Thursday, April 1, 2010


Remember how I told you that I went a little crazy making flowers and bows for mini when I found out she would be a girl?  I mean, you can never have enough accessories, right?  My favorite barrettes are those huge, monstrous flowers.  I find them so incredibly comical when perched atop a tiny little head.  

Well, without the internet to distract me this past weekend (thanks to bug’s attempt to play two CD’s on the computer at one time...) I had a lot of time to devote to creating even more hair accessories!
It all started with a birthday party.  It was my sister IL’s birthday this past week, and she had mentioned a while ago that she wanted to commission me to make some large-scale flowers of the mini headband variety for her to play with this summer.  I decided to go all out for her and instead of sticking to pre-fabricated scrapbook flowers, I designed a few beauties of my own.  I refashioned a few artificial stems, and created a fabric bloom and a satin rose.  And then, I just couldn’t stop.
When I find something I actually do well, I become a little obsessed.  I enjoy it.  (Who doesn’t like to do things they do well??)  So, I decided to make a few more petals for mini.  She needs a few of every color for options, you know?  I got a kick out of designing new flowers and finding ways to make them.
After artificial flowers I tried my hand at ribbon flowers.  Cute, and easy to make too.  I gathered, glued and embellished.  I used ribbons and buttons.  This led naturally to fabric flowers, and finally fabric butterflies (which I am still perfecting).  Below, you’ll find my basic notes on how to create the artificial flower barrettes and the pre-fabricated scrapbook flowers.  Mostly because I don’t want to write a post that’s forever long, so I decided to narrow the focus a little.  These are the two easiest flower barrettes to make.
I get artificial flowers usually from Walmart or other craft stores when they are on clearance.  (I refuse to spend more than $2.00 on fake flowers I am just going to cut up.)  I've also discovered that the dollar store is a veritable treasure trove of fake flowers and other useful items for clips.  I’ve also found some at thrift stores that are pretty good, too.  Just look for flowers that will keep a recognizable shape when pulled off of the plastic framework and that aren’t frayed around the edges.  When I make an artificial flower into a hair accessory I begin by deconstructing it completely.  I take it off the stem and then pull each little piece apart.  Anything plastic or hard goes in the garbage, even the little buds that hold the flower together.  No one wants something hard and plasticky jabbing them in the head.  I’m left with the fabric remnants.  Now, depending on the flower, I may cut the petals apart as well.  I did this with the pink rose and the yellow lily I made.  However, usually you can leave petals connected if they are relatively flat.  Your first step at construction is to create a “bud” or a middle piece for the center of the flower.  Use a small petal and fold and shape it into a bud shape (kind of rolled up).  Use a hot glue gun (AKA my best friend) to keep it in shape.  Then glue the petals around this bud, smaller petals closest to the bud and increasing in size as you work toward the outside of the flower.  I usually go in a circle around the bud.  A few helpful tips: be sure to keep the flower somewhat flat as you do this.  Flowers that are too 3-D in appearance stick out from the head in a way that’s not super flattering.  Also, as you glue the petals together, don’t make it too symmetrical.  This is really just a personal preference, but flowers naturally grow with flaws and asymmetry, so that’s how I like to make mine.  When all the petals are on OR you reach a reasonable size, just glue the flower to a barrette.  
Now, for scrapbook flowers.  These are the easiest, as they are already flower shaped and there’s no need to disassemble.  I buy my scrapbook flowers at Hobby Lobby or Archivers, but I am looking for more economical methods.  All you do is pick out coordinating colors of varying sizes.  Use hot glue to glue them together - starting with the largest flower as the base and working your way to the smallest flower - avoiding the small hole in the center of each flower.  Put a brad through the holes and secure in the back with a bit of glue.  Then you can leave them as is, or embellish.  For one of my scrapbook flower barrettes, I used an old pearl necklace and encircled the pearl brad.  For another, I glued a few small lengths of green rick-rack around the back like vines coming off.  When you are finished and the flower is embellished, just glue it to a barrette.
A note about barrettes: there are several different options and you’ll have to decide what’s best for what you’re using it for.  I’ve used pin backs, alligator clips, duck bill clips, those snappy ones you can get at any department store, and the large kind that clicks into place.  (Here are some pictures, since I don’t know how to describe the last two very well.)

The large alligator clips, duck bill clips and the big ones that click are good for really big flowers, especially if they are flat.  I use pin backs for any that I think will make good pins so mini can use them as she gets older, too.  I’m all for wearing giant flowers in your hair well into your 40’s, but others may not be.  So, making the accessories versatile is a good thing.  Then she can pin them to a cardigan or purse or something.  
This next bit applies to large barrettes that click into place, alligator clips and duck bill clips.  Before I glue the flower or bow or butterfly or what have you to the barrette, I cover it with ribbon.  I think this is not only more attractive when bits of the barrette show, but it’s also a more finished look.  

If you’re making these for babies, as I usually am, you’ll want to have some headbands to attach the barrettes to - unless your baby was born with a mass of hair, and there are a fortunate few, I know.  But apparently, with the mr & me gene pool, you’re pretty much bald until you’re one and I, for one, don’t want to wait this long to turn my munchkin into a fashionista.  
You can buy adult sized headbands and sew them smaller.  I did this.  It worked out fine except for the fact that I only had black thread at the time so the seams are darn ugly.  BUT, fortunately I have huge flowers to cover up these seams.  Just turn the band right sides together, locate the seam, measure to fit, and sew, cutting off the excess fabric when done.  If you do buy headbands, I suggest ones that have holes. This way, your clips can slide in and out of holes and you have much more flexibility with where the flowers can be placed and putting them on angles and so forth.  You can also make them out of those super cheap knee highs that come in the bubbles.  (The ones that are like 50 cents or so?)  Pin the toe to the part just under the elastic (where the color changes).  Sew a gathering stitch.  Cut off the extra nylon.  Gather the stitch.  Use the extra piece of nylon to wrap around the seam and sew the piece closed on the back side.  Now you can slip the clips into this little pocket type thing you’ve created.  Using pin backs for your flowers?  Here’s something even easier.  Use the knee highs or a pair of tights.  Measure to fit.  Sew a normal stitch and cut off the excess.  Done!  (You can pin the flower anywhere on the headband, so you can cover up the seam that way.)

If you’re like me, you will soon get addicted to making flowery clips for your daughter and will have to find other babies to make them for, or just give them away randomly so they don’t take over your house.  Or, why not put them on your own ponytail?  My sister IL calls them “hair bling.”  That’s right.  Bling yourself out.  



SYS Thurs

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