How to Heat Press Rhinestone Transfers… the right way.

We are passing to you the tried, true and trusted way of getting perfect hotfix rhinestone transfers for t shirts every time.

This way will indeed save you time in the long run. You will waste less garments and spend less time trying to fix mistakes. The best part… it’s so simple.


Step 1 – Make sure your heat press is set to 330-340 degrees (fig. 1). Don’t start working when it’s at 300, nor should you if it was previously set to 400. You wouldn’t bake cookies at 400 if the directions said 350 would you?  (if you would, your Gramma wouldn’t be very happy; no one wants that)

geo knight heat press to 330 degrees

Fig. 1 Set Heat Press to 330-340 Degrees









Step 2 –  Complete a short preheat/prepress before you place the rhinestone transfer(Fig 2 & 3). This will help remove some excess moisture from the garment and provide you with a nice smooth, wrinkle free canvas. ahhh.. nice right?

heat press used to prepress a shirt

Fig. 2 Place your t shirt flat on the heat press









pressing a t shirt with geo knight press

Fig. 3 Give the shirt a good press to iron it out.









Step 3 – Set your transfer(Fig. 4). Get it right the first time. Check your placement. This is a very common mistake for apparel decorators. We have heard it all: upside-down, crooked, the wrong color, the wrong size. (Just go ahead and double check before moving on.)

place transfer on transfer paper to t shirt

Fig. 4 Make sure your design is centered well









Step 4 – If  you are working with thinner materials (a women’s fashion shirt, undergarments, baby clothes, etc) Place a piece of parchment paper or Teflon between the garment sides(Fig. 5). (A.K.A. inside of the shirt.) This will prevent any glue from seeping through the shirt and sticking the front of the shirt to the back.

paper put between shirt layers

Fig. 5 Use Parchment, Release Paper or A teflon sheet between your layers.









Step 5 – Heat(Fig. 6)  the rhinestones for 10-15 seconds with about 40-50psi of pressure (medium setting on a heat press)

Tip: This is a great time to mention the use of a Teflon sheet and a Nomex Head Pad. These are going to help you achieve even pressure and temperature across your transfer. Remember that we are working with an uneven surface. You can compensate for this with a Nomex Pad on the bottom and a Teflon Sheet on the top.

pressing a t shirt with geo knight press

Fig. 6 A good heat press helps deliver even temp and pressure.









Step 6 – Flip the garment over (Fig. 7) and press another 10 seconds. Yes, a second press like this will really help everything stick for the long haul.

garment flipped for second press

Fig. 7 Flipping the garment over helps ensure and even transfer.









Step 7 –Wait patiently for the garment to cool(Fig. 8). This is a good time to start the placement of your next transfer on a different garment. A good rule of thumb… if you have to ask yourself, “is this cool enough?” .. it isn’t (Fig. 9). Just wait few moments  longer.

let bling cool before peeling

Fig. 8 Don’t peel the rhinestone transfer too soon, or you will lose stones.










checking temp of shirt

Fig. 9 The transfer should feel cool to the touch.








Step 8 – Peel off the transfer paper (Fig. 10). A great time here is a smooth and even peel going with the grain of the shirt (Fig. 11). The less the garment stretches, the better the final product will look.

first peeling of heart bling

Fig. 10 Slowly peel the rhinestone transfer off the garment.









second peel of shirt

Fig. 11 Work with the shirt, not against it. Take your time.









peel the peace sign rhinestone when cool

Fig. 12 Remember to remove all of your transfers, especially when multiple transfers are on one garment.









Step 9 – Enjoy, pack, sell, share or wear!

rhinestone t shirt with heart and peace sign








Using a hand iron?  Don’t Worry… just follow the same steps with this:

Highest setting / 40-45 seconds / Keep still / No Steam!

You can get any of your rhinestone transfer supplies at Colman and Company. We carry top quality transfer paper, Crystalline Rhinestones, Heat Presses and much more. Check us out here.

  1. Linda July 3, 2014 / Reply
    • admin July 8, 2014 / Reply
  2. Leta Smith August 28, 2015 / Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *