to keep it from sticking, you can reheat plastisol. You probably want to do the plastisol first and leave gaps in the ink for the rhinestones. Not sure how well they would stick to the ink -- you'd have to test if you don't want to leave gaps.
 
Old August 13th, 2007 Aug 13, 2007 10:36:01 AM -   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: I am in love... with Rhinestone transfers!

Thanks for the info.

I'm going to have to play around with AI and try that out.

My Phoenix Phire 16x20 is on its way, and I cant wait to start playing around with the Plastisol and Rhinestone transfers.
 
Old August 13th, 2007 Aug 13, 2007 5:09:13 PM -   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: I am in love... with Rhinestone transfers!

I haven't tried plastisol tranfers, but I've made a couple of shirts recently for a trade show display combining rhinestone motiffs with sublimated designs - looks stunning!
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Old August 13th, 2007 Aug 13, 2007 5:39:56 PM -   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: I am in love... with Rhinestone transfers!

great stuff.. thanks.
 
Old August 13th, 2007 Aug 13, 2007 8:16:49 PM -   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: I am in love... with Rhinestone transfers!

Thanks for taking the time to write this up, Jose. Great photos as well.

I saw this shirt in person at the tradeshow and I can tell you that it looked very cool and blingy in real life!

Feel like explaining how you made a brush? I guess I could google it since I'm using Corel
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Old August 13th, 2007 Aug 13, 2007 9:07:41 PM -   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: I am in love...with Rhinestone transfers! How to get custom rhinestone transfers made

Those look great Jose, and I can tell you from a girls point of view we love sparkely stuff. very good post, and great instructions.

Bobbie
 






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