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!

11 November 2013

The Holidays are Upon Us!

 Some of these are older pieces, like the Pony hat that I just kept not finishing, and the two mini crowns/bun covers that my sister made some time ago. But the first three pieces below are all new! So check it all out:

Silver and Blue Headband
 I handcrafted this from wire, ribbon, bead strand, a vintage Avon brooch (it's a really lovely brooch, too!) and some blue faceted crystal bead danglies. More simple than most of my work, but the blue is very eye catching!

Detail of the crystal charms and Avon brooch.

Golden Empress Tiara.
 This is a very grand piece, with a vintage Monet brooch as its centerpiece. Glittery gold sprigs adorn both sides of the tiara, and the band is wrapped in glitter gold ribbon. I've added a large rhinestone to the center of the flower brooch.

Cabochon Emerald Tiara.
 This is a petite design, using my own handcrafted glass marble and polymer clay gems (remember when I used them in my hair clips here and here?

Christmas Crown
Well, it wasn't really a Christmas Crown until I added the glittery red holly berries. My sister made the crown sans berries. The pine sprigs are very high quality, they look real! And the twine adds a very nice rustic look. This is meant for wear as a mini crown or bun cover.

Silver Vine Crown.
This is another mini crown/bun cover made by my sister. I added the sparkling leafy vines to it.

Sparkle Pony Hat.
And the piece de resistance! The 4th pony hat! Remember when I said I was going to post this soon, and then "soon" turned into a couple of months? The long wait is over! Silver pony hat is now available.

Pony has been coated in silver spray paint and silver glitter, with rhinestone eyes, silver pipe cleaner tiara, and silver ribbon ankle and neck adornments.

The hat is handcrafted from cardboard and a beautiful embroidered silk fabric. The fabric is literally one of a kind: I got it from a huge ZeroLandfill even in downtown Seattle, and there were tons of samples from Eddie Bauer and other local businesses.

21 October 2013

Mini Crowns Galore

My sister made a lot of small crowns some time ago, but never listed them! So I took matters into my own hands, and took photos and posed while wearing the crowns myself. They are quite neat, and it's cool when she adds stuff to my shop, as they're different than the things I make.
  She basically made a bunch of mini crowns/bun covers. They are easily secured using bobby pins, or for two of the crowns, she made some patching hair pins.

Autumn Mini Crown.
 This is a mini autumn-colored crown, with sparkling bronze leaves and bright shiny berries. This will fit a large bun.

Red and Gold Mini Crown.
 This is a more interesting design. My sister left the dark metal unadulterated, and adorned the design with gold bottle caps and silk covered beads. Rhinestones adorn the bottle caps. This one looks a bit Asian-inspired to me. It comes with two hair pins, which can be seen as the two swirls of metal to the right and left of the tiara.

Silver Crab Claw Crown.
 This is another very interesting design. The crown is this solid webbed piece of wire sculpture, which is covered in a rainbow string. Then the whole piece was coated in sparkling silver glitter. The rainbow can be seen in the inside of the crown. Red painted crab claws decorate the outside of the mini crown. Two glittering swirl pins come with this one, and they can be seen sticking out of either side of the top of the crown.

Harley Quinn Crown.
 This is a super cute Harley Quinn-inspired crown/jester hat. Harley is a super cool villain from Batman. This mini crown is lightweight, and is composed from wire and painted masking tape.

Mini Icicle Crown!
 This one is totally an Ice Queen crown! It is super cool, like long icicles sprouting out, and small sparkling crystals and pearls dangling from each point. It is made entirely of wire and glitter. An awesome piece!

Mini Princess Crown.
 This one is a bit of a princess crown. It's covered in sparkling purple glitter, metallic gold pipe cleaners, and it has large gold sequins dangling from each point.

Purple Mini Crown.
This crown is entirely made from wire and purple glitter. It is a series of swirls that have all been connected into a glob shape. Super fun!

Rainbow Mini Crown!
You all should know by now that I freakin' love rainbows! This crown is super cute, it's made from wire and is covered in that rainbow color-changing thread. A decorative gold ribbon loops around the tiara is a pattern. Unique and cool!

13 October 2013

Snow Queens and Leprechauns

 I love Ice Queen and Snow Queen tiaras! It seems funny to me, but other people also love those types of tiaras. They always sell very fast whenever I put them in my shop. Well, I've got three new icy tiaras, plus two green ones.

Grand Duchess Tiara.
 This reminds me so much of the Romanov Nuptial Diadem. The shape of this tiara is definitely a bit Russian. But anyways, I am so proud of myself! I made 6 new tiaras in about 2 hours. For sure, a new record for me.

The Grand Duchess Tiara is made out of acrylic rhinestones, kind of like the style that you see on those antique chandeliers. Rhinestones also line the top of the tiara.

Frosted Crystal Tiara Headband
 This is another snowy queen tiara. A simple headband with a frosted sprig. It's simple, but dramatic, for a very cool accessory or to go with a costume.

Snow Empress Tiara.
 This is one of my more unique tiaras. It is made off of a simple tiara band, with a mini wire crown shape in the middle. Acrylic rhinestone shards dangle from the tiny crown. Snowy sprigs decorate either side of the tiara. It's simple, but it's very cool.

A Leprechaun Tiara! This could also be useful for woodland fairy themes.
 My first leprechaun tiara! Why did I not think of these before? I may have to make some more variations of these before March. Tiny glass rhinestones adorn the tiara. As an added bonus, the tiara is extremely light weight.

Peacock Aigrette Tiara.
And of course, the peacock aigrette. The original Peacock Aigrette went to my grandmother. She's at that age where she doesn't care what people think, and she wore it around Seattle's Fremont neighborhood one Saturday. Such a sweet lady. Anyways, I made the aigrette a made-to-order item, and I sold one. Yay! So I made two, to list another, and send out one. It's a little different than the original, not as tall. The feather is a bit differently colored.