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Rhinestone Machine Profitability

Making Money with a Rhinestone Machine

Facebook Bling Machine GroupIt’s no secret that ColDesi has a LOT of experience in a variety of different apparel decorating techniques – embroidery machines, the custom printed t shirt business with DTG Printers and a variety of different methods through Colman and Company our supply products partner. 

But no other technology has generated the kind of repeat customers, those people that have one CAMS Automatic Rhinestone Machine. 

We’ve analyzed 2 different scenarios to create a realistic ROI, or return on investment estimate for a rhinestone business. One is for a wholesale rhinestone transfer business that doesn’t sell finished rhinestone t shirts or gift items, just the transfers themselves, and one that sells completed rhinestone t-shirts. You’ll see our estimates of the Costs, Sale Prices and Gross Profit below.

Rhinestone Machine Wholesale and Retail Business

Review the scenarios we present, the either fill out a Contact Us form to get more information or go right to the Purchase Options page to find out about  leasing a system and getting started.


rhinestone machine roi

Cost for HotFix Rhinestones

How Much are Hotfix Rhinestone Transfer Supplies?

We’re using a large, 2 color/size design for our example. It’s one that would be time consuming and difficult to produce on a manual rhinestone transfer system, but simple with a CAMS 1V-6P.

Here are the rhinestones cost for creating this rhinestone transfer:

Hotfix Rhinestones
Siam (Red) SS6 (2mm) Hotfix Rhinestones – these are usually purchased in BULK of 1000 gross, or 144,000 stones at a time for $525.00/bag. That’s a little under $.004 per rhinestone.

[Pricing is current at the time the article was written]

This design uses 334 of those rhinestones to fill the star for a cost of $.004 x 334 = $1.34

Crystal SS10 is the most popular color and size stone on the market, so the cost of each stone is very low. Purchased in a bag of 500 gross, they’re just $.002 per rhinestone.

This design uses 266 Crystal SS10 hotfix rhinestones for a cost of $.002 x 266 = $.53

Siam $1.34 + Crystal $.53 = $1.87

Cost for Transfer Paper

Rhinestone Machines and Transfer Paper

Transfer paper as known as transfer tape is a sticky plastic sheet material that holds the rhinestone design in place.
There are several sizes to choose from but the most common size is 12” x 100mm (or 12” wide by 3,937” long) roll.

To take advantage of the transfer paper roll size use the HotFix Era Rhinestone software that comes with the CAMS, we positioned two 5” x 9” wide designs on a sheet.

[Pricing is current at the time the article was written]


100 meters = 3,937 inches and cost $154.50 roll
$154.50 ÷ 3,937 = $.04/linear inch


So allowing extra space on either side we used 10” of the transfer paper to create 2 rhinestone transfers. 
10” x $.04 = $.40 ÷ 2 = $.20


Your Transfer Paper cost is $.20 per transfer


Transfer paper cost is consistent so you don’t have to allow for colors, stone sizes, etc. Just figure about $.04 per inch when costing your designs.

Wholesale Rhinestone Profits

Making money selling wholesale rhinestone transfers is a pretty straightforward business. All you need to do is market your services to companies that sell T-shirts or sell custom T-shirts on a retail basis… and have a heat press.

To sell wholesale rhinestone transfers, you are typically creating a design, custom or resale and then producing as little as 10 or as many as 100 T-shirt rhinestone transfers for sale. It’s “straightforward” because you do not have to deal with shirt sizes, colors, types, styles, or materials, you’re just providing the rhinestone transfer itself and the retailer is the one that deals with the end user expectations about color, fit, etc.
This makes the math very simple too!
We estimate the design that we created for our cost example would sell for approximately $6.95, depending on quantity. So if your hotfix rhinestones cost $1.87 and the transfer paper $.20, the total cost is $2.07 for materials. That means you make $4.88 per transfer less labor and overhead costs.
$6.95 – $2.07 = $4.88 in Gross Profit per Rhinestone Transfer

Using the CAMS 1V-6P for Production

The CAMS 1V-6P, among it’s other benefits (uses up to 6 colors/sizes of stones making better designs and getting more money for them) works a little faster and will lay down 170 stones per minute. While it doesn’t seem like a lot, it will allow you to produce one more rhinestone transfer every hour.

$4.88 x 13 Designs = $63.44 hour

Using the CAMS 4H-3P for Production

If you plan on doing SERIOUS production work for major retailers, or plan on being a real powerhouse in the wholesale rhinestone transfer business, the 4H-3P is in a class all by itself and is well worth its over $112K price tag. At a speed of 600 stones per minute, this truly commercial rhinestone transfer production machine can turn out one transfer per minute plus 1 minute setup between giving you 30 rhinestone transfer per hour.

$4.88 x 30 Designs = $146.40

That price tag may seem like a lot, but when you consider that this rhinestone machine typically leases for under $2400/month, you can earn your lease payment in 16 hours of operation.

Costs of Doing Business

There are 3 main components to how much it will cost you to produce a rhinestone transfer, whether you decide to go the wholes rhinestone transfer business route or sell finished rhinestone t-shirts or decals. Those components are OVERHEAD, LABOR and MATERIALS. 

Overhead Costs

The cost of keeping your doors open, the lights on and any part of running your rhinestone business OTHER than labor and supply materials falls into the “overhead” category. You are going to have to do your own estimations of overhead, because there is no way for us to tell what those bills will be where you are. Or whether your working from home, a small office, renting space, paying taxes, getting pest control done, working by candle light or in a high rise suite in downtown city, USA. So in addition to overhead..

Labor Costs

Labor costs are another area where you’ll have to add in your own numbers. $12/hour for a machine operator in the custom apparel business is a great deal in many part of the country, but depending on your location anywhere from minimum wage way up the scale might be possible. Your cost may also vary depending on if you have someone just run the CAMS machine and heat press, or if you need creative talent as well.. OR if you are going to do it all yourself. Just jot down how much you think your labor cost is per hour and subtract if from our materials numbers below. 

Materials Cost

There are really only 2 supply items that you will consume with every rhinestone transfer you sell or use. Hotfix Rhinestones and Transfer Paper. 

Transfer Tape or Transfer Paper as it’s sometimes called, is the ScotchTape-like material that your rhinestones are stuck to, so you use some every time you produce a transfer. Once you heat press the transfer onto a t shirt or decal material, you will simply peel that away from the completed product. 

Wholesale Rhinestone Transfer Prospects

It’s no longer a secret – you can create custom rhinestone transfers using a CAMS Automatic Rhinestone Machine and make big profits by selling them to companies that aren’t in a position to make that investment, but are in the custom apparel business. 

A few potential customers for a wholesale rhinestone transfer business might be:

Custom T Shirt Shops – including screen printers and embroidery business professionals. They both ahve regular customers that may occasionally ask for custom rhinestone designs, and have no way to fill those orders. Once of these companies that is used to selling 50 embroidered polos at a time, or 100 screen printed tees, may get a special order for the same numbers from one of their corporate clients for a charity event, or even just a company party. That’s where you come in! These t-shirt shops already have a heat press, and will buy rhinestone transfer from YOU. 

Bling Start Ups – there are many entrepreneurs that can’t afford an automatic rhinestone transfer system and decide to go with a manual process. THEN they get a real order of 50 or 100 designs and just can’t fill the order. You can provide high quality custom transfers from your CAMS machine in a fraction of the time it would take them to make their own, and at a price that will make you BOTH money. 

Schools and Universities – the same goes for charities and other groups, but there are many organizations that will purchase a $500 or $1,000 heat press, buy designs from you and blank t-shirts elsewhere and sell the end product to fund their activities.