Adding rhinestones to your denim -- whether it be a pair of jeans, a jacket or a shirt -- can add some extra style and glitz to your wardrobe. There are multiple ways of embellishing your denim with rhinestones, including sewing the stones onto the fabric, gluing them, ironing on adhesive-backed stones and using manual applicators. You will need to purchase a certain type of rhinestone depending on which method you select for embellishing your denim.
Design your pattern. For rookie embellishers, start with a simple design, such as a pattern of alternating colors or a basic flower. If you have more experience, use more complicated patterns and designs, like a bouquet of flowers, a rainbow or animals.
Mark your denim, using a washable marker or fabric pencil to note where each individual rhinestone will be affixed to the fabric. If you're using several different colored stones, you may choose to use multiple colors of markers, with each color marker representing a color rhinestone.
Place the denim fabric on a hard, flat surface, which makes it easier to apply the rhinestones. If you'll be attaching the rhinestones to the leg of a pant or the arm of a jacket, insert a piece of cardboard between the two layers of fabric to prevent the rhinestone from attaching itself to multiple layers.
Select your method of embellishing. Choose from gluing, ironing, sewing or using an applicator. Check the kind of rhinestones you purchased are compatible with the application method you choose.
Dab the back of a rhinestone with a small bit of fabric glue. Press it firmly onto the marked spot on the fabric. Check the instructions on the glue bottle to see how long it takes the glue to dry.
Remove the self-adhesive backing from iron-on rhinestones. Pick up the stone -- either by hand or with tweezers -- and place it onto the denim fabric. Press the stone into place. Some self-adhesive rhinestones can also be ironed into place. Press a hot iron onto the rhinestone for 20 to 30 seconds until the glue on the back of the rhinestone adheres to the fabric.
Sew the rhinestone onto the fabric. Use a higher-gauge needle to accommodate the thicker denim material. Select a color of thread that matches the denim, such as a shade of blue. Tie a knot in one end of the thread, and begin sewing the rhinestone into place, looping the thread through the holes on the rhinestone.
Place the rhinestone in the applicator. Depending on the type of applicator you use, you'll either place the rhinestone inside so the part with the prongs -- which grips to the denim -- is facing up or down. Align the applicator with the spot on the fabric where the rhinestones will be attached, and press down firmly on the unit. Check that all the prongs on the rhinestone are securely fastened to the denim.