how to make a rhinestone template

I found a way to convert an image to a rhinestone template without having to manually place a bunch of circles in place.

Have you ever tried to make a rhinestone template? It takes forever.

I have finally found a way to turn any image into a rhinestone template in about 1/10th of the time! I’m not exaggerating, it’s quite magical.

It involves two of my favorite image processing tools online, and

Let’s start with the first tool, Spiral Betty.

Spiral Betty started out as a image processing that turns any image into a spiral. It’s super neat. I have a separate tutorial on how to optimize your spiral betty vinyl projects if you are interested.

They recently added a Dot feature which turns any image into dots. I saw this and immediately thought, RHINESTONES!

I won’t go into the pain of trying to make rhinestone templates using a full graphics editor like Illustrator or Inkscape. Just give it a try, most people don’t last for more than 10 minutes.

Back to the easy way…

Upload Your Base Image

Starting with, upload your base image. It needs to be in a pixel based file format like .jpeg or .png. It works best if there is lots of contrast with the key part of the image that you want to template. If it doesn’t have a lot of contrast, use to remove the background first.

Here, I am using a black and white image as an example.

After uploading your image, zoom in on the part you want to template. Don’t worry, you can still make zooming changes later as well.

how to make a rhinestone template

Toggle Dots And Adjust Contrast

After, you’ve zoomed in to your satisfaction, make sure the “dot” toggle is selected. I would also select the black and white option for this type of project.

You can adjust the Lightness and Contrast slider to make the dots bigger or smaller. I like to make the most contrast between the background dots and foreground dots but that is just my preference.

Download your spiral betty image when you’re done making adjustments. Please consider donating something to this woman, her tool is pretty cool!

rhinestone template maker

Use Clipping Magic Background Remover

Next, we are going to use Clipping Magic to remove the background dots.

There are tons of background removal tools out there but Clipping Magic is the only one that lets you make editorial changes which is kind of essential here. You need to mark the dots you want to keep (green) and the ones your want to remove (red).

Their underlying algorithm provides a guided autocomplete so you don’t have to mark every dot. I suggest changing the brush size in the bottom left to get to those last few dots.

rhinestone template tutorial

Download The SVG File

The best part is you can download many file formats with Clipping Magic. I assume if you are reading this, you are making a template for a cutting machine in which case, download the SVG file format version of your image.

These SVG templates work great for making Cricut rhinestone crafts. For example, I love using these rhinestone templates to make fun, personalized t-shirts for friends and family. Of course, you can also use these to add sparkle to other clothing items as well.

rhinestone template tutorial

Upload Your Rhinestone Template

Once you have your rhinestone SVG template, you need to upload it to the Cricut Design Space. Here, you should resize your image to fit the size of the rhinestones you are using for your craft. For a 6 stone size (ss), you want your circles to be about 0.102 inches. If you are using 10 ss rhinestones, your circles should be approximately 0.130 inches. Of course, you can also use 16 ss stones for 0.160 inch circles or 20 ss stones for .210 inch circles.

Typically, the size of your rhinestone depends on the size surface you are using for your craft. In addition, it might also depend on how closely your circles are together. For example, you might want your rhinestone template to resemble a solid image. In this case, you could use larger rhinestones and keep them closely spaced together.

Alternatively, smaller rhinestones spaced further apart can open up the space for your design. Ultimately, you can personalize the design look however you would like.

rhinestone cricut template

Cut Your Rhinestone Template

After you finalize your template in Cricut Design Space, you can place your template material on to your cutting mat. Then, load your cutting mat into the Cricut machine. For these rhinestone cuts, I usually use scrap cardstock or heavy paper. Depending on what type of Cricut you have, you can also use a recycled cereal box as well.

Of course, you can use rhinestone Stencil Flock material to cut out your template. I found that this can make it easier to apply the rhinestones to fabric designs. For this option, the cut pressure 210 multicut and 2x blade type regular works well to cut the design.

convert image to rhinestone template

Prepare Your Rhinestones

After you send your rhinestone template to the cutting machine, you can get ready to add your rhinestones. Try to peel the Stencil Flock off the material base quickly, if you can. Then, carefully place the template material on your rhinestone backing board.

Once you have your material set, you can pour your rhinestones onto the template material. If you’re using a rhinestone starter craft kit, you can move the rhinestone positioning brush in gentle, circular motions to place the rhinestones.

Alternatively, you can also use tweezers to fill the holes one-by-one. However, this is more time-consuming. Therefore, I’d recommend flooding the design with the rhinestones and brushing them into place. Then, I use the tweezers to make final adjustments.

You can use a transfer mask to keep the stones from falling out when you adhere the design to your shirt or clothing surface. To attach the surface to the mask and prevent bubbles, you should press firmly and smoothly on all the rhinestones. Then, peel off the transfer mask and check that all of your rhinestones came off.

Adhere Rhinestones To Project Surface

Lastly, you can adhere your rhinestones to the project surface. Usually, I cover the transfer tape with scrap fabric or a towel. Then, I iron it on for about 45 seconds on the wool setting. You may have to iron for 1-3 minutes depending on the heat setting. Be careful not to rub the iron over the rhinestones. Otherwise, they could fall out of place.

Once you’re satisfied with the placement of your rhinestones, you can peel the transfer tape off of your project. I love making these rhinestone templates for t-shirts and fabric journals. With designs that are so easily customizable, these make great gifts as well!

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7 thoughts on “how to make a rhinestone template”

  1. Judy

    Is there a maximum size that Spiral Betty will use? I was trying out the tutorial using dots and when I upload an image it is too large for the grid area and the slider is all the way to the left. I brought the size of my image down to 2″x4″ and it is still too large. Spiral Betty doesn’t seem to have any help files or am I missing something?

    Judy F

    1. Elf @DomesticHeights

      Hi Judy,
      I don’t think there is a defined upper limit in terms of file size but her backend might not be able to handle images beyond a certain size. I’m not sure what you mean by “too large”. Is it just that the subject of your image doesn’t fit into the spiral betty frame? I’m happy to help more but would need a screenshot. Please feel free to send to

  2. Valerie

    Can this also be done for tumblers?

    1. Elf @DomesticHeights

      Hi Valerie,
      Yes, this can also be done for tumblers.

  3. Rebecca

    Thank you for the free template. I cannot wait to get started. Rhinestones have always been my favorite T-shirts. Thank you.

    1. Elf @DomesticHeights

      Happy Crafting Rebecca 🙂

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