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Heatset and Hotfix Gettin' Blingy With It

Updated on March 18, 2014
Bling it on!
Bling it on!

Personal Preference

Both heatset and hotfix are down to personal preference. Many people like the convenience and local availability of hotfix, as hotfix can be found at Walmart or local fabric stores in the craft department. They are fairly cheap, and come in neat patterns and as loose stones.

Hotfix however usually has to be purchased online, the price is actually often cheaper than hotfix, and are almost never set up in pre-arranged patterns for consumer use.

There's a Difference?

Yes there is!

With bling, you have a few kinds, hotfix, heatset, and bedazzling. We will be discussing heatset and hotfix.

Key differences:

  • Hotfix are usually plastic, although there are glass as well but this type is rare.
  • Heatset are natural stones, or glass.
  • Hotfix glue is different, in order to activate, you need to use an iron, or the iron on tools, that are basically a mini iron. The glue requires nearly direct heat, usually between layers, such as stones, fabric and the iron on the back of the fabric and not on top of the stones.
  • Heatset glue also requires heat, but from the top of the stone and radiates heat thru the entire stone (it's science!) in order to activate the glue.

Heatset applicator wand with various heads
Heatset applicator wand with various heads


So, you've made your decisions about your stones, now what do you apply them with?

Well, hotfix, the kind usually found locally at Walmart requires direct heat, this means, you need to set out your design, and place the item to be blinged upside down onto the stones, and then iron the item from the back. This requires a mini iron. These can be found often with the stones, and are usually no more than 5" long in size, meant for getting into tight spots or for easy fast movement.

Heatset uses a wand, basic ones have a flat end that heats that you set on top of the stone, fancier ones have various tips for larger or smaller stones, or shaped stone.

Both tools come cordless or with cords, personally, I prefer both as sometimes I am working longer periods of time and can kill the batteries on a cordless, other times, I am only needing to work quickly and only need to set a few stones.

Rechargeable batteries are never a bad idea for anything cordless.

Hotfix mini iron
Hotfix mini iron

Buying Stones and Supplies

You can often find at least hotfix locally, Hobby Lobby, JoAnn Fabrics, and even many Walmart at least carry basic rhinestone sets, usually in prearranged designs that you peel back paper on and set onto a t-shirt that you then iron from the back.

Heatset in the form of glass or Swarovski crystals are a bit tougher, and often have to be ordered online. If you Google for rhinestones, hotfix, or heatset, you'll find many suppliers. Personally, I feel your best source is the Hotfix and Iron On stone section of eBay.

I hope you enjoyed this brief hub, and it will help to make your decisions on how to bling up your projects easier!

From the author - a mirror cover from Urban Threads using heatset Swarovski crystals.
From the author - a mirror cover from Urban Threads using heatset Swarovski crystals.


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