Monday, February 20, 2012

DIY Glam Bridal Necklace

One of my favorite projects that I tackled for our wedding was creating the necklace I wore on the big day. The end result looks like a million bucks, but the supplies were relatively inexpensive  - it just took a bit of time and effort! I first blogged about starting this necklace a year ago in my post, All that Glitters. 

I ended up deciding not to post the final walk through of the project until after the wedding so the big reveal of my necklace could be at our wedding. So here it is now -  get ready for some major bling!

As I mentioned in my previous blog post on the necklace, the inspiration came from a gorgeous Jenny Packham necklace that I tried on at Mark Ingram Bridal Atelier when I was gown shopping. I fell in love with the necklace, but not the price tag! I decided I would attempt to make something similar on my own.

The first step in the process was to find the crystals to adorn the necklace. I picked out a variety of clear, smoke and amethyst colored crystals in marquee and round shapes. I selected 2 different sizes of marquee and 3 different sized round crystals - including tiny flat backs to fill in the spaces between the larger crystals. I think any shape and color of crystal could work - I took inspiration from the original Jenny Packham necklace style and details on my dress.

The second step is creating the necklace form. In Adobe Illustrator I used the pen tool to draw the shape I was envisioning based on my inspiration and printed out the results. You could also hand draw the necklace form on paper if that is easier for you. Then cut out the form from the paper and make sure the size is exactly right by trying on your paper necklace.

Once you have the paper form just right, its time to move to fabric. I decided to use black velvet as a backer for my necklace because I knew I needed a stiff fabric to hold up to the crystals and I wanted something soft against my skin. I adhered the paper to the non-fuzzy side of the fabric.

Next I carefully cut around the paper form using high quality fabric scissors. I found that the small details cut into the velvet would fray a bit. To stop the fraying, I coated the edge of the fabric form with clear nail polish - there is also specific "no fray" liquid made for fabric.

Starting at the edges of the necklace and working simultaneously on both the right and the left sides, I started to apply the crystals. I used the wonderful multi-purpose glue, E-6000 to adhere the crystals. I created a small pool of the glue, picked up a crystal with needle nose pliers, dipped it in the glue, and then set the crystal gently on the non-fuzzy side of the velvet backing. I followed the form of the backing, creating a leaf like pattern in placing the crystals and mirrored the design on the opposite side so it would be symmetrical. I continued this method, working across the necklace form. Once I had used all of the large crystals, I went back through and covered all remaining black backing with the small flat-backed crystals I had left.

To finish the necklace, I attached a light grey velvet ribbon to the ends with the E-6000 and went through and cleaned up any excess glue bits using tweezers. So there you have it - a glam bridal necklace made for a fraction of the price as the couture version! 

If you are interested in having a necklace like this for your wedding or special event and this seems like too big of a project to undertake, please contact me at or comment below. I would love to chat about making a similar necklace for you!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A chalkboard wall... or two!

With our wedding hub bub dying down, I am back to projects and to blogging! First up, a chalkboard wall. I have been wanting a chalkboard wall for awhile now - who doesn't love the idea of being able to draw all over your walls!? My first thought though was practical: a chalkboard section near the kitchen where we can write our grocery needs as they come up during the week. But I wanted to do something a little more fun too... how about a chalkboard art gallery in the bathroom? With all of our creative friends, I can't wait to see what pops up in the frames as time goes by. So here is how I did it:

The first step is cleaning and prepping your surface. I recommend cleaning your walls with a bit of vinegar on an old rag. Vinegar is great for cleaning as it is effective and non-toxic. To prep your wall, remove any hardware - we removed the towel rod in the bathroom - and fill any holes with plaster.

If you are wanting just a section of your wall to be a chalkboard surface - like we did near our kitchen - your next step will be taping off the portion to be painted. The trick to getting very clean lines of your taped off section is to first paint a layer of your wall color. This prevents the new color from seeping under the tape and causing an uneven line.
If you are painting a full wall - like we did in the bathroom - you will also want to tape around the edges. Since the chalkboard paint is black, any mistake you make will be obvious! 

Now that everything is prepped and taped off, time to paint! We did two coats of the chalkboard paint to make sure that everything was covered. Give the paint a good 24 hours to dry properly before peeling off the tape. If you are painting in the bathroom, try to avoid steaming up the room before the paint is fully dry.

Time to break out the chalk! Its best to work from top to bottom of your wall to avoid smearing the chalk. I decided to create a chalk museum of fine art in our bathroom - what better place to encourage creativity!? I looked at some inspiration of vintage typography and just went for it drawing a banner and some embellishments. If you make any mistakes, don't worry! The genius part of chalk is how easy it is to remove. To prevent any evidence of your mistake, dampen a cloth with a bit of water and wipe away the chalk and start fresh. To correct any small mistakes, I used a wet cotton swab.

To create the chalk frames, I used a variety of objects I found around my house to trace around. I found that plates and platters were about the right size and easy to trace around. I used a variety of sizes and shapes for visual interest - circle, square, rectangle, oval - or whatever you may like! Then I embellished the shapes with dots, flourishes and other lines to make them look like frames you might see in an art museum.

To encourage our visitors to add their own art to the museum, we placed chalk in a small marked container on a shelf. We found this perfect vessel for the chalk at Crate & Barrel.

Finishing up the kitchen chalkboard was a much simpler process. I just wrote 'Groceries' along the top and then started my grocery list. Now what to do with the rest of my chalkboard paint...hmmmmm!