Free Rhinestone Templates for the Cricut

I felt the need to do some bedazzling the other day and decided to design my own rhinestone templates for use with my Cricut.

This was very much a trial project for me. By no means am I a bedazzling expert. But since my initial post on this project, I’ve worked on my bedazzling skills and have gotten better. Here’s my tutorial with a few updates.

This was my original work where I attempted to glue on the rhinestones with glue and my template:

I mostly wanted something sparkly and I’m not a huge fan of glitter. Glitter tends to get everywhere and I have small kids and I’m constantly paranoid they’re going to get some small piece of glitter in their eyes and it’s going to scratch their cornea. Yeah, one of those one-off things I’m paranoid about.

I’m obsessed with operational efficiency especially around the household so I was bothered by the fact I was still placing rhinestones by hand. Then, I found a tutorial on Rhinestone World about bedazzling a tumbler 3500 rhinestones at a time and I was fascinated. The only problem was the materials they used cost a fortune and I had half the supplies already. So I did the next best thing which was use what I already had!

Back in the day, that is my pageant days, I used to do quite a bit of bedazzling to my dresses but that was a different type of project altogether. But then I realized it wasn’t! This time, I bedazzled my tumbler the same way I bedazzle my dress. I first iron on HTV to permanent vinyl and then I iron on the rhinestones to the HTV/permanent assembly.

Before we get started, I have a few recommendations on materials in case you don’t have everything already or if this helps in using what you have already.

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Materials for Rhinestone Tumblers

Tumbler – My top choice is to use stainless still tumblers. I find the “color” on most of these insulated steel tumblers starts peeling after a while and if that happens, then your rhinestones will fall off. I love these super affordable stainless steel insulated tumblers from Amazon. If you’re okay with plastic, these Strata skinny tumblers are perfect for these rhinestone projects.

Glue – I like to use E6000 for this project. It actually works great for all rhinestones on all surfaces including fabric. You can get this one with a fine tip and just apply small dabs for each stone.

Rhinestones – I used some rhinestones from a hotfix assorted kit. These are great because you can also use them on fabric as well. Just to put things into perspective, you need about 400 stones to do the mouse face with ears.

Vinyl Flock – You’re supposed to use flock to make the template but I didn’t feel like buying it so I just used thicker cardstock. You can also use something like a cereal box too. If you want to buy the real thing, this is the most affordable option by Craftables that I could find on Amazon.

Rhinestone Transfer Tape – This one was essential, this is kind of like normal transfer tape but meant for heating.

Iron or Heatpress – I used my Cricut Easy Press for this.

HTV and Vinyl – If you are going to do the iron-on method, I recommend an HTV sheet that is similar in color to your Rhinestone color. As for the permanent vinyl, just use any color, you won’t see it anyways.

Cutting Machine – I use a Cricut. Check out my recommendations for Cricut machines and accessories for beginners for more info.

Template – My rhinestone template SVGs are available for free in my resource library.

How to use the rhinestone templates

Step 1: Cut the templates

Sizing the templates for your stone is probably the trickiest part of this whole project.

For the mouse ears in this tutorial, I first just cut a few examples with copy paper. You want the holes to be big enough to not touch the outer perimeter of the stone but not too big or else your crystals will be too spread out.

I used a fresh light grip blue mat for this and cleaned up the scraps with a lint roller.

I made my templates for cardstock. The compromise here is the stones won’t be as close together. The problem when I make the holes too close to each other is the cardstock doesn’t hold up and starts to tear and then the whole thing is ruined.

Step 2: Prep your tumbler surface

You can just simply wash it or wipe it with some alcohol. You don’t want any residue at the beginning of the project.

Step 3: Position your template in place

Since I used paper, I just taped it on with some masking tape. You could also make this with some non-permanent vinyl or transfer tape in which case you don’t need the masking tape.

Step 4: Apply the rhinestone

If you have a small enough tip on your glue dispenser to add a dot directly on the tumbler, that is probably the easiest method. Otherwise, you need to dip the stone in the glue first before placement.

I actually found it worked best to just start with the center of the design and then freehand the rest of the outer most edges. This way, I had a starting guide but could make adjustments on the design.

I admit, not my best work. Next time, I would probably use smaller stones.

How to Iron on HTV Rhinestones to your tumbler

So I found this to be much more fun to do and much faster altogether.

First, you still need to cut out your template. See step 1 above for mat preferences.

In terms of placing the rhinestones, you see all these videos online of people just pouring the stones onto the template and then just brushing them in place.

Well, I tried that, didn’t work that well. It got like 10% of the stones in place. I sort of had to just do this over and over again with a small pile of stones. So I’d pinch some stones onto the template, then sort of nudged the ones that were correct side down in place, then swept off the remainder, and then repeat.

While it took longer than the brush method, unless you have that special flock, I think you will have to just make up for it with some manual effort.

Next trim a piece of Rhinestone Transfer tape to the size of your project and place the clear film on top of the placed rhinestones. Press gently on the rhinestones.

Then turn the thing upside down and lift the template off carefully. Leave that be for the time being.

Next, we are going to prep our HTV and vinyl assembly. I cut and weeded the base shape. It uses the same shape.

Align the HTV layer on top of the permanent vinyl. The plastic backing on both pieces should be the outermost sheets sandwiching the vinyl and HTV.

Then we are going to iron this sandwich together. The stack should be the following: ironing board > permanent vinyl plastic backing > permanent vinyl > HTV > HTV backing > teflon sheet > heat press/iron.

I ironed this assembly at 340 degrees F for about 30 seconds.

Wait a few minutes and peel off the backing of the HTV.

Next, take the Rhinestone transfer sheet and align the rhinestones onto the HTV side of the assembly.

Place your Teflon sheet on top of all of this and iron at 340 degrees F for 30 seconds.

Let it cool for a few minutes and peel back both the transfer tape and the base of the permanent vinyl.

Then place it on your tumbler.

That’s it! Now, I’m not going to be doing this project like every day but it was fun while it lasted. Maybe I’ll finally buy that flock and try this again with rhinestones closer to each other. I’ll be back with an update then…

Give it a try and let me know how it goes!

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1 thought on “Free Rhinestone Templates for the Cricut”

  1. Stephanie Core

    Thank you! I’ve watched people do this so effortlessly with flock and was wondering if there was an easier way.

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