This is an update of a how-to I did for the now-long-gone alt.gothic.fashion zine 2.0. It covers basic hairstick fabrication, painting/finishing and decoration methods. You can make beautiful, sturdy, designer/funky hair sticks for a fraction of the cost of pretty but friable plastic sticks, and they are easily made of found objects and household items, with minimal tools, and minimal skills.
For the moment, it is illustrated with my own old sketches from the article, but I plan to replace these with clearer vector graphics as soon as I can. Photos are all of sticks I've made and used, or sticks made for others. Some are still going strong after 8 years.
Step 1: Materials and Tools
Materials Wooden sticks:
- thick skewers
- straight sticks
- chopsticks - old chipped lacquered ones, disposable ones, half sets, etc.
- colored nailpolish -cheap ones are especially good for this, as are colors you like but don't wear
- Paints - any paint that can be covered by a clear gloss without peeling or chipping easily. Thick acrylics or matte finish paints are not recommended, but super thin acrylics, airbrush paints, modeling paints, spray paint, etc work great.
- Clear, glossy nailpolish or clear glaze, clear spray gloss is fine.
- Food coloring or watercolors to stain the wood if you want
- wood filler or epoxy for filling any splits or dents.
- Ribbons, cut strips of fabric, shoelaces, yarn, cords..
- jewels, stones, small shells, buttons, felted beads
- little plastic toys, knicknacks, party favors
- decals or low-profile stickers
- Wire - I use jewelry wire, but I've also used recycled electrical wires, floral wire, armature wire, etc.
- glue - something appropriate to the purpose - ribbons are fine with thin cyanoacrylate glues, but heavier or irregular objects need epoxy or resin glues, or jewelry adhesive to withstand use
- decorative garlands, strung beads, old jewelry
- fabric paint for decorating ribbons or fabric dangles
- whatever you can think of
- Saw or pruning shears - for trimming your sticks
- Pencil sharpener - for the pointy bit
- Sandpaper or nailfile - for smoothing the surfaces
- xacto knifeor whittling knife - alternate method of making pointy bit
- pliers for shaping wire decorations
- Cotton swabs for stain application
- clothespins and line or
- Lump of modeling clay, floral foam or small bucket of sand/rice/etc - for holding the sticks while they dry or while glues set