Wednesday, April 23, 2014

DIY (and really DIY) Beaded Headbands

As a girl with a lot of unruly hair, I have always had a love-hate relationship with headbands. I love that they keep my hair out of my face and deal with the seriously horrifying fly-away situation I usually have going by the end of the day (my brother once told me, during a particularly image absorbed time in my adolescence, that my hair looked like a blowfish, and I have yet to shake that thought). But, I hate that when I wear headbands I look like a child. Even in work clothes, headbands give me an unmistakable "take your daughter to work day" allure that I cannot rock in the classroom. So as of late, headbands are out, unless I'm going to the gym.

Naturally, this means that the only headbands I get to use are functional elastic bands. Cheap, easy, and boring. Of course, now that they're really not practical for me to own, I have been lusting over those sparkly beaded ones at the trendy little gift shops. You know the ones: hand beaded sparkly little numbers attached to an elastic wrap that are purely decorative and really scream boho-chic? You love them, admit it.
A few months back, against my better judgement, I bought one. I was so pleased with myself that I did something bold and wore it on a trip to the beach. And by noon it was gone forever, lost to the sand or surf. That figures. Decorative little headbands are for girls who spend their days sitting around looking proper; they're not for gym going or sand castle making. No, the sad reality is that girls like me need the heavy-duty line of headband with the stick-em on the back and that you have to peel out of your hair. And frankly, fancy little gift shops don't get that.

But you know me. I'm not going down without a fight. So I said those dangerous words, "I could make that."

My first stop was Target for a pack of Goody Slide-Proof headbands (about $5). Then, I treked out to the LA garment district in search of some sparkly beaded trim to adorn them with. At my fifth stop I finally found a place willing to sell me a little bit (rather than an entire yard of) beaded trim. I paid another $5 about 5" of sparkly rhinestone trim.

I went home, pulled out my hot glue gun and set to work. I was excited about my project for the evening, and really amped myself up about it. Headbands, lets do this!
Step 1: cut a small piece of felt (the only thing white and no-fray I could think to use) about the same size as the trim.
Step 2: glue trim to headband.
Step 3: glue felt to trim.
Three minutes after I began, I unplugged my glue gun and felt utterly let down. That was it?  I didn't make that. That was like the frozen pizza of crafts. And worse yet, what happens when I want to make more in 6 months and I live far, far away from the LA garment district?

So, to JoAnns I went for 2 bags of beads, beading needles, and 1/4 yard of woven interfacing. I came home and found a few patterns I liked online, a quick tutorial on how to bead, and my embroidery hoop. In about 2 hours, I made mt first "feather" style appliqué. Starting with the seedbeads in the middle, I made "veins" of 5 beads each close together until the feather was about 1" long, then went around the outside with the longer beads.

Feeling sort of on a roll, I next made a floral pattern, starting with the 5 long beads pointing out like a star (to give me a base to work from) and working 2 lines of seedbeads around each one to make each petal.
I'll admit, my own beaded creations don't have the sparkle-factor of rhinestones, but they were much more rewarding to make (and I did find this website where you can order rhinestones for beading, so watch out...)

Once the appliqués were prepared I carefully cut each one out using sharp scissors (yes, you need sharp scissors). I used a little Aileen's Tacky Glue to cover and secure any threads on the back and to attach the appliqué to some "blackout" curtain lining I had kicking around. Again, this is a no-fray, white fabric that I thought would work better than the bulky felt.

Once the appliqué was secured to the blackout fabric, I carefully trimmed around each one (carefully, you cut one thread and your hours of work will dissolve in your hands), and cut a second piece of blackout fabric that was roughly the same size and shape. As you can see, I use the term "same" very loosely (bottom right)
Out came the hot glue gun for the same process as in my first: glue on appliqué, glue on backing.
But this time I was far more satisfied by the spoils of my labor. Look, world, I made this!
And if you were wondering, taking photos of your own head is a far more humbling experience than one might expect.