Disco bras are everywhere thanks to Lady Gaga. However despite the flood of them for sale as a result, not that many are done well. Of course this means I had to make one to round out my disco outfit (see disco ball helmet), and it was a pretty quick project that you can do in an afternoon.
Step 1: What You Need
The supplies for this are super simple:
- Bra (best to use one that is foam lined/lightly padded to give some structure, as the tiles have some weight to them)
- Mirror tiles (loose is better than those sold on a sheet for this application)
- Glue gun
- Small strip of fabric that matches your bra
- Glass cutter (not pictured, inexpensive and available at most hardware stores)
Before getting started, put some thought into your tile size. A quick google search will show you the range of disco bra styles out there. Lady Gaga's and some of the nicer copy cats out there use very small tiles, so it is easier to have a more seamless look without having to cut glass. Larger tiles will look sloppy and require large gaps unless you cut the glass to shape, which is what I've done in this instructable (I used 1/2" square tiles). If you want to avoid cutting tiles and gaps will bother you, I would recommend going smaller, although it will be more time consuming. Both 1/2" and 1/4" square loose tiles are easy to find and inexpensive on ebay.
Step 2: Start Laying Tiles
The next decision is how you are going to fill in the bra. There seem to be two main styles - ones where the rows start at the top and reference that line all the way down (seems to work best on balconette/strapless style bras), and ones where the rows follow the top edge and underwire edge and meet at the middle at an imaginary seam. I found that ones with mirror lines coming from both the top and bottom would allow for fewer gaps, and work better with a standard style bra like mine.
I used a glue gun, and glued them one by one to make sure the glue was hot enough to make a lasting bond. From wearing this bra all week at burning man two years in a row, I will say that I've lost three tiles. There are probably better glues out there, but given the ease of the glue gun I would probably just do that again should I make another one.
To start I laid down a row along the bottom of the bra along the underwire, and then a row along the top. I then followed the top row until it reached what looked like a natural place to have a seam, to complete the top half of the bra.
Step 3: Create a Clean Edge
At this point I ran one more row along the bottom, until the rows met at the side (first image is pictured one row shy). Now for the first round of cutting. Before filling in the rest of the bottom half of the bra, I evened up the tiles along the side by cutting and breaking as shown. This can take a little practice, but is pretty easy once you get the hang of it. Cutting a clean edge is key to having your finished bra looking great.
Step 4: Fill in the Bottom Half
Continue gluing rows of tiles up from the bottom line until you reach the seamline. There will be a lot of overlap. Lay the overlapping tiles down without gluing, and mark the cut lines with a marker. When you finish laying out the tiles, go through and cut all of your edges clean, and glue the remaining pieces down.
If I were to do it over again I could have spaced all my rows just slightly further apart to avoid having the small gap left in the middle as you can see in this picture, but I just filled it with small mirror slivers.
Step 5: Finishing Touches
Last step! Because you will be wearing this thing, gotta protect yourself! The edges are quite sharp, and the ones right under the arms could do some damage. To protect my arms I glued down a strip of fabric to encase the edges, and it has worked great. Just be careful giving people enthusiastic hugs!
And with that, you're done! Go enjoy your fun new costume piece!