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Monday, January 03, 2011

Attaching Swarovski Hot Fix

Last week - I said I would talk more about actually getting the Swarovski Hot Fix Rhinestones onto the fabric.

First, a word about what you are attaching to. The hot fix glue needs some sort of surface that it can penetrate into. If you have a new garment, you need to wash it first to remove the sizing and make it so that the fibers will absorb the glue. You can do a water droplet test. If you flick water droplets onto the fabric and they stand up on the surface, you will need to wash it. If they absorb in, they the fabric is good to go. Some materials are not suitable, such as organza, smooth leather and smooth leather imitations, very tightly woven polyamides and fabrics with a silicon or wax finish that prevents absorption. Like a rain slicker. No sparkly rain slickers. Kind of a shame, really - because you need a little sparkle on a rainy day.

Often, you will get a blend of fabrics - pick a lower temperature based on the more delicate fabric - the one that will take less heat, and go for the longer of the two times.

*Trevira is some sort of artificial fabric - never heard of it here. No idea what a Technical Fabric is - "Technically - it's a fabric!" - and Fake Fur? Seriously? Rhinestones on fake fur? Gilding the lily, much?

Finding something to bling up

Well - the obvious - t-shirts, denim jackets, jeans, vests. My personal current favourite however is scarves. There are a ton of reasonably priced scarves in the stores right now, from Ardene to Walmart, in plain colours (black is always great) that can look uber-fabulous with the addition of some bling. From Drabulous to Fabulous in 20 seconds flat.

This massive, gorgeous scarf is just dying to be sparkled up!

Stuff you'll need.

Teflon sheets. 2 - one for the top, one for the bottom. The bottom one stops any glue that might sneak through the fabric from gluing itself to the next layer. If you don't have teflon sheets handy, (we sell them, or some baking supply places have them, and art clay supply) clean newsprint or butcher paper will do.

A heat proof silicon, felt, cardboard or other pad. It pays to have some squishiness - so the stones can sink down into the fabric under pressure.

Heat source. Household iron - but no steam, or industrial purpose-specific rhinestone transfer press. I can't find my iron - I use the stores' press. You can too - with the purchase of a rhinestone transfer or minimum 2 packages of hot fix stones & silicon transfer film.

So - here's the transfers that I made in the past week.

And here's another - this is a commercial transfer - is it not just to die for? I don't believe it is actually Swarovski stones - I know - sacrilege! But it is the inspiration for me to try making my own transfers!

And here is the scarf - it is a blend of fabrics, as you can see, so I decided, based on the chart above, to go with 250 degrees F and 25 seconds.

Start warming up the press or your iron while you are getting ready. It may be tougher, if you have an old iron, to actually figure out temperatures - some have them marked, some don't. You might have to work backwards from the fabric settings and guess what the temperature is most likely to be. It is also very important to NOT use steam, so you have to be able to either turn the steam off, and or dump the water out. Steam will compromise the bonding power of the glue.

Take the transfer and trim around the edge of the design. The glue from the transfer sheet will make a mark on the fabric which will fade with time and washing, but it is better to have a shape that reflects the design, instead of a big ol' rectangular box around your design.

Don't trim so much that you can't actually keep the transfer in place.

Peel the white backing off,

And flip the transfer - sticky side down, stones facing up, and place it where you want it to be. You can peel it off and move it if needed. If you are placing this on a garment where the positioning is critical, like an arm patch, put the garment on, position the transfer, and then have a friend help hold the transfer in place while you struggle out of the garment.

Position the garment and transfer in the press. The press has a silicon pad underneath, built-in, so in this case, just put a sheet of teflon underneath. If you are hot-fixing to a dimension item like sleeve - put the teflon INSIDE the sleeve, so you don't inadvertently glue the front of the sleeve to the back. (Pockets - very important to put the teflon inside the pocket - so as to not render the pocket useless by virtual of accidentally gluing it shut. Not saying it will happen - just - you know, in case. )

Smooth out the wrinkles - so you don't press wrinkles into the fabric, and pick off the dog and cat hairs, so you don't permanently glue them on as well.

If you are using an iron, the ironing board will probably have enough padding for a little give, or if you decided that ironing boards are too much work to move and gave yours up years ago, a folded blanket or sheet or towel will suffice too.

Cover with another teflon sheet for protection, ...

and swing the top of the press into place, and press the lever down. Start your timer.

For using an iron, place it in position and put some weight on it, lean on it. Do NOT, NOT, NOT "iron" - as in moving the iron around. Pressure, no movement. If the iron doesn't cover the whole transfer, do it in stages. (And - remember - no steam.)

Then, pick up the iron and move it a little to one side, and press and heat again, so that any stones that wound up in the "holes" in the face of the iron get equal time.

Let it cool for a minute or two, to let the glue set, and prevent burning yo' fingars.

Start to peel the transfer up, SLOWLY - checking that the stones have all transferred successfully.

If they have not, and are coming away with the silicon sheet, put the transfer back down in place, and reheat. Then wait longer before peeling.

The successfully transferred transfer.
And minutes later, all of them!

And the magnificent Dragon. This had slightly different timing in the instructions, so I followed the instructions - after it didn't work the first time. :-P

The finished scarf. Warm and sparkly!

(Secret Hot Tip) - You've read this far - you deserve a treat. We will be adjusting prices on the hot-fix, downward!, in the next couple of weeks - so you might want to sit tight on a major hot-fix buying binge - as you will save significant moola if you can wait!

So, what if what you really want to stick the stones to is metal, porcelain, wood, etc.? Then you need to go to the non-hot-fix flatbacks, and attach them with epoxy. The hot-fix glue is not designed for non-porous surfaces, and they won't stay stuck. This is a good thing - it prevents people from ironing their Ipads.

Oh, but you can epoxy hot-fixes to your Ipad - if hot-fixes are the only crystals you have on hand and you need to get the job done.

Happy Hot Fixing!

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