Guide to Crystallizing Text Using Swarovski Flatback Crystals
Published by: Crystal and Glass Beads - Author: Khaled Alwan
If you have ever wanted to write something in crystals but don’t know where to start this tutorial will hopefully give you the confidence to get started. The kind of things that can be Crystallized with text are mobile phones, tablets, footwear, clothing, hats, glasswear, greetings cards, wedding stationery etc
It’s a lot easier to crystallize to a guide line than to form the text from scratch when starting out so these are some of the various methods that can be used.
1. Using a Stencil – Stencils are great for creating small amounts of bold text an example of which could be for greetings cards where a birthday number can be crystallized or a word like “MUM” for Mothers Day cards. see http://www.scruffymoo.com for some ideas or examples.
2. Digital Style Text – Can be used for writing text in a block or rows of crystals where certain crystals are substituted by a different colour to form text. See image above for an example or you can view the complete alphabet here.
A similar method can be used even if the text isn’t included within the confines of a block of crystals. Unlike the previous example there is some flexibility for rounding out the lettering so that it looks more appealing. See image above for an example or you can view the complete alphabet here.
3. Freehand – If you are crystallizing text on a Champagne bottle or something similar you are going to have to write the text freehand. If you haven’t done this before it’s a good idea to print out the wording first and practice several times before commencing. You can then either crystallize the text straight off or I would recommend using a permanent marker to write out the text on the glass first. Even though this method takes a bit of getting used to you have the advantage that if you mess up the freehand template drawn in fine marker you can always wipe it away. To achieve this use some rubbing alcohol, nail varnish remover or something similar (making sure not to get any on the bottle label) then try again until you get a satisfactory result.
4. Trace Text – If you can place text behind a surface and still see the text like a cotton t-shirt you can trace the lettering instead of having to write it freehand if you aren’t comfortable doing so.
5. Print out Text – For crystallizing Champagne flutes, wine glasses, shot glasses etc the easiest method to use is to simply print out the text in the size and font you desire and then place the text behind the glass to use as a template.
6. Vinyl Lettering – To create fancy lettering in various colours you can use vinyl lettering which can easily be applied to glass or other surfaces. The lettering is then coated with crystals to cover the vinyl, which can give a nice effect if the crystals are coloured to match the vinyl lettering, especially for slab fonts (fat bold lettering).
How to Write Bride in Crystals on a Champagne Flute
1. Crystals – for this tutorial I have used ss5 and ss7 Flatback Non-hotfix crystals also known as rhinestones. Which you can find here
2. Gemtac Adhesive - alternatively you can use e6000 if you have it. Which you can find here
3. Blu Tac - or sticky tape for attaching the text to the glass.
4. Cocktail stick – for applying the adhesive or something similar.
5. Cotton Handkerchief / cloth - or something similar to clean the glass with.
6. Rubbing alcohol – to de-grease the surface of the glass.
8. Piece of paper with writing on – this can be printed, or hand drawn.
9. Crystal Katana - to pick up the crystals or magic pick mini is an alternative. Which you can find here
Useful Tools if you have handy but not essential.
1. Printer – To print out text
2. Photoshop / Word processing package / Gimp (Free package similar to Photoshop which you can download) or some similar program that will allow you to print out text and change fonts.
1. Either write or print out the lettering you want crystallized in the size and font you desire. If you don’t have a suitable font you can download free non commercial fonts from numerous sites just do a search for Free Fonts (Cursive or handwritten if you want joined writing). To print out the text you will need ideally a program like Photoshop or Gimp which is free software like Photoshop or alternatively a word processing package. If you have downloaded a font you will need to unzip the font and place it into your fonts folder which on a windows machine the path will be C: Windows / Fonts, on a Mac the path is ~/Library/Fonts/.
2. Cut out the text so that there is a small border around the wording.
3. Clean the glass with alcohol and a cotton cloth to ensure that it is grease/ smear free.
4. Place the printed text inside the glass position and then secure with blu tac or sticky tape. Optional then depending on the size of the cloth you can use it to fill the glass and push all parts of the text against the glass wall.
5. With the start position (where you intend to put the first crystal) in front of you apply a small amount of adhesive in a line following the text contour. The reason I say in front of you is because is you are looking at the text from an angle i.e the right of the line and later on you switch to looking at the text from the opposite direction the text will appear wonky or distorted. You need to be looking straight on so that the thickness of the glass doesn’t distort your view.
6. Apply your first crystal, then gently press the crystal so that it’s secured by the adhesive. Then continue adding one crystal at a time following the text guide.
7. Continue adding crystals.
8. Continue adding crystals.
9. If you look closely you can see the subtle difference between the 2 different size crystals used.
10. That’s the B Complete. Now it’s the same principle for crystallizing the rest of the lettering.
11. And the last crystal added.
12. The completed Glass : ) (Should have cleared the junk off the work surface before taking a photo because it’s all reflected in the glass OOoops! at least you get the idea of the end result though.
How to Crystallize a Shot Glass
1. Follow the steps above for cleaning the glass and preparing the text.
2. Place the text inside the glass and secure.
3. Add a small amount of adhesive and add the crystals then continue adding adhesive then crystals until the text is complete.
4. Completed Shot Glass with Initial for Hen Party.
5. Completed Shot Glasses.
How to Write a Name in Crystals
1. In the position where the first crystal will go apply a small amount of adhesive.
2. Add the crystal.
3. Gently press the crystal into the adhesive.
4. Continue adding crystals to the adhesive then adding more adhesive and more crystals etc
5. The letter e complete
6. The finished result.
How to Crystallize Joined Lettering
1. Write out the text in pencil/pen or print out the text and trace. If you do use pen make sure that it’s a fine tipped pen or one that the ink wont bleed into the paper/ fabric and cause a mess.
2. Add the first Crystal.
3. Continue following the text adding adhesive then crystals.
4. A close-up of the first part of the name.
5. A close-up of the end of the name.
6. The completed name.
Text in One Crystal Size vs Miltiple Sizes
Should I use one crystal size or more to write text with? This very much depends on the font you have picked and the effect you desire if the font is thicker in parts then you can use a slightly larger crystal to replicate the effect otherwise there is no need.
Example 1. The above wording has used 3 crystal sizes, ss5, ss7 and ss8 you can get away with just 2 size to create this effect but the idea is to show you the difference between 1 size and using more.
Example 2. On the example above I have use one crystal size to crystallize the complete word bride using ss5 crystals. The fact that I have used only one crystal size doesn’t detract from the overall result I don’t think.
Thank you for reading the tutorial. Please give us your feedback and if you find the tutorial useful a like or share would be much appreciated. You can view our full Swarovski Crystal range of here