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I’ve had several Cutting for Business readers ask me about rhinestones, more specifically – are rhinestones a profitable addition to my Silhouette or Cricut business? I’ll be honest with you, I am not much of a “bling” person. However, I know someone who is! Welcome Lisa Potts from The Rhinestone World. I’ll turn it over to her:
One of the most common statements I hear from people is, “I have always wanted to do rhinestones, but I am too intimidated!” In your Silhouette business, rhinestones are an easy item to start using with high profits. Due to the demand of bling shirts with weddings, dance moms, and sport moms; a Silhouette business can quickly increase their profits by simply adding rhinestones to their existing offerings.
What do you need to get started?
If you already own a Silhouette, then the biggest investment is already purchased! With just a few more items, you’ll be ready to start cranking out some awesome bling!
This is the most obvious item needed, of course. Be advised, there is a difference in rhinestone quality. Your products carry your business’ reputation, so make sure you are purchasing the best quality stones for your customers so you can proudly stand behind your work. Apparel rhinestones are called “hot-fix” rhinestones. These have a heat activated glue on the back and are best applied with a heat press. They can be pressed to most fabrics and Bling N-E-Thing decal material. Rhinestones are not recommended to be pressed to 100% nylon, ribbed garments, satin, or denim due to the likelihood of the stones falling off over time. TRW uses and recommends Korean low lead rhinestones for customers and businesses as they are the best quality for an affordable price. While rhinestones can be applied with a home iron, a heat press is the best option because you can regulate the pressure and temperature.
Rhinestone Sizes and Types
Rhinestones come in a variety of sizes, measured in “ss” units. The larger the number, the bigger the stone. SS10 rhinestones are the most common stones with the widest variety of colors.
- SS6: 2mm
- SS10: 3mm
- SS16: 4 mm
- SS20: 5 mm
Rhinestones can come in other sizes, but SS6, SS10, SS16, and SS20 are the most commonly found and easiest to work with. In addition to the basic colors, you can also purchase Korean low lead stones in Arora Borealis or “AB” colors. These stones have an iridescent coat on the stone that reflects light more and creates a more “sparkling” appearance.
Machine cut rhinestones contain more facets than our Korean low lead stones, which results in a higher quality and a brighter shine. These are most commonly used for accent pieces in designs due to their higher cost.
Let’s be honest here, you’re thinking that these rhinestones are going to be hand placed, right? That’s the beauty of template material. Cut out a template with holes, brush the stones in, and you’ve got a rhinestone transfer ready in minutes! A common complaint about template material is that not all the stones go in and you will have to flip over the stones. We recommend Sticky Flock template material. A brush is needed to make your template. A simple paint brush from the hardware store will be perfect for the job. Brush your stones in, and it will be nearly perfect, requiring minimal adjustments. The best part? The template material is reusable! Cut it one time and you can use it over 50 times!
Just like adhesive vinyl, transfer tape is used to move your design onto the item you are putting it on. Acrylic Hot-Fix Tape is needed to move rhinestones and is made to withstand the heat of your application. Like Sticky Flock, Hot-Fix Tape can be reused a few times.
The Cost and Profits
The highest up front cost you would have for rhinestones is the Sticky Flock template material, which is normally around 7-8 dollars a foot. The good part is that because the material is reusable, your cost will be made up in just a few shirts. The average material cost in a shirt could range from 5-9 dollars, but can sell for over $30. Customizations, like an added name or number, can easily raise your retail price with an even lower material cost. Cutting an alphabet in advance (called pre-cuts) can allow you to piece together names for any customization, further increasing the profits you can make from your material.
The following images are one example of a shirt cost and what it can retail for:
A special thanks to Lisa (from The Rhinestone World) for stopping in and showing us how profitable (and easy!) rhinestones can be to add to your existing product line up. Be sure to thank her by pinning the image below on Pinterest or sharing with a friend on Facebook (just hover or tap the image below):
Since 2015, Christine Schinagl has been helping crafters start and run craft businesses through her blog, Cutting for Business. As a Silhouette and Cricut crafter herself, she has a unique take on what works and what doesn’t work in the craft business world. She also teaches a course on creating digital SVG designs, available at How to Design SVGs.
Monday 18th of December 2017
Thank you for your information Lisa and Christine! Super helpful! I'm going to give this a try on my Cricut. A couple of questions, as a Cricut user, can I use/buy the Silhouette Designer Edition software and then save the file as a template to upload into design space? Or can I use a Rhinestone font in Design Dpace. Besides the Sticky Flock, rhinestones, brush, and transfer sheet, is there anything else I need if doing it on my Cricut. Thanks in advance! Kim
Thursday 21st of December 2017
In theory, creating a design in Silhouette Studio Business Edition, saving as an SVG, then opening it in Cricut Design Space works. However, with rhinestones, it doesn't work very well because the design gets resized. (You have to use Business Edition, not Designer Edition.) I'd stick with using a rhinestone font. I think you are set on supplies! I'd recommend using a cookie sheet with a lip (or something similar) so that if the rhinestones get spilled, you won't have a mess.
Thursday 30th of November 2017
I have the business edition, will it allow me to create my own template?
Friday 1st of December 2017
Yes, you can create your own rhinestone templates in Business Edition.
Tuesday 17th of October 2017
Question about Cricut Explore and Design Space...are there pre-designed fonts that work with Cricut Explore? I have watched some older YouTube videos that suggest using a second piece of software...surely there is something more recent and relevant than Spring 2015 or 2016 in terms of an interface with the Cricut Explore.
Wednesday 18th of October 2017
You can download several rhinestone fonts from online.
Sunday 1st of October 2017
I am new to the silhouette Cameo 3 world, but I would like to get things started. I want to make Rhinestone t-shirts, but am not sure which silhouette machine to purchase. There are a ton of video on YouTube and silhouette website, and lots of advertisements on amazon, but it does not explain which machine to purchase for Rhinestone application. Is it one machine to use for vinyl, rhinestone, etc and you purchase add-ons depending what you are trying to produce? Or is it just a template in the software for each application? Is the same needle used for rhinestones and vinyl and which one comes with the machine? I know about the material I would need to purchase the machine is my biggest issue. I hope you will be able to assist me with this information, or lead me to someone who can. I look forward to hearing from you.
Monday 2nd of October 2017
Hello! All Silhouette machines are capable of cutting rhinestone templates. You'll just need to pick up Silhouette Designer Edition (click here to buy). Then, I'd recommend a Silhouette Cameo 3 available at this link. Hope that helps!
Monday 11th of September 2017
hello, if i want to make my own rhinestone templates and i want to be able to control the sizes will the basic designer edition work (the 50$ one) or do i need to buy the more expensive one. I need to make rhinestone templates that are really small like 1 square inch. can this be done in the basic software update and if i buy the basic can i add the more expensive one at a later time, like upgrade?
Sunday 17th of September 2017
To create your own patterns, you'd want Silhouette Studio Designer Edition. If you want to purchase designs and cut premade templates, you can use any Studio edition. Thanks!