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How to use a Hot Fix Applicator

How to use Dazzle-it's "Krystal-it" Hot Fix Applicator
by Carmi Cimicata

When you add hot fix crystals to fabric you instantly create glamor and your piece looks much more expensive. Crystals can be added to many surfaces. Whether choosing to work with Preciosa Hot Fix Flat Back Crystal or SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS Xilion Cut Hot Fix Flat Back Crystals, our wide range of colors, finishes and sizes make the possibilities endless.

The best way I know to remember if a hot fix crystal will work is if the surface I have chosen absorbs water. Paper, linen, suede, cotton, linen, silk, wool etc. A drop of water would easily be absorbed. Leather, glass, and metal repel water. While a crystal would adhere to these surfaces after the glue is heated…they will probably pop off at the slightest movement. Crystals can also be applied to synthetics, polyester, lycra, viscose and is used regulalry on dance and skating costumes. Crystals on transparent fabrics are beautiful too…but that is something you have to test and practice with before you would work on a finished garment.

The new Dazzle-it Krystal-it Hot Fix Applicator comes with eight tips. Seven of the tips work with crystals ranging in size from 2-7mm. The last tip is flat and is called a 4mm Hot Spot.

If you are new to using flatback stones, the sizes are represented using “ss” (Stone Size); for example ss6 is a 2mm stone, ss8 is a 2.5mm stone. The most popular size stones are ss16(4mm) and ss20 ( 5mm).

To begin you choose the size of crystal you want to work with and then screw in the matching tip. You need to plug in your applicator and let the tip heat for approximately 5 minutes. You need to work on a flat surface. (The ironing board is not a good choice because the padding is too soft.)

When the applicator is heated you are able to pick a crystal up. The glue side (bottom) faces up. When you pick up a crystal you might not know that there is a glue bottom. Hold your wand straight up so the crystal heats flat and does not fall out.

Here is the crystal after about 15 seconds. You can see the glue is very wet now. And HOT! Some crystals can heat faster – you need to watch as you work.

Carefully bring your applicator to the location you want to set a crystal and with a straight up-down motion, set the rhinestone and immediately lift the applicator straight up.

Have a pin or needle handy. Sometimes the glue on the crystal sticks to the side of the applicator tip. This is why you have little slits in the sides of the tip. You can use the needle to push the rhinestone out of the tip. Just remember, the rhinestone is now fairly hot. I wait a few seconds and then press down on the rhinestone one more time to make sure it is adhered to my fabric. (I use a ruler or eraser to do that.)

There is another way to apply hot fix crystals. You arrange your crystals on your fabric and bring the applicator to them instead. This is particularly effective with the tiny crystals.

For this technique you use the flat Hot Spot tip.

You apply the heat to the crystal in this way. The crystal will get hot enough to melt the glue on the bottom. Again, always be careful. The Hot Spot can be used to heat up a crystal that may have been placed in the wrong spot. You can move the crystal again being careful not to smudge the glue too much. The Hot Spot tip is very useful in other sewing applications. It can temporarily bond other adhesive backed products so that when you take them to your iron they are tacked into place.

Last week I decided to make some small ribbon charms. You just need ribbon clamps to make these quick embellishments.

What makes the ribbon charms extra pretty is the addition of crystals as described above.

I like to make purse dangles with my crystal ribbons. The ball keychains are available in silver and gold. I hope you get to apply some crystals to fabric soon….it also is a great way to apply a crystal to a greeting card.

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