01 April 2014

Photo Touch Ups with Photoshop CC

I am not the best photographer in the world, as can be witnessed by some of the awful pics I need to redo of items in my Etsy shop! :(

But luckily, I am a graphic designer as well a fine artist, and I consider myself somewhat of a whiz at Adobe Photoshop. The current version I use is Photoshop CC.

I want to share a video slideshow I made below of the different steps of editing an image of myself wearing a tiara I recently made. I first adjust contrast and brightness, then use the healing brush tool to fix blemishes, and then use a Gaussian blur history brush to take out wrinkles and hair. I then do touching up with the clone stamp. This pic was a bit weird, I took the selfie with a point and shoot camera, but my mouth and nose are way large in the pic, and my eyes look far too small! So I enlarged my eyes, added more blue color to them, then did some warping and transforming with the image to make my proportions seem more normal. Watch here:

The tiara is one I made from repurposed jewelry that a friend didn't want anymore. It wasn't expensive jewelry, but it was too nice to throw away!

A beautiful black and pink butterfly and flower necklace is attached to the front of the tiara, and goes across the forehead. The tiara itself is a very petite design of black painted metal with little briolette pink acrylic gems dangling from fronds. The pink gems were repurposed from a pair of earrings. It is such a cute piece!

A detail of the tiara.

27 March 2014

And some more tiaras in March

And these are some more tiaras this month. The gold and green one is actually a revision of my gold woodland tiara. I was never extrememly happy with the design, so I've added a buncxh of pretty stuff to it. There is a multi-tiered green gem necklace that hangs across the forehead and is attached all along the bottom of the tiara. I also added vintage goldtone chain in swirling loops to the front of the tiara. It is now a grand elven crown!

Elven Empress Tiara

 This is a remake of a tiara I did ages ago. It is Esmeralda's tiara from the Disney cartoon The Hunchback of Notre Dame. This one is slightly different than the previous one I made, but mostly just because it's a bit tricky to make. This is a custom item for a lady in Poland.

This is another custom item, this time for a lady in Canada. It is a remake of my Empress series of tiaras (I did a post a while back that showed three different versions of the same tiara). This one is meant to look like antiqued silver, with transparent red gems and little white pearls adorn it in spots. I find the silver color interesting on this design, I was so used to it being gold on the three other ones!

And lastly, this is the third commission I've filled this week. This one is a purple spartan-style tiara. It is a remake of my Autumn Leaves Crown, which had this same shape, but had crushed leaves all over the front of it. It was quite lovely. The customer who wanted this said I could paint the tiara, and she wanted it purple and gray. She also loved the hematite beads on the other tiara, and luckily I still had some hematite beads laying around!

Bachelorette Party!

 I finally found a tiara design that people are ordering left and right! A lot of people make bachelorette party tiaras that say "Bride" on them, so I made my own version. So far, customers have been really happy with them!

Pearl Bride Tiara. This is a gold tiara with faux pearls on it.

Rhinestone Bride Tiara. This is a gold tiara with rhinestones on it.

Silver and Rhinestone Bride Tiara. This is new! It is silver with rhinestones.
These are all made-to-order tiaras, but anytime a customer purchases one, I try to make a bunch more. I just made 5 additional gold colored ones, and I wait until another sells before putting the rhinestones or pearls on them.

29 January 2014

Custom Empress Regent Tiara

Empress Regent Tiara with blue stones

I sort of like doing these posts where I show all the iterations I've made of a tiara. I made the bottom tiara first, as I had these beautiful crystal beads that I wanted to showcase. Someone visiting my shop saw that tiara, and wanted one in the same design but with different colored stones. So then I tried a slightly different design, since I did not have large red crystals.

I make a sort of bezel out of polymer clay, fit a flat glass marble into it, and then string some wire through and bake it in the oven like that. When it's done baking, I pop the marble out, file the clay as needed, then spray paint the whole bezel setting gold. The marble I take and paint whatever color is need onto the flat side. I paint a thick enough layer so that the color is really rich and vibrant. I then add the smallest amount of glue to the inside of the bezel, then pop the marble back in. I don't need much glue since the fit is so tight. I can then add these hand crafted gems to the tiara frame.

Something I didn't quite notice before is that I seem to be losing pearls in every successive design! The first tiara has three pearls with the crystal, the second one has two pearls next to the bezel, and then the third one has only one pearl. I wonder what happened...I mean, obviously I didn't have enough room to add any more pearls. What can I do? Also, the name changed for each tiara. Hmm...maybe I need to be more consistent?

Gold and Ruby Tiara

Queen Regent Crown

28 January 2014

Ocean Temptresses

It really is the most fun to make mermaid tiaras. There are some words to keep in mind when coming up with mermaid tiaras: seaweed, pearls, sunken treasure, shells, fishermen nets, fish, water, and fish scales. So, any combination of these make for a fun mermaid tiara! This one uses an oyster shell. I've used epoxy resin to secure gold tone chain inside the shell, along with a faux pearl and gold tone filigree earring, loose faux pearls, and a small strand of faux pearls. Dangling from the oyster shell on chain are green crystal beads. They are meant to hang at the front of your face. Green sparkling seaweed adorns either side of the shell, and green sparkling craft findings with large kelp-like balls add volume. The band is covered in a shimmery green ribbon, and then I've added a frayed green netting, almost imitating a bridal veil. It is longer on one side, so that, evidenced by the below picture, it can flow with long hair. The green netting has been sprayed with gold glitter spray to add a glimmer. This was a fun piece to make!

Pearly Mermaid Tiara.

And another fun tiara! I used gold mussel shells on a tiara some time ago, which a lovely mermaid enthusiast bought. Because that design worked so well, I wanted to try something a little different. You'll probably all have noticed that I have a tendency to never make the same tiara again, unless someone commissions me to do so. I have way too many designs in my head to make the same thing over and over! This tiara uses four large mussel shells which have been reinforced with some epoxy resin, then sprayed gold. Faux pearls and green crystals are spaced between the shells, and then a sparkling green seaweed is placed on top of everything. Such a lovely piece, if I do say so.

Temptress of the Sea Tiara.

27 January 2014

Tiaras for Brides and Brides-to-be!

I certainly didn't invent the idea of a "Bride-to-be" tiara, but after seeing many different versions of them crop up all over the internet, I decided to try my hand at one! I've spiced up my version of the bachelorette tiara by adding a row of faux flat pearls to the base. They balance nicely with the pearl I've added for the dot in the "i."

The version pictured is for sale, naturally, but after this one sells, this will be a made-to-order tiara. Please allow up to two weeks for me to make one especially for you. The time spent on making it will depend on how busy I am. I am currently job hunting, so I've got some free time on my hands...

Bachelorette Bride Tiara.
And I've recently made a new Bachelorette Tiara! This one is with acrylic rhinestones instead of pearls. The same design, but slightly different!

Rhinestone Bride Tiara

...and, because I made the "bride-to-be" tiara above, I made a "just married" tiara as well! While you could wear the bride tiara at your bachelorette party, wedding maybe, and your honeymoon, I'd say the "just married" tiara is more for the honeymoon, or at least the trip to the airport, and the time spent waiting for the plane. You know how some brides wear their dresses to the airport so that they have an excuse to wear it longer? They could wear a tiara like this instead or with their dress! I think it'd be cute.

Same as above, the pictured tiara is for sale, but once this copy sells, it will be a made-to-order tiara.

Just Married Tiara.

25 January 2014

Flowers, College craziness, and... Sperm!

This is a lovely, classical flower headband/tiara. I handcrafted the frame from wire (as always!) and attached a sparkling green grape leaf to it. The band is wrapped in a sheer green ribbon. Pink hydrangea flowers adorn one side, and a pale pink crystal is in the middle of each flower. 

Hydrangea Headband with Crystals.

I came up with this design after thinking about tiaras with people's initials on them. Remember the "RN" tiara I made? Then I kept thinking, what if people wanted three initials? Then I thought of what other symbols/characters I can do, and when Greek letters came to mind, I immediately thought, Sorority! I've never been to a university, so I have not had the experience of being in a sorority, but I hear that they are like family, which sounds so nice! This is a random sorority I found online, Delta Upsilon Theta, but I can do any three Greek Letters, and also in as big a quantity as desired. Just give me a few weeks to get them made! Also, tiara is available in either gold, as shown, or silver.

Edit: I have been asked to take this listing down from Etsy, as the above sorority is a copyrighted/trademarked term. If you would like a similar tiara, it will have to be a custom order on the side, as I cannot list it again. Thanks.

Sorority Girl Tiara.

This tiara I am super excited about!  I have collaborated with my friend, Bethann, who runs The Silly Sperm Shop on Etsy. She supplied the sperm, I showed her my tiara sketches, and I made this tiara! It is crafted from wire, paint, ribbon, and two Sperm stress balls (obviously, their heads have been cut off). This is a huge piece, meant for a costume or party, or I thought Burning Man would be an appropriate occasion for this tiara. After all, you are wearing the Safe Sex Mascot on your head!

This tiara is meant for men or women!

Sperm Tails Tiara.

19 January 2014

Custom Initial Tiaras

 I've had my custom initial tiara listing for a long time, and I finally got an order to make a custom one! I suppose I never considered more than one initial, so when my customer wanted the title "RN" on the tiara, I thought, why not? They wanted it silver with white flowers. My original "example" tiara, with my initial of "A," is gold with pink flowers. I like both color combinations, and it's interesting how they still look like they belong to the same collection!

The initials "RN" for Registered Nurse.

The original tiara (not for sale, but as it's a custom item, you choose the letter(s). I know the Cyrillic alphabet, so I can do any of those characters, and I could do Greek or other simple symbol languages. For a single initial tiara, order one here, and for more than one letter, send me a conversation over Etsy, and I'll make a custom listing for you.

18 January 2014

Out with the old!

 Whenever I make a tiara that I really don't like, it seems that most other people don't like it much either. The tiara above was an experiment in design for me, but I never really got to liking it much, and after listing it my shop for something like a year or more, I finally unlisted, took the watch face off of it, and then tossed it in my wire box. It sat there for a very long time, and I could not think up what to do with it, but I didn't want to completely disassemble it.

A week ago I went through all my supplies and sorted everything, and I discovered that I had tons of silver colored things. I've made a bunch of what I called Silver Trinket Tiaras, and when I found I had a ton of supplies left to make just such a tiara, I decided to turn my old sunburst tiara above into an awesome silvery wintery thing.

I left the red glass flower beads, and they sort of peak out from the silver, as if to ask if winter is over yet. I added a lot of rhinestones to the piece, including a whole row to the bottom of the tiara. The tiara is now a huge, grand Empress piece, rather than the interesting, but somewhat odd, design it once was.

Gumdrops and Sprites

 I say it every time, but I have waited too long to make a tiara! It's been at least a couple of months since I've made one, or at least it feels like it has been. These are some of the design that have been floating around my head recently.

Midnight Tiara

A simple tiara of black crystals. Quite small enough for everyday wear, and because it's black, won't look too fancy with a pair of jeans.

Gumdrop Princess Tiara

A huge fan of Candyland, this tiara is a perfect accessory for a candy-loving princess. Gumdrops are not real, by the way, they are just really realistic. I also wouldn't recommend licking them :)!
Woodland Peacock Tiara. It's actually a headband, I suppose, but a VERY fancy headband!

This has all sorts of sparkling bits, including green glass rhinestones, a green sparkling seaweed sprig, and a turquoise sprig that weaves in and out of the lovely green silk flowers.

Winter Queen Tiara
A small winter piece. Most of my winter-y creations are large and obvious, but this is a rather nice smaller one. You could wear this everyday, and is perfect for winter when you're feeling depressed from lack of sun. Because how can you not feel happy when you're wearing a tiara?

Woodland Sprite Tiara. Well, also technically a headband.

This tiara is rather large because of the leaves, but it sits close to the head, so is not as obvious as it might first seem. It is like one of those fancy hats Queen Elizabeth II wears (see pic below).

My inspiration for the above tiara? Perhaps, but subconsciously.

14 November 2013

Wire Tiara Tutorial

 I am going to try something new on here! I've had the idea to do a tiara making tutorial for a while, and I've noticed that quite a lot of people flock to this blog searching for a tiara how-to. Well, this is my test post! Read below for instructions on making a tiara!

 These are the basic supplies you'll need:

1 can silver, gold, bronze or other metallic or non-metallic spray paint color
1 bottle of Mod Podge
1 pair wirecutters
1-2 pairs needle-nosed or small-sized pliers you can use to bend the wire
14-16 gauge wire (use a wire that you can bend fairly easily, but is strong enough to keep it's shape
when handled gently)
18-20 gauge silver wire (found at any craft store for about $3)
Glue gun with one gluestick (optional)

Beads, pearls, rhinestones, or whatever else you want to put on your tiara, plus contact cement type glue or epoxy resin

1. Cut 30 inches of wire, and fold in half.

2. Make a loop where you folded the wire, and start twisting the wire around itself.

3. Make sure to keep the twist uniform. It helps if the wire ends are splayed out, like in the above picture, rather than as parallel pieces of wire.

4. When you get to the end, leave a little less than an inch of wire. Take one end and bend it into a loop. The wire I use is coated in a thin layer of oil, to keep it from rusting, hence my dirty hands!

5. Take the other end and wrap it around the base of the loop you just made, to help secure it. It helps to use two pairs of pliers at this step.

6. Now take your twisted wire and bend it into a headband/tiara shape. You should also make sure that the band fits your head right now. You can also readjust it later, when the tiara is finished.

The band is done!

7. Take another length of wire 20 inches in length and fold in half to find the middle.

8. Feel free to copy my design, but you can do your own thing here! The center point of my wire is the loop in the heart. I then start to bend the wire evenly on both sides to get as symmetrical a design as possible.

I just go with the flow, and bend it whatever way suits my fancy.

Now we have a finished symmetrical design for our tiara.


9. Cut 4 equal pieces of wire about 2 inches each. If you desire, you can use a thinner wire here, such as a 16 gauge copper or brass wire. I like to use the same thick gauge I use for the rest of the tiara because it makes for a lot more of a stable design that won't move around, but if you are not as experienced in wire work as I am, you will want to work with a thinner gauge.

 10. Take each 2 inch piece of wire and attach the design to the frame.

You can attach the tiara to the frame in as many places as you like, but since this is a very simple design, attaching it in 4 places is sufficient.

I attached this particular design in between the heart and loops, and then on the last scrolling loops.

The tiara is now firmly attached to the frame!

11. Now to hide that ugly wire frame (well, it's also got some pokey sharp pieces that we want to protect your head from). Take a length of ribbon about 15 inches long and 1/2 wide. Ribbon color doesn't matter, as you will see below. Lace it through one of the loops at the ends of the frame.

Take the ribbon and wrap it around the end of the ribbon, and continue wrapping the ribbon around the tiara band.

You can then choose whether to loop the ribbon into the design, like I did above, or lace the ribbon underneath the design and wrap it just around the frame. When you reach the end of the tiara, hopefully you haven't run out ribbon! If you have, you may need to re-wrap the tiara, and not overlap the ribbon onto itself so much. Glue the end of the ribbon in place with a dab of hot glue, or if you don't have a hot glue gun, use a little bit of wire and secure the ribbon end in place.

12.  Now that the tiara is built, we are going to paint it with Mod Podge. "Why?" you may ask. There are several reasons why I do this. One is that the wire I use rusts when it is around moisture, so the Mod Podge prevents this, and two is that the dried Mod Podge (it is both a glue and a protective varnish) will allow the spray paint to stick to the wire. Third, the ribbon is now completely glued down, and is a permanent resident of the tiara.

I dry my tiaras on a plastic storage container lid, since Mod Podge doesn't stick to it. Depending on how warm it is in your home or outside (if you choose to dry it outside), it will take between an hour and 3 hours to dry.

13. Now that the Mod Podge is dry, we are going to go outside and spray paint the tiara frame. Make sure to turn the tiara all around and get into every nook and cranny. One coat normally works when I use metallic spray paint, but feel free to put additional coats after waiting 15 minutes between each coat.

Allow the spray paint to completely dry, between 20 minutes and an hour.

The tiara is coming together!

14. Now we are on to the fun part! If you wanted to attach beads to the tiara, now is the time. Take your thin silver wire and cut into about 2 inch lengths. I used faux grey glass pearls on my tiara.  Wire the beads onto the places where you want them.

I attached three large gray glass pearls to the tiara.

Then I decided I also wanted to add some rhinestones! I used high quality acrylic rhinestones. You don't want to use super glue to glue them onto the tiara frame, as super glue is very thin, and it also is damaging to plastics, and will mostly likely ruin your rhinestones. I use a type of glue called E6000, which is a contact cement. It is very thick, and remains flexible when dry. You can also use Epoxy Resin if you already have it, it is just thinner than contact cement and you will have to make sure the rhinestones don't slide around before the resin dries.

I used three medium-sized rhinestones to balance out the design.

 The finished tiara! Not including drying times, this took less than an hour to make.

If you want to purchase this tiara, visit my Etsy shop!

15. Enjoy wearing your new tiara!