How to Stone Pageant Dresses and Pageant Gowns

pageant dresses - pageant gowns

Everyone involved with glitz pageants understands the importance of adding bling to pageant dresses and pageant gowns. The rhinestones catch the stage lights and make the dress sparkle. They help catch the judges' eyes, as well as the attention of the crowd. Paying to have a pageant dress stoned, however, is usually very expensive. You can save a lot of money by doing the job yourself! All you need are stones, E6000 glue, a plastic syringe, a toothpick, a steady hand, patience, and a little creativity. To make your work faster and more precise, purchase an electric rhinestone apllicator, sold below. It will definitely make your job much easier!

In most regions of the US, the big clunky stones are out, and lots of smaller stones are in. Purchase your swarovski stones online in bulk to save money. Check out the deals below! Buy 20s and 30s, both crystal and ABs. Also, order a few stones several shades darker than your dress and some about the same shade of your dress for added dimension. You might even want to go with a third shade. You can find E6000 glue at Walmart.

Lay your dress on a table - somewhere out of the way where it won't get stained or bothered in any way. Fill the syringe with glue.

Many pageant dresses and pageant gowns might already have embellishments. If the dress has appliques and/or flowers, this will be a good place for you to start stoning. Place just a small drop of glue in the center of the flower, then place a stone on the glue dot. Slightly press the glued stone to make sure it has good contact with the dress. If any glue is visible around the stone, remove it with the toothpick. You might find it easier to place the stone with tweezers if you don't have an electric applicator.

Be balanced and consistent with stoning embellishments. For example, if you're stoning flowers on the neckline of the dress, do each the same way. Maybe use a colored stone in the center of each one and ABs at the point of each petal.

Once you're done with the appliques, stone other parts of the dress. Little abstract designs are popular now, like an S-shape, curvy lines, and J-shapes. To get some ideas, look at national pageant dress photos online. A word of warning: pageant gowns for older girls won't need as many stones, so don't overdo it.

A glitzy dress for a little girl might have several gross of stones on it. You won't be able to do all this at one sitting. Work on the dress in stages. Hang the dress up every so often and view it from a distance to make sure your stoning is balanced - not too many on one side of the dress and not enough on the other side.

Use a fairly equal number of crystals and ABs in the same area on pageant dresses, and use the colored stones more sparingly, just for emphasis.

When you've finished stoning the dress, hang it up overnight or leave it on the table to dry before placing the dress in its storage container or bag. The night before the pageant, take the dress out and examine it closely to check for missing stones. Replace any that have fallen off. It's a good idea to always have a few extra stones and some glue with you at the pageant, too, to replace stones on pageant dresses and pageant gowns that may have fallen off.

My friend Sandi Woodson and I stoned this winning dress.
My friend Sandi Woodson and I stoned this winning dress.
Glitz pageant dresses often have hundreds of rhinestones attached.
Glitz pageant dresses often have hundreds of rhinestones attached.

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Comments 25 comments

Nicole 6 years ago

My daughter is entering her first pageant (A local Little Miss (city) pageant (natural). She is four years old soon to be five. The dress I have purchased is nice, however I thinking adding a bit of sparkle to the straps might make it pop just enough to stand out. The dress I purchased is from #KL2330 (Royal floor length) My fear is that I will mess it up and there will be no going back.. the pageant is just 8.5 weeks away.. please let me know your oppinion and any tips not listed above would be appreciated! Thanks so much for your time.

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habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Nicole, place the stones on the dress first, BEFORE adding glue. See how they look.

kiki 5 years ago


I am trying to place stones on my daughter's dress for an upcoming pageant. She is two yrs old. I wanted to know if you had any additional tips that would help me. Being this is my first time placing stones. In your article for example, you stated a glitzy dress for a little girl might have several gross of stones on it. Exactly what does that mean?


habee profile image

habee 5 years ago from Georgia Author

Kiki, a glitz dress might have 100s of small stones. Look at winning dresses on Ebay to get some ideas.

mamalisa 5 years ago

my daughter is entereing her first preliminary pageant...what kind of dress should she wear?

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habee 5 years ago from Georgia Author

Mamalisa, I think you'll find the answer to your question here:

Amanda Hill 5 years ago

Habee, Could you contact me, I have a bunch of pageant questions for you, because I am new to this and am putting my 11 month old in one. Thanks, Amanda

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habee 5 years ago from Georgia Author

Amanda, I sent you an email.

Molly 5 years ago

I'd love to know any tips for applying pointed back stones. They seem to have so much more sparkle! Is it worth the trouble? Do the flatbacks have enough impact?

missmolly @ gmail . com

mary3am 5 years ago

i made a beautiful dress but the stones keep falling off i used magna-tac 809 permanent adhesive also washable will E6000 be stronger because i spent 2months on the dress

Danielle 5 years ago

You say use the same amount of crystal as AB... why is that? And can yu suggest a brand that is mid grade. First time stoning on a dress.. I had the dress custom made, and it was a fair price so I don't want to spend too much on stones in case I don't have the talent it takes :)

Krista 5 years ago

My 9 month DD will be competing in her very 1st Pageant in 4 weeks. Any tips while we are on stage? She is a very happy baby but I am terrrifed that she will be scared with all the light and noise during the pageant. Any suggestions for a successful 1st pageant would be apprecaited.

A.Marie 5 years ago

Habee, everything I've read so fall has been so helpful. Do you have any tips in particular for older pageant competitors, in their teens?

Lindsey 5 years ago

About how many stones would you need for a dress like the one you stoned? Also where did you find that white dress? I cant find anything like that on ebay :/


Kezia 5 years ago

I'm am going to be in the beautiful pagent .know everybody name me sweetie

because I am smart,funny ,beautiful ,and phat, that means i am pretty ,hot , and talent

brittney 5 years ago

I am new and about to enter my daughter who is 5 into a state contest. Could you email me I have so many questions. this is to anyone that has done parents

Kellee 5 years ago

Any sugestions on stoning a jaquard bodice? I don't know how should go about it. Also, I dont understand what AB stones are...Help Pageant is only 1.5 weeks away!

habee profile image

habee 4 years ago from Georgia Author

Sorry it's taken me so long to respond. The comments didn't show up in my email notifications.

E6000 is the strongest glue we've found for stoning pageant dresses. Swarovski stones are definitely the best! We like the flatbacks because they stay attached better. In our area, the judges seem to prefer lots of small stones (maybe 1 or 2 gross, at least) - mixture of ABs, crystals, and colors.

Visit my pageant blog, where more questions are addressed. Just click either of the highlighted links in the above article.

EDEN91038 4 years ago

i'd like to be in peagents mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!

Brittney 4 years ago


Im 20yr old seamtress who is looking to get into glitz dresses.what is a great pattern book i can purchase on amazon and what are must have tools i can buy at walmart?

Thank you in advance,god bless

You can email me at

talfonso profile image

talfonso 4 years ago from Tampa Bay, FL

I love your pics of the dresses, and this idea isn't just for pageant dresses or gowns. It also applies to other formal dresses, especially when bought from a thrift store. I'm going to buy a good collection of dresses and stone some of them! 4 years ago

I have looked for a coral rhinestone, with no luck finding them. Do they make them in coral? Is there an ab stone that would look coral?

Thanks for your help!

talfonso profile image

talfonso 4 years ago from Tampa Bay, FL

Nheflin0429, you may want to look up a light, pinkish-orange color. Examples of such Swarovski crystals in that color include light peach and rose lemon.

Jessie 23 months ago

Does this also work for prom dresses?:)

Msladymarion 3 months ago

You must be the MOST talented lady I've ever heard of. Thank you for your posts. we are entering my 4 year old granddaughter in local parent.

im 3/4 through with beautiful Cinderella floor length gown.. However if you think we need short dress.. We can certainly go for it.. Please advise..

Thank you in advance.


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