November 27, 2013

DIY bridesmaid hair sticks

I have vowed to post about all my wedding DIYs but as you can tell its taking me longer than I thought, but I will get there, eventually...

Deciding on hair accessories for my bridesmaids was a bit tricky, I knew for a fact I didn't want anything floral. I've said it before, it's not that I hate flowers but I just wanted to minimize the floral elements in my wedding as much as possible. I just wanted to move away from the misconception that a wedding needs overdoses of flowers to survive. I knew I wanted my bridesmaids to have their hair up, because there is just something so elegant and sophisticated about an updo. With that in mind I decided the perfect hair accessory would be hair sticks. I've always loved hair sticks and loved customizing them as a teen. For some reason I used to think they originated from the Chinese culture, but realized later they have origins all across the world, from ancient Rome, Greece, Egypt and Japan. Another reason I was attracted to hair sticks is because they are so versatile, they can be worn in many different ways, unlike the standard hair clip worn by bridesmaids which is usually always worn behind the ear.

Originally I thought I would order a set of delicate crystal embellished hair sticks for my bridesmaids, but when I searched online everything I found was either too plain or way to glittery for my liking. I've always been a simple girl, and I'm attracted to minimalist designs that have a quiet elegance. I was on the verge of just crossing the hair sticks off my list, when I came across an old pair of my own hair sticks that I had customized with ribbon several years ago. It reminded me that I could just make my own crystal hair sticks for my bridesmaids. Coincidentally at the same time I had come across a lot of blog posts that featured brides "blinging out" their wedding shoes with flat back crystals. That's when it hit me, I could use the same flat back crystals for my hair sticks! All I needed was to buy plain hair sticks and then I could embellish them myself. I already knew that Sally's stocked two-tone hair sticks by DCNL and since these hair sticks have flat sides like a square I knew they would be perfect for my project!

A flat back crystal is basically what the same suggests, a crystal with a flat back so it can easily be glued to a flat surface. They are available in many different shapes, sizes, colors and styles.Some of them are heat set crystals so you need a heat tool to activate the adhesive. I decided to start out with the professional pack by Crystazzi This pack has clear colorless crystals in multiple sizes so I could experiment with them. I also knew I would need more then one size since the hair sticks get narrow towards the tip.

Next I had to decide on the type of glue to use. All the information I saw online seemed to recommend E6000 glue as being the strongest and best glue for this kind of project. However when I actually picked up a pack of it at Michael's I was turned off by all the warnings on it. It is a really strong glue and gives off toxic vapors that can be harmful especially if used in a room with poor ventilation. Since I did all my wedding DIY projects in a tiny room with not so great ventilation, I just didn't feel right using this glue. I decided to make my life even harder by using my hot glue gun for this project.

The hot glue gun makes it ten times trickier for several reasons. Firstly the hot glue cools down extremely fast so its virtually impossible to position the tiny crystal perfectly on the hair stick before the glue dries.  In fact its impossible to even get the hot glue on the back of the crystal without the glue getting extremely messy, especially if you have a  large glue gun like mine. A mini glue gun would probably have been much better. I also tried putting the glue directly on the hair stick, but if you have worked with a large glue gun and a slippery surface such as these hair sticks,  you know how stringy, messy and difficult it can be for projects that require precision.  Needless to say it was a tough project. Just handling the crystals was difficult, I had to get out my tweezers because they were very hard to pick up with my fingers and I only had nanoseconds to pick up a crystal and position it in the hot glue before the glue cooled down and dried. 

It was a slow and tedious DIY task and I burnt my fingers more times than I care to remember, but I loved the challenge, and it was exciting seeing my vision come to life. After I completed the first pair I was really happy with how it turned out and I knew there was no going back. They sparkled in the light, but weren't too loud or too overdone.  In all, I  made a total of 10 individual sticks (5 pairs) but by the time I was done I felt as though I had done a thousand.

There were definitely moments when I wanted to just give up on this project because the amount of time it took just didn't seem worth it, but I'm glad I pushed through it. The look on my bridesmaids faces when I gave it to them the night before the wedding was worth it. They kept asking if they could really keep the hair sticks after the wedding and refused to believe I made them myself. I forgot to take pictures of the finished product so I recently sent a text to one of my bridesmaids to ask if she still had the hair sticks and if she could send me a photo for this blog post. Within minutes she sent me the awesome photos below! Its been 2.5 years and she knew exactly where they were and they seem to be holding up pretty great except a few missing crystals. Bridesmaid of the year? I think so!

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