*DISCLAIMER* suggestions throughout the tutorial are MY opinion, feel free to disagree or do it differently!
As much as being an NPC/IFBB competitor is about the training and dieting for weeks upon weeks, you are judged mainly on your overall presentation and "look" in the bikini division, since there is not much to judge as far as muscle mass, development, maturity, symmetry, etc. Unfortunately, like many sports and hobbies, politics go into judging and placement, and you want to look and feel your absolute best. Your suit is one of the MAIN aspects of your appearance, so it is important to make sure it is up to standard and compliments your body/skin tone/hair color !
Of course, you want to choose something that fits your personal taste, but I see a lot of girls choose suit colors/cuts/designs/rhinestones that make the suit tacky, juvenile, & not very clean cut or professional. If you look at the top bikini Pro's, they all wear a bold/primary colors (red, blue, green, purple) that are fully encrusted with rhinestones. No fancy designs, swirls, or multi color rhinestones; simple is more appealing and clean looking.
In the Figure division is where you normally see funky designs and colors/patterns, but the bikini division remains fierce and feminine by keeping it simple. This being said, the fully covered competition suits on the market now run anywhere from $400-$1200 from brands like Ravish Sands, Buff Bikini's, and CJ's Elite. ANYWAYS- This Instructable is going to teach you how to get a full-bling, Pro-Status Suit for under $200 !
IFBB Pro's L to R: Ashley Kaltwasser (3x Ms. Bikini Olympia), Michelle Sylvia, Janet Layug, Tiffany Urrea
Step 1: Choosing Your Base Suit/Cut
Company: Depending on your budget, you can online shop hundreds of stores that sell plain bikinis(with connectors) and start from there. From what I found, these suits can range from $55-180+ for just a plain one, and you really do get what you pay for. I chose Ravish Sands because they have very cheap (for me) "Quick-Ship" suits in one tab that are pre-made, BUT you send your bottom measurements (hip, waist, glutes, etc) so they can determine which size to send you and where to sew the connectors. It was $75 plus shipping and I got it in a week!
- Ravish Sands
- Katkini's (shopenvy) very cheap plain suits
- Waterbabies Bikini's
- Toxic Angelz Bikini
- Angel Competition Bikini's
-100's more !
Color: Primary colors are the safest, like I said; red, blue, and green seem to be the more appealing colors, with the occasion of purple, black, and a few others. "Cute" colors like hot pink, orange, yellow, or mint usually wash out the skin and makes the look of the suit a little too dainty and fun (in MY opinion), when you want to be bold and fierce!. So it's easier to just get a statement primary color, because EVERYONE can rock those !
I CHOSE: teal/blue/green -ish hologram !
Cut: Top size is easy; websites will have a chart on which size will fit your cup size best. IF you are going to stuff your top with padding/stuffing get ONE SIZE LARGER bikini top !!!!
-TIP: Ravish Sands "Quick Ship" size Small top would fit an infant, I returned it for a size Large and I am only a small B cup. (I am stuffing the suit as well)
Depending on body type, a lot of women/girls like to play it safe and choose a higher coverage bottom. If that is truly what you're comfortable with than choose what you feel best in, but the more minimal-cut bottoms are more appealing to most all bodies/booties! If you have really stand out glutes/hammies, a pro/mini cut will make them look amazing; and if you don't have the biggest glutes, choosing a cut thats smaller and less coverage can create the illusion of bigger glutes ! You can see in the picture with the red bottoms how GREAT the model looks in the pro-cut, and what a shame it would have been had she chosen the mid-coverage, which hide her glutes :( !
Connectors: If you're ordering a plain suit, the connectors usually are an additional fee, and can be up to $30 per pair, so take that into account when choosing which company ! I did not like the Ravish Sands connectors that came with mine [last 3 pics] (there are no substitutions on quick ships :/ ) So I found a set of 5 (two top, two bottom, 1 middle) on Etsy for $18! They are not great quality though so I would not recommend
Step 2: Choosing Your Rhinestones
Rhinestoneguy.com is the cheapest I found for crystals, whether its the Czech Preciosa that I used, or Swarovski ! Order by Phone, based out of Florida, USA.
other: -MJtrim.com, dreamtimecreations.com, etsy.com, ect.
Crystal= plain crystal, average reflection, clear/"white"
Crystal AB= crystal aurora borealis, has an iridescence and picks up other colors on the spectrum!
Color Crystal= flat/plain color, ex. Emerald crystal, flat green, does not reflect much if at all
Color AB Crystal= Colored aurora borealis - SUPER reflective and picks up such gorgeous color in your fabric !
I would only recommend AB versions of the stones (plain crystal/clear, or color) for ultimate glam and sparkle !
Color: choose a color closest to your suit color in it's AB FORM. My suit is a teal/blue and there are many different blue stone colors, but I went with Emerald AB because I wanted it to reflect more green/teal.
Size:"ss" stands for "stone size" and I would recommend, for this look, ss16. You can do ss20 , there is another Instructable on a DIY suit using ss20, but I think they look too chunky/big.
Many suit companies and rhinestone companies offer sample cards to send you ( ~$20) so you can see the colors in person because it is so difficult to tell rhinestone colors and reflections via digital image.
Step 3: Materials
Once you determine where to get your base suit, here are the other materials you need!
- Ravish Sands Quick-Ship suit [color of your choice]
- Rhinestones: background : 1 gross= 144 pieces, for a fully covered suit you need at least 10 gross (1,440 pieces) I USED: Czech Preciosa Flatback's in Emerald AB from rhinestoneguy.com. (He is the cheapest for rhinestones I did my research) There's a lot of hype about using Swarovski Crystals because of their name, but the website owner said that in his opinion, the CP crystals are shiner and look better than Swarovski from 4+ feet away. I used ss16 (ss= stone size), ss20 looks to chunky and tacky for me.
$49.99 for 10 gross
- E6000 Glue; theres many forums on this glue vs. GemTak and other fabric adhesives...long story short, E6000 is the best and I even talked to someone who makes suits and that's what she uses.
-Corsage Pins: Found at Michael's/any craft store. Use them to stretch and pin the suit to the surface you work with AND to place the glue on the stones.
-Styrofoam Dome/Half-Circle: Found at Michaels, easy surface to pin your suit to ! (You can also use a pillow, bowl, or ottoman !)
$12 at Michaels (RIP OFF, you can get it for $2-6)
TOTAL: $145 ! + ($18 connectors/$25tailor fee) = $188
Step 4: Applying Rhinestones
1. Stretch fabric of top or bottom onto styrofoam and pin it in using corsage pins
Step 5: Applying Rhinesones (cont.)
2. Take a NEEDLEPOINT amount of the E6000 glue (thats all you need) on the point of a corsage pin.
Step 6: Applying Rhinestones (cont).
3. Pick up back of rhinestone with glue-topped pin, place it down where you want on the suit, slide the pin out from underneath and press the stone down for 3 seconds. Tip: the glue takes a minute or 2 to dry, so if you need to move up/down/over a bit you have time !
Step 7: Applying Rhinestones (cont.)
4. Repeat this step 1 by 1 in straight lines with minimal spacing to achieve a full coverage look
It took me around 15 hours of labor, in increments of about 5 hours, to complete this !
Step 8: Time Consuming, But We're Done !
Step 9: Before and After
Hope you enjoyed ! Leave any questions in the comments and I'll try to answer ! :)
Make a suit that makes you feel beautiful and confident, but this is definitely mine (and some judges) preference !