What the Bling?
Flash commands cash and embellished logos are an important decorating trend. But there’s more to bling than the simple rhinestone. Here’s the rundown.
5 Types of Bling
- Rhinestones are cut glass resembling the appearance of a diamond. They give off a reflective sparkle.
- Sequins are small round discs of metal or plastic that are slightly cupped, catching light for a glittering effect.
- Spangles are flat, shiny discs of plastic or metal that glisten with light and movement.
- Rhinestuds are octagon-shaped metal pieces that produce the shimmer and shine of rhinestones but at a lower price point.
- Nail heads are rounded, flat metal pieces that resemble the top of an actual nail.
Which Markets Want Bling?
Bling works best for younger, female audiences. From tweens to 20-somethings you’ll find that flash sells. Look to cheer squads, sororities, dance troupes and booster clubs for a positive rhinestone reception.
Think also about consumer products that might benefit from a premium incentive with pizzazz. Brands in the cosmetic or beverage (liquor or beer) arenas turn to glittery transfers or rhinestone-embellished items. Other key markets for glitz include nightclubs, event planners, concerts/musicians, resort/travel and universities. These clients all have occasion for bling. Sparkle-accented apparel and accessories add just the right special touch for nighttime events or commemorative souvenirs.
Choose Fabrics Wisely
Boosting the power of a logo with bling is fairly straightforward. It works on just about any fabric. The material simply must be sturdy enough to hold the weight of the embellishment. Trendy, sheer T-shirt fabrics such as burnout are not the best choice for heavier rhinestones. Neither are stretch fabrics, without weighing the garment down.
Experts recommend a premium fabric, such as a heavier cotton and water-based inks for the most reliable pairing with rhinestones, studs, nailheads, etc. Dark-colored fabrics enhance the bling effect of the stones, especially as clear is one of the most commonly used stone colors in a rhinestone layout.
Is It Expensive?
Not really, particularly if you let your decorator guide you. He or she can recommend how to best maximize your decorating budget. For example, a few strategically placed rhinestones might reduce the stitch count for embroidery. Or, perhaps, adding color with rhinestones allows you to get by with a one-color screen print.
The price to dazzle will vary with the size and color of the stones. Rhinestones, for example, range in size from two to six millimeters. Each additional color you choose will increase the cost, as will the number of stones used overall. Other types of bling, such as rhinestuds and nailheads, are significantly lower in cost than rhinestones.
To keep the number of stones you use to a minimum, look for areas of artwork that you want to highlight. The letter “O” designed like a baseball in the word “Mom” becomes a nice accent when the entire imprint reads “Baseball Mom.”
5 Ways to Add Bling Power
- Position artwork front and center on a t-shirt for a bold rendition of a logo or message. Or create a more subtle effect with a smaller rhinestone design on a shirt sleeve or nape of the neck.
- Top off headwear with a touch of bling.
- Add glitz to accessories, such as the cuff of a glove or the band of a sock.
- Embellish a purse, tote or backpack with flashy detail.
- Bedazzle the cover of a notebook or journal to make musing literally reflective.
The placement of shiny stones can be sensitive in women’s apparel. Be aware of how the garment is going to fit and how it will hang once imprinted. A heavily studded logo can weigh down the fabric, shifting where you thought the logo would hang to a less appropriate position.
HotFix Spangle Sequence material from Stahls’ ID Direct simulates the look of sequins and can be applied with a heat press to add extra sparkle to graphics and designs. Apply directly over a design or to select parts of a graphic to make an image or word stand out. The material can be ordered by the yard or in five-yard increments. Because it can be hand cut, you can create any size or shape of graphic to fit your garment.
Check for Lead
Any gift or garment embellished with stones or studs must comply with CPSIA standards. Knowingly selling a garment intended for a child aged 12 or younger that is decorated with stones of greater than 90 ppm of lead can carry a fine.
June 2013 issue
By Tonia Cook Kimbrough