Introduction: How to Make a Tiara.

Picture of How to Make a Tiara.

Since Valentines day is coming up, I made a tiara for my princess. I'm not sure if she'll ever wear it but, I hope when she sees it in her room she knows her daddy loves her. Now, time to make something better for her Mom =).

It's made from 14 gauge steel wire, silver solder, and pink hot fix crystals. This is how I made it.

Don't forget to enter the the jewelry and Valentines Day contests. Good Luck!

Step 1: Set Up Your Materials.

Picture of Set Up Your Materials.

You can get all the materials from your local hardware store. The only exception is the hot fix crystals. I got those from a craft store.

Materials list and approximate costs:

  • Zinc coated steel wire: $10 for 100 feet.
  • Silver solder and flux paste: $12 for the pack.
  • Hot fix crystals: $3 for the pack.

This project will only take a fraction of your supplies so you will have plenty left for other projects.

When you get the wire it will be in a coil. Straiten it out by clamping one end in a vice and twisting the other end in a drill. A few twists and the wire will be straight as an arrow. I learned this trick here.

Is zinc coated wire (galvanized) safe to work with?!?! The short answer is YES. If you eat the wire then you might get sick. If you purposefully overheat large amounts of this wire you can get metal fume fever. You can read more about zinc and the human body here. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2872358/

Step 2: Cut and Mark Your Pieces.

Picture of Cut and Mark Your Pieces.

It's very easy to design your own tiara so, how many pieces you cut is up to you. This is my cut list though.

  • 12" x 1 each, for the head band.
  • 9" x 1 each, lower arc.
  • 6" x 2 each, upper arc and cam lobe.
  • 3" x 4 each, end pieces and lower arc pieces.

Mark the 9" piece in half with a fine sharpie. Do this as well for one of the 6" pieces.

Step 3: Form the Initial Curves.

Picture of Form the Initial Curves.

I used a spray can to form the initial curves. Do this for the 9" and 6" pieces you marked in half.

At this point I also filed the ends of all the wires flat.

Step 4: Add the French Curves.

Picture of Add the French Curves.

To do this step you need a section of tubing with a notch filed in the lip. You can get a good look at this in the 5th picture.

Start by bending in hooks at the ends of the wire with needle nose pliers. Make sure the hook follows the initial curve. Next bend the circle shape you marked at the halfway point so it looks like a pencil drawing of a bird. Place the hook on the end of the tube and roll it into the initial curve. Do this to both ends on the 9" piece. You'll also do this on the 6" piece but use a smaller diameter tube. Make sure the pieces lay flat. If not, adjust them so they do.

Step 5: Form the Center Lobe.

Picture of Form the Center Lobe.

For the center lobe, bend the other 6" piece in half to about 45 degrees. Guessing the halfway point is OK here since the free ends will be trimmed off. Take a socket and form the lower portion by holding it with pliers and bending it around the socket. Cut off the free ends on the lower left hand "corner" of the lobe. File the ends so they line up.

Step 6: Design the The Rest of the Pieces.

Picture of Design the The Rest of the Pieces.

All the rest of the pieces get a hook bent in and then curved using a notched tube. Again make sure your pieces lay flat. At this point use your pliers to crimp the hooks shut. These crimped hooks will be the mounting points for your crystals.

Step 7: Polish Your Hammer.

Picture of Polish Your Hammer.

We are about to start flaring our wire. It's very important to use a hammer with a smooth face. If your hammer has nicks and scratches they will transfer with every blow. I am using my diesel ball peen hammer. I sanded out any marks with 220 grit sand paper and then polished it on a buffing wheel.

Step 8: Flare Your Curves.

Picture of Flare Your Curves.

Flare the curves with your hammer. Do this by hammering on the side of the curve which is perpendicular to the hair band. See the first photo. Crimp the ends again if they opened up from hammering.

Step 9: Soldering Prep.

Picture of Soldering Prep.

Make sure your parts are clean. The cleaner they are the better joint you'll get. I used rubbing alcohol to clean up. Next, brush your parts where the solder will be placed. If you have never soldered, check out my tutorial. I like to hammer my solder flat and snip pieces off of it.

Step 10: Soldering From the Top.

Picture of Soldering From the Top.

I started soldering on a piece of aluminum. I did this because the steel will bond together but it will not bond to the aluminum. I used the edge of the aluminum to line up all the pieces that needed to be strait.

Once the solder melts and bonds to the wire it is a matter of seconds before the wire turns black. If the wire turns black, you have applied too much heat. You must remove this oxidation in order for the soldering process to work.

Step 11: Soldering From the Bottom.

Picture of Soldering From the Bottom.

Solder flows towards heat. You can get a stronger joint by soldering from the bottom. Do this for all the joints you can. The downside is how fast the wire heats up. Remember, too much heat ruins the joint.

Step 12: Bend the Tiara to Shape.

Picture of Bend the Tiara to Shape.

This is the nerve racking part. I used my propane bottle to bend in the circular shape. This puts a lot of stress on all the joints you just soldered. Place your fingers on the joints to help reinforce them while you bend. After you finish go through each joint. Some will have cracked. Others may have separated. One by one, brush on more soldering paste and reset each joint with your torch. Keep in mind, if you apply to much heat to a general area your tiara might de-solder and fall apart.

After this bend your 12" wire on a circular form. I use my propane bottle again. Solder your wire work to your head band.

Step 13: File and Polish.

Picture of File and Polish.

Some of my joints had too much solder. I filed the excess away. After that I chucked a bar in my lathe and wrapped sand paper around it using a piece of tape. This removed any uneven marks from the flaring process. Last, I polished it with buffing compound on a buffing wheel.

Step 14: Add the Crystals

Picture of Add the Crystals

These crystals have a tiny amount of heat activated glue on their backs. I like to use a heat gun to get them hot enough while I hold them with a tool. I made this special little tool from a bullet shell. Isn't that funny? Bullet shells and tiaras? Sounds like another project or TV show.

Step 15: Clean Up.

Picture of Clean Up.

The front is all shined up but the back still has some oxidation on it. Use fine steel wool to clean up any dark spots. To finish the head band I looped the ends and filled them with solder. Finally, wash off any polishing compound with soap and water. I find a toothbrush works well.

Thanks for reading.

Comments

AlfasoTaylor (author)2017-09-09

Awesome

instructablesfan123 (author)2016-05-21

omg this looks exactly like a real princess tiara bravo

kart15 (author)2016-04-05

lovely

warriorethos2 (author)2016-02-20

Mrballeng, nice work on the tiara. Your instructable makes it look easy to make pageant crowns for all types of occasions. I was a little confused on the method you used to straighten the wire and I will have to look at the link(s) that you provided but overall this was a good instructable. Good luck in the jewelry contest.

crystaline (author)2016-02-18

wonderful, thank you

wold630 (author)2016-02-09

It's gorgeous and you're daughter is adorable wearing it!!

Mrballeng (author)wold6302016-02-09

Thank you!

Blakeney (author)Mrballeng2016-02-12

Gorgeous tiara, and sweet gift for your little girl. But I second the mention about being careful with zinc fumes - they can definitely be harmful, at least in large concerntrations - http://www.anvilfire.com/iForge/tutor.php?lesson=safety3/demo

CreativeChloe (author)2016-02-12

Very impressive! And such a sweet gift for a little girl to get from her dad!

xenia003 (author)2016-02-11

This looks very good and professional! Great project

pheenix42 (author)2016-02-11

You've done it again, sir. I was thinking of making something like this for my cousin's fiancee when they marry, and here you've gone and done it!

desertsniper (author)2016-02-10

careful, zinc is kinda toxic... good build though.

desertsniper (author)Mrballeng2016-02-10

But soldering it does!, be cautious of those fumes!

silvertinkerer made it! (author)2016-02-09

I do like the construction of this. My only concern is the zinc steel you made this from. Not good for the body. I would have used straight mild steel or even better stainless steel. You could also use brass, polished up would look like gold. Pictured is one I made for a friend for her wedding. Sterling silver, rose quartz, opal, & pink pearls.

Alywolf (author)silvertinkerer2016-02-10

I make and sell crowns, but only a few are soldered and only the silver ones. How do you solder brass. I use a lot of brass and copper but I have yet to solder them with out silver, or the brass at all. Is there a Brass solder out there?

silvertinkerer (author)Alywolf2016-02-10

I use hard silver solder. I normally try to make the joints as small as I can, solder from the back so it is not as noticeable. You can use yellow silver solder. it is available at rio grande. I have not used it myself, but it is out there.

wiccanbear (author)Alywolf2016-02-10

with brass you do braising. it has a bit of a different look but comes out beautifully. i work with copper and silver. when soldering either use the silver solder. it works best and yes you do have to do a little clean up of the solder but over all it's worth it for the sturdiness of the joining. i've included a random picture of the nets of a brass braized tiara for reference. it is not mine and i sadly do not know whose it is, but i would love to because its beautiful ^_^

Blackcloud161 (author)Alywolf2016-02-10

Not sure but...

http://www.airgas.com/product/Welding-Products/Fil...

Maybe that is what yer looking for.

For brass and copper focus on Brazing rather than Soldering.

oh forgot to mention read further down on that link (show more) to see the part about copper and brass.

PS Voted!!

Gorilla22 (author)2016-02-10

What diameter pipe are you using?

Simran Sharma (author)2016-02-10

Very beautiful tiara

Penolopy Bulnick (author)2016-02-09

That is just amazingly awesome!

lmperkins (author)2016-02-09

Very nice instructable. Love your work!

sunshiine (author)2016-02-09

What a gorgeous tiara~ trust me she will wear it~ I would wear it~ Thanks for sharing Mr B. Have a great 2016~

sunshiine~

oscardelben (author)2016-02-09

Thanks for this tutorial! I am actually looking for this because my niece would act as a little princess in a school play and this is a perfect tiara for her.

emilyvanleemput (author)2016-02-09

Beautiful!

Tarun Upadhyaya (author)2016-02-08

This is so neat and beautiful :)

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