Summer is here and it's time to break out the shirts. But as a fashionista, don't you want to shine? How about trying a rhinestone shirt? If you're tired of the same old rhinestone shirts on the market, why not do your own DIY and embellish your shirt in your own style? Not only is it a fun activity, but it's also a great way to show off your creativity. (Well, at least I think so).

Of course, DIY rhinestone shirts not only show your personality, but also bring you a soul healing DIY experience. (Well, if you're not a DIYer, you can skip this part.) Next, let's take a look at what you need to make a rhinestone shirt and how to do it.

Preparing Materials

Choosing the right rhinestones

Rhinestones come in various forms, commonly including crystal, glass or acrylic. Don't know how to choose? Don't worry, I've put together a selection strategy for you. If you're on a budget and looking for top quality, then Swarovski or other equivalent quality crystal rhinestones are definitely the way to go - they're durable and extremely transparent, and are popular with fashionistas who love to sparkle. If you're on a budget (well, my wallet never seems to bulge), affordable acrylic rhinestones can also make your shirt sparkle, and these are more suitable for informal or casual occasions.

Choose the right adhesive or sewing needle and thread

For those who don't want to sew, you can prepare glue or heat transfer:
- Glue: You can choose fabric glue or permanent adhesive (such as E6000). However, be aware that these styles of glue are best suited for clothes that are not washed very often.
- Heat transfers: Rhinestones with heat-activated adhesive backing are suitable for most fabrics and will adhere securely to the shirt and not come off easily.
- Sewing Needle and Thread: If you're handy and careful, sewing is a good option for holding rhinestones more securely. You will need clear nylon thread or thread that matches the color of the shirt, and a special rhinestone sewing needle.

Application tools

You'll also need to have a few supporting tools on hand to make sure you have all the essentials on hand in case you need them and can't find them (I'm not going to make that cheap mistake):

- Marking pen: for marking the rhinestone locations on the shirt.
- Sewing clips or pins: to help hold the rhinestones in place and prevent shifting.
- Tweezers: for precise rhinestone placement.
- Rhinestone picker or stick: for picking up and placing small rhinestones.
- Transfer film (for heat): if using heat transfer method.
- Iron (if using heat set rhinestones).
- Stencil design (optional): to help plan intricate patterns.

Choosing the right shirt

It looks like you have your tools and materials ready, next, wash and dry your shirt thoroughly. Make sure to remove any lubricants or finishes that might interfere with the adhesion of the adhesives. Don't forget to iron, and try to make the shirt as flat and smooth as a suit to create the ideal conditions for the rhinestones to adhere accurately.

Designing your rhinestone layout

Before you officially set your rhinestones, I'm sure you already have a detailed plan, and it's great if you've already sketched out your design. It's okay if you haven't, so go ahead and sketch it out now. If you're not sure how to arrange the placement and choose the size, use a template to help plan your design and make sure everything is balanced and polished.

Transferring the design to the shirt

Next, use your pre-prepared markers to gently mark the location of each rhinestone on the shirt. It looks like everything is ready, so let's move on to the final step.

Setting the rhinestones

As I said before, if you don't want to sew for that long use the glue application method or the heat transfer method.

Direct gluing method

Apply a small dot of glue in the intended location.
Using tweezers, place each rhinestone on the glue dot. Press gently and firmly.
Let the glue dry according to the manufacturer's instructions. Perfect, you just need to follow this to get all the rhinestones glued, the process requires some patience and concentration.

Heat Transfer Method

The heat transfer method is more convenient than the gluing method, you just need to arrange the designed rhinestones on the transfer film.
Then place the film on your shirt, rhinestone side down.
Iron the film with medium pressure. The heat will activate the glue on the back of the rhinestones and secure them to the fabric. Allow to cool and then gently peel off the film.

Once the adhesive has set or the heat transfer is complete, gently pull on the rhinestones to ensure they are securely attached.

Sewing method (for more robust applications)

Using a specialized rhinestone needle, thread the thread through the small hole at the bottom of the rhinestone and secure to the shirt. Make sure each rhinestone is securely sewn in place to prevent it from falling out.
For each rhinestone, it is a good idea to sew the thread on both diagonal lines to create an "X" shaped seam for extra stability.
Keep the thread neat and avoid leaving messy threads on the back of the shirt.
Check for loose stones when you're done sewing!

Perfect, congratulations on mastering how to set rhinestones for shirts! If you've finished your rhinestone shirt, hurry up and wear it to get a feel for your handmade work of art. VICTRAY also has a column to showcase photos of users' creations. If you want, send me a photo of you wearing your work and I'll make you the star of our column. How about that? Looking forward to seeing your masterpieces!


Tom Liu is a fashion aficionado with eight years of experience in the industry, specializing in rhinestone and sequin women's apparel. As the owner of a chic boutique, he has carved out a niche for himself by offering expertly curated collections that blend glamour with sophistication. Known for his deep understanding of fashion trends and his ability to cater to his clientele's diverse tastes, Tom stands out as a professional and experienced figure in the fashion community. His dedication to bringing elegance and sparkle to everyday wear has made his store a must-visit for those seeking to elevate their style.