Intro: How to Make a Jeweled Headpiece
In this instructable, I will show you how to make this 1920's inspired jeweled headpiece. Although probably not an everyday kind of accessory, it would be rather regal and stunning for the right occasion. As an added bonus, the foil and duck tape base will prevent extraterrestrial life from reading your mind in case of an invasion, while still staying fashionable. I wish the pictures could truly capture just how sparkly it is. I have included a few variations to show the versatility of this headpiece. I also added some helpful tips and tricks. If you have any questions, please ask away!
Step 1: The Base
I have been a little obsessed with headdress lately. After making the Golden Goddess Headdress, which uses a padded wire base, I conducted more research and decided to try a different method. I really like the base of this headpiece. It is simple, fast, cost effective and a custom fit. I think you could use this base for many kinds of headdress/headpieces.
For this base you will want to gather the following items:
1 Roll of Duck Tape
A pair of Scissors
1 Roll of Foil
A Plastic Headband
1 Foam Head
Since you will be able to see some of the color coming through the jewels, I picked white duck tape. You can make this jeweled headpiece in multicolor or monochromatic jewels. If that is the case, you can elect whatever color duck tape you like.
I used heavy duty foil but regular foil will work just fine.
Although you do not have to use a headband, I would suggest it for this headpiece. The headband will add a little extra hug to the head which you will want with the weight from the jewels.
I used a foam head from Michael's. They did have a female head, however, the male one was closer to the size of my head. If the size or shape is different from your own head, there are some adjustments you can make. If the foam is too big, you can cut, shave or sand it down to your measurements. If the foam is too small, you can use plastic wrap and/or masking tape to build it up.
You can use your own head for an exact mold. You will still use the steps that are to follow, however, will need a pen to make some marks on the outside of the duck tape layer before removing and trimming away the excess material. It would be helpful to have a buddy give you a hand with the foil, tape and markings. You will want to mark the bridge of your nose, both brow bones, both temples, the top of both ears and the base of your skull, this way you know where to trim it.
Step 2: Base Phase I
Start by taking sheets of foil and smoothing them over the head one at a time. Alternate the sheets of foil going front to back and then side to side. You will want somewhere between 4-6 layers of foil. Make sure that the foil covers the entire top of the head from the bridge of the nose to the base of the skull and from ear to ear. Smooth the foil as best you can to keep it tight against the head.
Trim the foil similar to a stocking cap. You want to be able to see where the eyes and ears are at. Trim around the back of the head as well, creating a nice line.
Step 3: Base Phase II
Place the plastic headband on the mannequin similar to how you would wear it.
Cut strips of duck tape and place over the foil from front to back. When all the foil is covered in tape, cover with an additional layer going from side to side.
Remove the base from the foam head. Cover the foil on the inside with duck tape. For the strips going side to side, use one hand to hold the headband at approximately your heads width while laying the tape strips inside.
Step 4: Base Phase III
Place the base back on the foam head.
Pick a design for your base and then cut away any of the base that does not fit your design. Be cautious not to remove too much from the back. I personally would not remove any higher than the top of your ears. You need it to hang over the back of your skull so it does not fall off when you look down. You could cut a peak in the back, in which case, I would suggest duck taping a stiff wire molded from the headband to the tip of the peak.
When satisfied with the shape, remove from the foam head. Use small strips of duck tape to adhere the inner and out shell, hiding the foil in the middle.
Congratulations, you now have a completed base! On to the fun part!
Step 5: Draping Jewels
For this step, you will want the following supplies:
Hot Glue Gun
Scissors or other sharp pointed object
Needle Nose Pliers
Rhinestone Appliqué - Optional
You will want to find a necklace that has metal hooks connecting all the beads. You can sometimes find long strands connected in this manner in the jewelry section at craft stores. I believe I got this necklace, at Burlington Coat Factory.
The rhinestone appliqué is just personal preference. I typical purchase my appliqués at Fabric Depot, but there are many designs you can find on eBay and Amazon for a great price. If purchasing online, be sure to look at the appliqués measurements, as sometime the photos can be deceiving. If you elect to use an appliqué, apply it to the base with hot glue.
Decide where you want your first strand of jewels to drape. Once you decide what length works best, bend the metal loops and unhook it form the strand. You will want to make two strands of the same length, if you want it to drape on both sides. If your necklace has a pattern, be sure to pay attention and make sure that both strands are completely identical.
With the sharp point of your scissors, poke a hole through the duck tape. Loop the metal hook through the hole and bend close with your pliers. Place a second hole where you would like the other end of the jeweled strand to end. Again place the open hook through the hole and then close with your pliers. Complete this for the opposite side.
Measure out where you would like your next strand and continue the process till you are happy with your draping jewels. You can also attach the strands to each other. I did this with the ones connecting by the nose.
If you hook into your appliqué like I did, use hot glue on the back side of the attachment. This will help prevent the jewel strand from tearing through your appliqué.
Step 6: Adding Height
If you want to add height to your headpiece with long feathers, picks, or floral stems, you will want to complete this step. If you want a smoother low profile headpiece, you can skip this step and the next two steps. I will also show you how to remove it in a later step, should you change your mind, or realize it needs a placement adjustment (see step 17).
For the next two steps, collect the following items:
1/2 Sphere Foam Ball
Hot Glue Gun
16 Gauge Wire
Spray Paint -Optional
Step 7: Foam Prep
Decide where you would like the foam to go and mark around it with a pen.
As you may have noticed, the foam does not sit nicely on the head. With a spoon and/or knife ( I used both) slowly carve away the foam that is keeping it from sitting against the head. Every few scrapes, place it back against the head to check your progress.
Optional- Once you are satisfied, spray paint the foam the color of the base. You don't have to spray paint the foam, but I feel it helps blend it into the base. It may spare you some grief down the road when you are decorating it. Sometimes it can be difficult to completely hide the foam from every angle.
Step 8: Attaching the Foam
Once the paint has dried, use floral tape to wrap around the foam in both directions making a plus sign. The foam sometimes becomes weak when it gets a lot of stems pushed into it. The floral tape and the wire (to follow) should help maintain its integrity.
Place some hot glue on the bottom of the foam and place in your desired location. You will want to use wire to secure it in place. This is very important, as the hot glue alone should not be trusted to hold the foam on the headpiece. This is especially important if it is off to the side, like I placed mine. Bend a piece of wire over the top of the foam and to the other side. You will want it to overhang about an inch on both sides of the foam. Duck tape the overhanging wire down to the base. Repeat with a second piece of wire that should cross over the first.
Step 9: Attaching a Necklace
For this step you will need:
Needle Nose Pliers
1 Tiny Drill Bit, 1/16 inch
You can use this step for attaching a necklace to your headpiece, or if you would like to continue draping jewels around the back of your headpiece.
Run the drill bit through the center of the bottom of the headband which should be hidden beneath the duck tape. Drill the hole on both sides of the headband.
With your needle nose pliers, adjust the necklace to your liking. You can do a single loop or multi-loops. Attach the necklace to the holes in the headband.
Step 10: Edging With Trim
Decorative trim is a great option for around the edges of a headpiece. It really can give it a nice finished look. Although I could have been satisfied with just draping jewels around the back, I thought that showing the addition of trim was worthwhile. If your trim has a pattern, be sure to buy a little extra, so that you can adjust it a little one way or the other.
There are many styles of trims that you can use for your headpiece. Trims can be made with beads, pearls, rhinestones, sequins, tassels, fake coins and fabrics. For example, you could use multiple layers of lace trim to create soft ruffles down the back. Some stores have them separated out into multiple sections of the store, so be sure to look around if you are not seeing what you want.
What you need:
Enough trim to cover the desired area
Hot Glue Sticks
Hot Glue Gun
Lay out your trim and determine where you need to cut it. Place a small amount of glue on both sides of where you plan to cut. This will keep the treads from coming out and losing your pretties. Once the threads are locked in place with glue, cut away your section of trim.
With the hot glue gun, attach the trim to the base in short increments. I would suggest only an inch or two at a time. Because mine had a pattern, and I wanted to be sure the peak landed precisely in the middle of the back, that is where I started gluing my trim. Hold each section down for a few seconds before continuing to the next couple inches.
Step 11: Embellishing Crossing Points
You can embellish crossing points with buttons. Fabric Depot has a great selection of jeweled buttons in the bridal section. If you elect to do this, it is very simple and can add some fun character. All you have to do is unhook one of the loops at the crossing point, hook the button embellishment on it, close the hook and voila. Repeat on the opposite side or anywhere you desire.
Step 12: Covering the Base
You will need to gather a variety of jewels to cover the base. A few appliqués will help cut down on the time it will take to cover the base in jewels. You will want to collect a variety of sized jewels from about quart size down to little tiny beads. I collected appliqués, beads, special occasion trim and scrapbooking embellishments from Michael's, Joann's, Fabric Depot and eBay for this headpiece.
For the smaller embellishments that will fill in around the larger ones, I would suggest a minimum of 8 different jewels, some of which can be the same kind of jewel, so long as it is a different size or shape. If you do not have a wide selection, you will always feel like you are putting the same jewels right next to each other.
Other needed items:
Hot Glue Gun
Needle Nose Pliers
Step 13: Covering the Base Phase I
Start by adding all your appliqués. Adhere them to the base with hot glue. If your appliqué has extra fabric around it, trim it off before placing it on the base.
Apply any jewels that are the size of a quarter or bigger. If they have a metal loop on the back for sewing or stringing, try to remove them with plies.
Tip: Put E6000 around the outside of the back and a dab of hot glue in the center. The hot glue will give it a very fast hold and the E6000 will give it a lasting hold.
Step 14: Covering the Base Phase II
On a paper plate, prepare your small embellishments. Spread E6000 over a small portion of the base. I would only suggest doing the size of a quarter at a time. One by one set the embellishments into the E6000. You can use the point of you scissors or a needle to help position and turn the smaller beads. Continue this process of smearing glue and setting embellishments until the parts of the base you want are covered.
Tip: If you have a hard time picking up and placing the small jewels, try this trick. Cut the end off of a Q-tip. Place chapstick on the cut end of the Q-tip. The chapstick should stick the jewel to the end of the Q-tip so you can place it on the base. If it is a heavier jewel that is still too tiny to pick up and place with your fingers, and too heavy for the chapstick to hold, you can try double sided tape on the end of the Q-tip.
Step 15: Feather Option
You will want to completely jewel your base before starting this option. You may notice in the pictures that my base is not completed. This is due to the fact that I am just showing this as an option, and not completing mine this way.
For this option you will need:
1/2 Yard of Feather Trim
2-3 pins, 2-3 floral pins or hot glue
7-8 Long Ostrich Feathers
7-8 Medium Ostrich Feathers
Use hot glue or a few pins through the center of the stand of feathers and secure it to the base of the foam. Line your ostrich feathers up from shortest to longest. Place your longest three feathers in the center of your foam. Stab the stems in until they are securely held. Continue going around these with the other feathers working down to your shortest feathers.
Step 16: Flower and Pick Option
You will also want to be sure your base is completely jeweled before starting this option.
For this option you will need:
4-5 Pearl Decorative Picks (Joann's)
5-6 Poinsettias (Michael's)
You can use whatever floral stems and picks you like. The above listed items is just what I used in this option. I would highly recommend using stems with wire as they are easier to manipulate.
Start by parting out the pearl picks. Gently pull it apart into three separate sections. Trim away any extra wire. Since the foam is not very deep, you will need to trim most of the flower's stem off. With most of the stem removed, place your first flower in the center of the foam. Start placing the peals all the way around the base of the foam, curling in different directions.
Add poinsettias until it looks full and the foam is covered. I found I needed to part out one of the poinsettias much like the pearls, to fully cover the foam. Lastly, add some pearls coming out of the upper part of the headpiece.
Step 17: Removing, Replacing or Repositioning the Foam
If you like the idea of being able to switch out the top of your headpiece it is totally possible. Maybe you want feathers in it today and flowers in it the next. Perhaps you want to change the colors from time to time. Well, you are in luck and it is a pretty easy fix.
Your foam will wear out and need to be replaced the more you switch it up. As such, you will want to leave the wire overhangs accessible so that you can access and replace the foam. If this small access point bothers you, you can try covering it with the flowers or feathers you are using or hot glue a large jewel over it. You should be able to carefully remove the jewel and hot glue, when it comes time to replacing the foam.
Perhaps you thought you wanted to add a little something on top but are now second guessing that decision. Not a problem.
Have you come to realize that maybe you should have positioned the foam an inch further back or maybe a hair higher. That's okay, we can fix it.
Here is how you do it-
Start by removing the duck tape that is holding the wires down. Remove both wires. Holding onto the foam, give it a good twist. It should pop right off. There will likely be some green foam and glue left behind. You can remove it with your fingernails or a sharp object. If you are replacing it, shape a new foam piece to fit, and glue and wire back into place. If you do not plan on replacing it, put a nice new layer of duck tape down and you're good to go. If you plan on re-positioning it, follow the steps in the original application in the new desired location.
Step 18: Completing the Left Side
What you will need:
Hot Glue Gun
Original Jewels Used
Any Additional Jewels
3 Small Flowers
3 Large Flowers
I selected my flowers from the embellishment section and from off of a headband. You can also use flowers from the floral section. Removed the flowers from their stems, packaging or whatever they may have been attached to.
Roll a small piece of duck tape and place it on the back of the flowers. Stick the flowers on the headpiece. Move them around until you find a configuration that you are happy with. One at a time pull them off and remove the duck tape. Put a ring of E6000 on the back with a dab of hot glue in the center. Place back into position. Continue until all the flowers have been glued into place.
Like before, add any large jewels. Remember to use your pliers to remove hooks that may be on the back. Once they are in place, continue adding the smaller jewels in small sections at a time. Be sure to lift up the flower petals to get underneath a ways. If you don't do this, you risk seeing the base from some angles or if it is a breezy day.
Step 19: Completed Jeweled Headpiece
I hope you have enjoyed this instructable and have found it to be helpful. I would love to see what you create. Please feel free to ask if you have any questions. Happy crafting!
Runner Up in the
Glue Challenge 2016