How to Make a Rhinestone Transfer Comparison

"How to make a rhinestone transfer?" or "How to make a rhinestone t shirt?" are often the first questions that many of our customers ask. The answer is simple – there are only 2 ways to create a rhinestone transfer, and the BEST way to make a rhinestone transfer or t-shirt depends on your time, your budget and your business plan.

So the real question shouldn't be how to make that transfer or t-shirt, but how to produce that end product quickly and profitably. Below you'll find information on the manual rhinestone transfer process, using a cutter and template material, as well as the automatic rhinestone machine method of our CAMS Rhinestone Transfer Systems. 

Once you have an understanding of the 2 methods, check out our ROI information and see just how profitable a CAMS based rhinestone t-shirt business can be!

Manual Rhinestone Transfer Process

Shake and Bake Rhinestone Transfer Systems

Shake and Bake is an industry catch phrase used to refer to the manual process of brushing or shaking hotfix rhinestones onto pre-cut templates. These systems rely on you purchasing designs in advance, and they come to you in the form of a template, like the ones in the photo below:

rhinestone transfers and sticky flock

Once you have the template you pour your hotfix rhinestones on top of it and either brush the stones in place, or “shake” the container until they fall into place. Then you lay our rhinestone hotfix tape, or transfer tape, on top of the design and press down to complete your transfer.

The more advance version of this kind of manual system has you create the templates yourself using software and plotter/cutter. This gives you creative control, but adds the time it takes to cut your design into the flock material to the process – it’s not fast.

plotter rhinestone transfer system

Drawbacks for this manual rhinestone system include speed of initial template production, then how long it takes you to do each rhinestone transfer…and as you can see in our Rhinestone Transfer System ROI article, time is most definitely money!

rhinestone transfer produced by camsThe 2 largest disadvantages may be that while you can do more than one color t shirt transfer with these systems, it’s very time consuming and cumbersome. Most users of these restrict their end products to single color or size rhinestone designs because of this. AND that you are severely limited in how close together you can put the rhinestones. Because you have to keep significant spacing, you really cannot do the kind of detailed designs with smaller sized rhinestones that people have come to expect.

The only advantage to either of these approaches is your initial investment is low. For example, the Brush n Bake System sells for about $2500.

Automatic Rhinestone Transfer Machines

Best Rhinestone Transfer Machines

 The CAMS Rhinestone Transfer Systems are usually referred to as “automatic rhinestone machines” because of the contrast in labor and time. Rather than having to create designs, the have them cut onto template material, then brushing the rhinestones in, then applying the transfer paper, the CAMS machines put the hotfix rhinestone directly onto the transfer paper.



In fact, the speed difference alone is enough to make the CAMS, even the entry level 1V-2P, an obviously better value than a manual system. Just look at our page on rhinestone transfer business return on investment to get a very detailed look.

That ROI study shows that the automatic machine is so fast, you can generate up to $203/hour!

Here’s how to create a rhinestone transfer or rhinestone t-shirt using the CAMS Machine:

Step 1: Create your Design

All of the CAMS machines come with Sierra Hotfix Era Rhinestone Design Software. Hotfix Era is such a great application we devoted an entire page to it. This application is designed specifically to produce designs for “bling machines” and even has special drivers so you can output directly to the CAMS. Because it’s designed just to make rhinestone designs, you won’t need to purchase or learn other graphics applications that were originally made for print or magazine layouts, it has all the vector and text tools you’ll need. So open up Hotfix Era for Rhinestones and create your design.

Step 2: Get the CAMS Rhinestone Machine Ready!

That means you’ll need to pour the rhinestone colors and sizes you’ll be using into the hoppers and lay your transfer paper on the platen.

Step 3: Send your Design

No instructions for just SEND.

Step 4: Take your complete transfer off the platen, put another piece of transfer paper down.

At 150 Stones per minute, this won’t take long at all! Hit send again.

If you’re selling custom rhinestone t-shirts, you can use the time it takes to output your next transfer to heat press copy number 1 onto the t-shirt of your choice.. and so on until your order is complete.

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