November 10, 2014

(Ice) Queen for a Day...

My Ice Princess

The Making of an Icicle Tiara

I promised in my All-Hallows Aftermath post to provide some more information on the construction of the crown or tiara that I made for my costume this year. When we started out on our search for suitable party gear at the second-hand and thrift shops in the area a couple of months ago, I really had no idea what I was looking for. Our theme, as I mentioned in a previous post, was a Princess Party. It originally came about after my oldest granddaughter's remark one day while we were out Thrifting, that we needed an excuse to dress up in some of the fabulous formal wear that one so often finds, for literally a fraction of its original cost, at these shops. When it was time to start planning the Halloween Barn Party, that conversation sprang back to mind— we added tiaras, crowns and/or jewels to the mix— and we had a theme. Sorry guys. We will try to come up with something more unisex next year.

Winter Queen's Bling
  I was becoming discouraged,  having determined that if I wanted to be a witch, or revisit last year's darkly Gothic look there would be no problem. Black dresses were omnipresent. And when I found something that might do in some other color, it was invariably either the wrong size, or more than this tight-wad was willing to pay for a Halloween Costume.  Finally, one daughter mentioned having found "the Dress" waiting for her in a shop at the other end of town.

My youngest daughter, Gaia and I, took a ride at first opportunity, down to that group of thrift stores we had not visited in months. It was kismet, perhaps, as we both found dresses that day, not at the same shop but at two that are just a few blocks apart. Mine was the silver-gray with icy glitter accents that provides a background for some of these photos, and hers was an oriental style tunic or mini. Now we were getting somewhere.

Ice Faerie Queen Crown
The color and style of my dress made me think of winter and ice. I had already done a bit of searching on Pinterest and found a selection of crowns and tiaras. I immediately knew what I wanted— I just was not sure how to go about creating it.  After searching online for icicles and crystals that would fit the bill, I finally stumbled across the Factory Direct Craft web site.  As always, cost is a big factor with me, and I not only found the supplies I was looking for, but at far more reasonable prices and shipping than other sources I came across. I ordered two sizes of the acrylic twisted and swirled iridescent icicles, and a package of beautiful crystal look garland. Within a few days, I was ready to go...

Since I already had other supplies on hand (being the craftaholic magpie that I am), I will provide a list of everything that I used in the crown construction. I already had two or three metal headbands, the kind with the teeth. You could use something else, but I do not know of another type that would provide enough stability as a base. They do carry them at Factory Direct Craft, but only in black as far as I can tell. I used a silver-toned one, but it will be mostly covered when the project is completed. I am certain they are available—a quick Google search yielded a couple of sources for under $9.00, but not at suppliers I have used or can recommend. So, here is the supply list for the tiara/crown I made.

  •  1 Jewelry Designer Metal Headband (with teeth)
  • 1 Package 4" iridescent icicle ornaments (15 in package, I used 14 of them)
  • 1 Package 5" clear acrylic icicle ornaments (6 in package, I used 5)
  • 1 package Silver iridescent Diamond Twist Garland  (I used about 28")
  • A roll of 24 gauge silver craft wire
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks
The only other tools you really need are scissors and a pair of wire cutters.

Tiara Supplies and tools
If (probably when) I make another similar crown, I will try some different approaches. I was not really sure how this one would come out, and not thinking ahead to tutorial, so I only took a few pictures. However, the assembly is pretty straightforward, so I will explain as well as I can.

My first step was to lay out a pattern of sorts. I seldom sketch things out, but I know that some people like to. I ended up with a design that sort of rose and fell, giving it some symmetry without being too structured. If you need to know, my pattern was, from left to right, as follows:
3- 4" icicles, 1-5" icicle, 2-4" icicles, 1-5" icicle, 2-4" icicles, 1-5" icicle, 2-4" icicles, 1-5" icicle, 2-4" icicles, 1-5" icicle, 3- 4" icicles. (a total of 19 icicles)
Having removed the hanging ties included on the icicle ornaments, I cut a long piece of wire (about 2 to 3 feet) and began wiring the icicles into place. Be certain that the icicles are facing away from the metal teeth of your headband base. Begin where the teeth start, and wrap the wire once or twice around the band between each new icicle.

Wiring the Tiara
The tiara will remain quite wobbly and hard to keep straight during this process, but all you really need to do is make certain they are all lined up in same direction and evenly spaced. After all of the icicles are wired into place, trim and secure any remaining wire. (If you need more wire as you work, just secure end of last piece and start a new one by wrapping it securely around the band. Just be sure any wire ends are tucked in neatly and on the side of crown away from your head. No one wants a wire sticking in them.) 

You will need  something to support the crown when your start hot gluing. I just used a small box I had handy. Since it is a little unstable at this point, I recommend, hot gluing 4 or 5 icicles into place, then setting them on your support to cool and harden before moving on to the next group. That gives you a chance to make certain that the icicles stay properly oriented as you work.

Hot gluing the Tiara
 When all of the icicles are hot glued into place and cool, the crown may still seem a bit wobbly, but when you wire the garland into place, you can wrap the wire around the base of the icicle as well as the metal headband, and that will firm it all up nicely.

 Since the garland I choose was fairly thin, I cut a piece long enough to be double across the face of the headband, covering both the band and the glued base of the icicles. Just for fun, I let about 3" of garland dangle to one side.  Start the garland at the same place as you began the icicles, where the teeth start on the headband. It is 12" or 13" across the base of the crown, so cut your length accordingly. I used about 28".

Tiara Detail
As before, cut 2 or 3 feet of wire (whatever you are comfortable working with). I simply wired the garland tightly to the base, using the opportunity to strengthen any icicles on the crown that needed it. Add more wire as needed. Secure your wire end and trim.

You've just made a crown worthy of any Ice Queen or other Cool Character you can dream up.


Ice Queen
Mab, the Queen of Winter Faerie
I really enjoyed coming up with a way to make my idea of a crown work, and want to try some other themes, such as Mermaid Princess or Woodland Faery in the future. The possibilities are endless. Since my costume was modeled after Mab, the Queen of Winter Faerie in Jim Butcher's Dresden Files books, I also made jewelry to complete the ensemble.

Harry Dresden Locket
While I initially contemplated using the icicle theme for earrings and necklace, my inability to locate some smaller icicle ornaments that matched those in my crown led me to explore other possibilities. The locket on my necklace is simply a dollar store ornament with a clip art picture of the character Harry Dresden who is the Winter Faery Queen's Knight in these tales. I used an assortment of clear glass and some large iridescent white acrylic beads that I had to complete it.

My Snowflake earrings were nothing more than two lightweight Christmas ornaments I put on earring wires. It was all easy and fun.

  Now, whenever I get to feeling Queenly, I can just whip out my crown and play the part. (I know the party had a Princess Theme, but since I am either mother or grandmother to most of the other Princesses present at this event, I decided it was perfectly within my rights to be Queen.)

I will close this post today with just a couple of observations about the Princess  Mentality that has become so pervasive in our culture. After an epoch of being the oppressed gender, of being chattels, servants and often having little more to say on their own behalves than slaves, it is perhaps understandable that in a more egalitarian age, Girls and Women want to feel special, to be more than just ordinary. However, It worries me to see the Great Divide between sexes widening again. I am not telling women to be like men, but I am suggesting that they tread carefully through the minefield of their hard-won equal rights. If you are going to be a Princess, be a Self-Rescuing One. Blessings to All...

Halloween Costume 2014-- Ice Queen

6 comments:

  1. What a creative idea for a crown! It's just beautiful!

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    Replies
    1. Thank You so much Gigi. It was fun to make and fun to wear. I so appreciate your kind comment.
      Have a great day,
      Gwen

      Delete
  2. you are just toooo smart, that crown is so creative and smart love it

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  3. Thanks so much! I really do enjoy hearing from folks. Excuse me while I hop over to your blog and check it out :-)
    Sincerely,
    Gwen

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  4. I have been looking all over my area for icicles to make this crown (or something similar) for a photo shoot my daughter is having in January (Narnia themed) and cannot find them anywhere! Do you, perchance, have a site you ordered from or do you personally do custom orders? And if so, how much?

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    Replies
    1. Hi Sandra,
      Hope you get this as I don't have an email address for you. I found my icicles on Factory Direct Craft's web site-- http://factorydirectcraft.com/
      They stock both sizes I used and the prices are very reasonable. There is also a link in the post to this site.
      Hope this helps,
      Gwen

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