Art Beat Box
You Are Reading
Rhinestone Art: How to Use a Wax Pencil Picker Tool

Rhinestone Art: How to Use a Wax Pencil Picker Tool


Bedazzling is so much fun. Especially when you have the proper tools! Whether you’re picking up rhinestones to embellish natural nails or you want to add some bling to your clothing, having a wax tip pencil is a total game changer.

I’ve tested and tried out several wax applicators and I’ve used them for both nail art and to add to paintings and 3D objects. I get a lot of questions about working with rhinestones.

Let’s break it down…

What is a wax rhinestone picker tool?

Let’s start out by explaining what a rhinestone picker is. A rhinestone picker is a tool used to pick up a rhinestone.

What is a rhinestone applicator?


A rhinestone applicator is any tool used to apply rhinestones. The three main tools for applying rhinestones are:

Wax Pen

Wax Pencil

Hot fix heat tool

The wax pen and pencil are both used as a picker and an applicator. The hot fix heat tool only applies the rhinestones, but you will still need a picker tool to pick up your rhinestones.


How does a rhinestone picker work?


The stickiness of the wax is just enough to pick up the weight of a rhinestone. The reason the picker works is because the wax has both the ability to pick up the rhinestone but also to leave it on the glue surface.

What do you use to grab rhinestones?

In my experience, these are the two tools that work best:

The dual tip wax pen

The dual tip wax pen comes with either a metallic body or an acrylic handle. The wax pen is two sided.

The end with the wax tip is to pick up the rhinestones easily. The metal end is used to move the rhinestones around if they begin to slide. The wax pen is more expensive because of this feature.

While I have used the fancier, more expensive wax pen a lot over the years, it doesn’t work as well for me for simply picking up a rhinestone.

There are a few reasons:

One, I find the wax hardens over time and becomes brittle. I haven’t had the same experience with the wax pencil perhaps because it can be sharpened.

Secondly, if the tip breaks off, your tool is useless. The only way to fix this is to order extra tips and then you’re spending more money for a sub-par product.

Additionally, the stainless steel metal tip sometimes gets sticky from glue and it ends up removing the rhinestone instead of simply relocating it.

The wax pencil

In my experience, the wax picker rhinestone pencil works best for picking up rhinestones.

The reason I love this wax pencil more than the others is because you can continuously sharpen the wax pencil using a regular pencil sharpener. This type of wax pencil lasts a really long time. Also, even though they do not have the stainless steel tip, the rhinestones can easily be moved around with the the sharpened tip of the wax pencil.

Conclusion: While I much prefer the wax pencil, I actually like having one of each. The wax pencil lasts the longest and can be sharpened but I do also occasionally use the stainless steel tip when I need to move things around.

What can I use to make rhinestones stick?

You’ll need a rhinestone applicator, a wax pen or pencil and some glue. You can also use a heat fix rhinestone with a heat tool.

As for adhesives, this is a bigger conversation which I’ve outlined in depth here.

What is the best gem picker?

The best gem pickers are the ones that can be sharpened. These are also known as wax pencils.

Can you sharpen a wax pencil?

Yes. You can sharpen a wax pencil. However, I recommend using a pencil sharpener designated only for wax. Keep the sharpener separate from pencil sharpeners. Standard handheld pencil sharpeners work best.

How to use wax pencil for rhinestones

First place a pinch of rhinestones onto the rhinestone tray. Rhinestone trays make the process of picking up rhinestones much easier because when you give the tray a slight shake, the rhinestones most rhinestones flip over so that the flat part is facing down. This makes using a wax pencil for rhinestones surprisingly easy! Having the right tools makes the job easier!

To pick up a rhinestone, you’ll want to sharpen the wax pencil and lightly touch the wax to the top of the rhinestone. Pick up the rhinestone and press it directly onto a dot of a glue. Yes, that is it! Easy peasy!

If the wax pencil leaves wax residue, wait until the glue is completely dry before you try to clean it. If you accidentally get glue on the surface of the rhinestone, clean it immediately because it is impossible to clean once the glue is hard.

Rhinestone glues are built to last! In my experience, it is oftentimes more time efficient to simply remove a rhinestone that has glue on the surface. For more information on what glues work best, check out my full study on rhinestone glues.

art beat box digital rhinestone course banner 1

What is the best way to apply rhinestones?

Using a wax pencil and glue.

What are wax pens filled with?

The wax pens found online are usually filled with crystals. They serve no purpose – they’re just to add weight and strength to the shaft. And to look pretty. Wax pencils, however, are filled all the way with wax.

How do you get a rhinestone pen to work?

For a wax pen, be sure the tip is attached to the body and simply press the tip into a rhinestone. No heat is needed.

Why are rhinestones not sticking?

If your rhinestones are not sticking it is either because you have used the wrong adhesive, you haven’t used enough pressure or you didn’t properly prepare the surface. See the next question for more information.

How do you make rhinestones stick better?

Rhinestone glue

The best way to get rhinestones to stick better is to make sure that you have the right adhesive. If you’re looking for a good adhesive for your rhinestone project, check out this post. While having the right glue is important, there are a few other things you’ll need to have in place for the rhinestone to stick:

Rhinestone picker

Having the proper tool is important because working with rhinestones takes a lot of time. If you take too long to get the rhinestone to the glue, the glue is at risk for drying. Rhinestone glues typically dry out quickly. Rhinestone pickers make the job go faster.

Clean surface

Make sure your surface is clean prior to adding glue and rhinestones. Rhinestones will not stick to a surface that is greasy. I recommend cleaning off non-porous surfaces using rubbing alcohol. For fabric, using a lint roller to remove any dust will make the adhesion better.


Once you place the rhinestone onto the glue, be sure to add pressure. If there is any space left between the rhinestone and the glue, the rhinestone will be easily removed. This is why it is important to not only place the rhinestone, but to press it down.

Can you use a colored pencil to pick up rhinestones?

A colored pencil can only be used to pick up rhinestones if you add your own wax or sticky residue to the tip. This is labor intensive and annoying. The colored pencil does not have enough stickiness to pick up rhinestones on their own. The colored pencil can potentially work on microscopic rhinestones, but is unlikely to work with most standard size rhinestones.

You might see people using white colored pencils to pick up rhinestones. They’re not actually colored pencils, they’re wax pencils, too.


White tip pencils for rhinestone art


How to use a white tip pencil?

White tip wax pencils look just like a pencil and can be sharpened as such. For some people, these are easier to hold since they are similar to an ordinary pencil. You can use the white tip pencil simply by pushing it onto the sparkly side of the rhinestone. White tip pencils are typically used for nail art.

What does the white color pencil do?

White color pencils are not typically used in rhinestone art. While the white wax tip pencil looks much like a colored pencil, it is very different. When searching for white rhinestone pencils, be sure to add the words “wax and rhinestone” to your search. This is an example of a white tip wax pencil.


Can you use rhinestone tools for nail design?

Yes! You can make beautiful nail art design using the wax pencil. If you’re a new nail art learner or an experienced manicurist, this will make your life so much easier! Once you pick up one of these handy tools, you’ll be making exquisite designs in no time.

And also pick up these favorite nail art tools so that you can use them to paint your toe nails, acrylic nails, false nails and more.

What do nail techs use for rhinestones?


Nail techs use a rhinestone picker and tiny, quality rhinestones. If working with a gel manicure, they typically use the gel as glue. The gel is a UV gel and very strong and hard to remove. It works like resin. Many nail techs also use the white tip wax pencils because they are easier to hold.

Do you put a clear coat on top of rhinestones?

No. Adding a clear coat to the top of rhinestones will make them dull. The purpose of using rhinestones is to add sparkle. Rhinestones work best when they are added as a last step in nail art or wall art.


For home use, I recommend actually buying one of each; the wax rhinestone picker tool and the wax pencil.

I do not recommend the heat fix tool. I find that the process is slower and the rhinestones don’t always stay on. You have to heat each rhinestone for ten seconds.

I use the wax pencil to pick up the rhinestones and I think it works best. I use my broken wax rhinestone picker tool (sometimes called a wax rhinestone pen) to move the rhinestones around – but I only use the metal end.

However, if you had to purchase just one tool, I would absolutely recommend only buying the wax pencils. You can use them for rhinestones, crystal beads, flat back rhinestones and more. I recently used the wax pencils in one of my classes to pick up sequins. I am sure you can pick up anything smaller than a cm diameter with this handy dandy little tool!

Looking for the best rhinestones for your next bedazzling project? I get some of my rhinestones from Amazon (linked above), but I get the bulk of my rhinestones from this incredible rhinestone online store. Use coupon code artbeat for 10% off all purchases!

Check out my Amazon Storefront for my must-have art supplies. Delivery times will vary but you can’t beat the free shipping!

Affiliate disclaimer: Although I stand by all of the products I use, I can receive a small commission from any products purchased via my affiliate links.

art beat box digital rhinestone course banner 2