The Glitterings

As my little cousin Jessie said, “Sparkle is my favorite color!”

Cosmo Believes He Is SO Helpful To My Process

Cosmo-Kitty Believes He Is SO Helpful To My Process

I’m apparently going through my “glitter phase” as an artist.  It began out of necessity, as crafty things often do with me, then I discovered it is so very fun and easy.  And it looks so fancy, and yet whimsical in the end– I cannot stop!  I have turned into some sort of sparkle fiend.  I regret nothing!

Inspiration is such a fascinating thing.  I’m planning some swank nights out in the next few weeks and months, and I’ve dredged a handful of vintage cocktail dresses out of my closet that I’m excited about actually wearing (some of them for the first time ever).  But I was having difficulty with accessories for all of these gowns: wanting them to of course fit me and my personality; accent the ensembles well; do the jobs I need the pieces to do (like let me walk if you are shoes, hold my stuff if you’re a handbag, etc.); and of course, not cost me a fortune in procuring them.  Tall list of orders, especially since some of the dresses are pretty different from one another and there is no one-thing answer for each of these categories.  I can’t just get a new neutral clutch and be done with it, I guess…  or if that was a possibility, I didn’t figure it out.

I spent a week making custom jewelry pieces to go with the gowns, a process that in itself was fun and rewarding.  Every dress got its own pair of matching earrings, and an additional piece of some kind that best goes with the look, be it a bracelet or a pin or even a necklace.  This allowed me to mix in accent colors– for instance I really wanted to pull in some teal tones on my all-coral sixties number– and now the outfit will look cohesive, because the earrings and bracelet liberally use both colors.  Best part of all that is that I will have one-of-a-kind custom accessories, and for ostensibly free.  (Yes, my crafting time is valuable, and I did at one time pay for all of the beads, charms, and findings that went into making, but out-of-pocket expenditures were pretty slim.)

Masked And Sanded

Masked And Sanded

Jewelry is one thing, but belts and handbags are another entirely.  I have yet to get to the level of crafty that makes me feel capable of whipping up a pair of pumps.  I decided to experiment with some things I had on hand, to see how easily I could force accessories that were the right style to “match” my looks more closely.  For my New Year’s Eve outfit, I am wearing the coral gown with the teal touches I mentioned above, and I am seeking to add as much teal to the ensemble as I can, but I also want it to work with the era of the dress…  Sort of a tall order, I’m afraid.  I have been on Pinterest long enough to regularly see pins about glittering things, so I had the idea that I could maybe adapt some cheaper accessories to feel dressy and be the right colors.  But I didn’t want to dive right in and ruin something I’d spent actual money on, so this is where the experimentation comes in, of course.  Kill (0r revive?) a few already-dead pieces, and find out if it will work, and if I actually like the way it looks.  I dug through my yard sale pile and pulled out a few things:  one was a pair of sad slingback black patent pumps; and the other finds were two vintage handbags that were both pretty badly damaged.  The heels are fairly comfy and a style that I like, so that’s a plus.  However, the finish of the patent looked terrible, and I was worried that any wear was going to stress the shot-to-heck elastic holding the strap on, and I’d doubtless have a pump blowout at an inopportune time.  I see it now– limping, one-shoed, through the fanciest bar downtown.  Blargh.  That’s why they’d hit the pile to begin with.

Globbed On.  (Kitty INSISTED On Being With Me.)

Globbed On. (Kitty INSISTED On Being With Me.)

One of the purses I’d grabbed from the pile, a classic black fifties pocketbook, was just-as-pitiful.  It had an equally rough black patent finish that no magic eraser could, er, magically erase, despite still being a sturdy and functional bag.  It had been packed through an entire run of Barefoot In the Park, and just looked crappy.  Scuffs, marks, wear everywhere.

The other purse, a gold foiled mid-century clutch, was an exciting thing for me to find in my stash.  I’d totally forgotten about it.  I love the shape and size of it, and the time frame is perfect to accompany my 1960s New Year’s dress.  But of course the gold is wrong (all the jewelry I made is silver-based), and beyond that, one side of it was gouged with a big, heavy scratch in the foil finish.  I’d have to be paranoid all night about holding the bad side against my skirt or setting it good-side-up on the table.  No thanks.  Glittering would be perfect answer for it, as soon as I figured out if it was a good idea or not.

Last Stage

Last Stage

I fully scrubbed the black patent pieces to make sure they were clean, and decided to give them a test sparkle.  I opted to do a mixture of silver and black glitters, and only on certain parts of the shoes and bag.  I didn’t really want to thread the coated strap through the buckle, things like that.  My next course of action was to tape off the parts that I wished to leave black patent/ unglittered with painter’s masking tape, and then give the exposed parts that would be sparkled a quick roughing up with sandpaper.  (Wipe off dust with a damp cloth, of course.)  It’s a good idea to tape off the pieces first, that way you aren’t roughing the finish of the shoes/ bag in areas you want to leave exposed.

I selected a clean baby food jar from my garaged stash, added a couple of fingers of glossy mod podge, following with ample pours of “white gold” and black glitter, stirring thoroughly with a pop stick.  (Big hint I learned the hard way, DO NOT dilute your mod podge.  I ended up putting seven coats on the clutch because of this gaffe.)  I used a stiff brush to… well, I hate to say it, but– glob it on.  That’s the technical truth.  I was really just trying to get it on there in a nice, thick, semi-even coat.  The best way I can describe it is just globbing it on there, daubing on as much of the glitter-glue as you can in a rougher uneven texture.  It works.  I let each coat dry for a few hours at least (in one or two cases, overnight), and I gave this pair three coats each.  Before pulling the mask, I went through with a sharp blade and trimmed close to the edge of the tape, just to keep the line as crisp as possible and not stretch any of the glue with the pull-off.

The Papered Rise

The Papered Rise

While I was in the midst of mod podge mania, I decided to decoupage the rise part of the soles of the heels.  I didn’t want to do the parts where I need actual friction to walk, just the lifts where you occasionally get a peep of underside.  You know, where Laboutins are red.  I have some really nice black cardstock with silver foil designs, so I decided that I would use that.  I didn’t want to just chop into it however– it’s pretty expensive for paper– so I used a paper towel and a black fine-point sharpie to make a pattern of the part I wanted it to cover, trimming it out and making sure that it was the same size as the sole.  I then used it to snip two pieces of the swank paper, flipping the pattern over for the reverse shoe shape, of course.  Application of this paper was done via my usual process (described in several places on this blog), where I dipped the paper in water and adhered it with mod podge.

I also went in with a product called “Shoe Goo” (or something) made for specifically gluing shoes, and glued the straps straight down to the shoes, so if the elastic decides its kaput the shoe will at least continue to work for the rest of an evening’s wear.  I want eyes to be on me because I’m sparkly, not because I look like a freakazoid walking around barefoot in Autumn.

Finished Shoes And Bag

Finished Shoes And Bag

My Halloween Costume

My Halloween Costume

They are SO flashy and not for the demure– I will give you that– but they will make great accessories for my witchy Halloween costume for sure, and working on them answered questions about the process.  I went forward with the idea teal glitter on the golden clutch, following the same process of course.  I also glittered a fascinator, knobby wand, and spider ring for my costume; my cosmetic brushes (because they didn’t match at all and it bugged me); a handful of lighters (to go IN my awesome handbags, of course!); and assorted other weirdness.  I told you it was fun, and I’m officially obsessed.

I love Demitri Martin’s quote that “Glitter is the herpes of the craft world,” and I agree that it can be troublesome gunk.  But I also think that this takes the great thing about glitter (sparkles!) and completely makes an un-sheddy end product.  None of these things drop glitter of any kind.  No sparkle loss!  Hopefully I’ll score some shoes to match the NYE ensemble sometime soon, I know that come New Year’s Eve I will have a completely unique outfit.  I’m also pumped about wearing my matching diva-duo for my bewitching Halloween costume.  Should be fun!


Oct 29, 2014 | Category: Tutorial | Comments: none | Tags: , , , , , ,

 


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