Hot Fix Rhinestones are flat back rhinestones that have heat activated glue on the back. Once the glue is heated it will adhere to your garment or item, and you will even be able to wash and dry it. Hot Fix Rhinestones are also called Iron on Rhinestones or Heat Transfer Rhinestones.
Size of Rhinestones
Rhinestone size measurements can be confusing. Rhinestones are typically measured in SS which stands for Stone Size. The sizing is not exact but represents a 'size range.' There are small variances in the stone size between brands, manufacturers, and sometimes colors. The measurements for some on the most common sizes are as follows: 6ss (1.9 to 2.1mm), 8ss (2.3 to 2.5mm), 10ss (2.7 to 2.9mm) 12ss (3.0 to 3.2mm), 16ss (3.8 to 4.0mm), 20ss (4.6 to 4.8mm), 30ss (6.3 to 6.5mm), 34ss (7.1 to 7.3mm).
Colors of Rhinestones
Crystal color rhinestones are clear like a diamond. This is the most popular color of rhinestone. Color rhinestones are typically named after the jewel tone that they most closely resemble. The stones are not a solid color but a transparent color.
The AB designation after the color stands for Aurora Borealis and is a thin coating on the rhinestone that produces a rainbow or iridescent effect to the basic stone color. The most popular AB color is Crystal AB.
Quality/Grades of Rhinestones
Rhinestones come in several quality levels. At the top of the line is Swavorski rhinestones. Swavorski is a brand, and their company has been in the rhinestone making business since the 1800's. They are the standard by which all other rhinestones are judged. They are also some of the most expensive rhinestones available, and they are usually reserved for garments where only the best quality will do such as designer wedding dresses. Since Swavorski rhinestones are a brand, they can only be manufactured by the company Swavorski.
The next class of rhinestones is machine-cut crystals. This is considered the rhinestone of costumers, such as those for ice skating and ballet. Most of these stones are just as good as Swavorski but are slightly less expensive. ThreadArt carry a range of machine cut rhinestones in all sizes and several colors.
The next class of rhinestones are Grade A and AA, typically produced in Czech and Asia. These rhinestones are both cut and molded to produce a high quality stone at an economical price. These are the most commonly used type of rhinestones and can be found on everything from t-shirts to cell phones. The quality is good, and the price is less than machine-cut rhinestones. Our main line of hot fix rhinestones are Grade A.
Acrylic Rhinestones are below crystals and are not leaded glass but plastic. They are made from molds instead of being machine cut and do not have the shine or sparkle of glass rhinestones. They are only used in applications where the quality of the stone is not important, such as table setting decorations. We do not carry this type of rhinestone because it is not suitable for clothing.
The quality of the glue is just as important as the quality of the rhinestone. No matter how pretty the rhinestone, low quality or bad glue may make the rhinestone fall off. Hot fix rhinestones should be able to stay in place even after repeated washing and drying. Green back glue is generally considered the best and will turn translucent when heated. Green back is a type of glue and can be dark green to dark grey in color. There are varying qualities of green back glue so we always recommend testing the quality of glue before applying rhinestones to your finished product.
Leaded/Low Lead Crystal Rhinestones
With the exception of acrylic rhinestones which are plastic, rhinestones are made of crystal which is leaded glass. The lead is embedded in the glass and is necessary to give rhinestones their sparkle. All of our hot fix rhinestones have a low lead content. We also offer low-lead crystal rhinestones that have been tested for lead content. These rhinestones are also available for applications where the lead content of the rhinestone imposes a safety hazard.