Kayla has a new dress, and that means we have an excuse to make another necklace! Luckily for you, we documented the process!
Here’s what you need to buy:
- Power mesh. Also oftentimes called Sheer Stretch Mesh. Feel free to use a flesh tone or a color to match your dress. 2 yards of the stuff will give you plenty of material to experiment with. Honestly, I think any thin fabric would probably work fine, but this is what we use.
- Fusible web. Just ask for it in a fabric store, they should know what it is. It is a material that melts when it is heated to fuse fabric together.
- Liquid latex. I got this from a local hobby store. I’m pretty sure any variety would work, but the particular one we use is called Mold Builder Liquid Latex Rubber.
- Rhinestones. Definitely order these little guys online. Swarovski or Preciosa rhinestones are typically used, and we usually order them from Rhinestone Guy
- E6000 glue. Some people also like to use Gem Tac, but we’ve had better luck with E6000. Just make sure you are in a ventilated area. This stuff smells and… it is somewhat carcinogenic…
- Small brush to apply the liquid latex.
- Small syringes. Not necessary, but loading a syringe with glue makes things easier.
Step 1. Design your necklace.
Look at websites, visit vendor booths at competitions, or just invent something completely original! I like to draw something out before getting started. Some people just wing it, but I think having a plan results in a nicer necklace. For this necklace, I came up with a bunch of designs and Kayla narrowed it down to two.
After asking for preferences from our coach and friends, we decided to ignore all advice and base the necklace on the one Kayla preferred, #2
Step 2. Prepare the blank.
What the blank?!?!? A blank is the sandwich of materials that you will create your necklace design on. The process is relatively simple: cut out rectangles of fabric and fusible web and layer them. We cut out rectangles approximately 8″x14″. The fusible web is used to bind the layers of fabric together. Two or three layers of fabric works. For this particular necklace, we wanted it to be a little more flexible, so we only used two layers of fabric.
To bind the fabric together, align and layer your fabric and fusible web pieces so that the fusible web is sandwiched on either side by fabric and then apply heat using an iron. One note though, the fusible web is sticky when it’s heated, so it’s a good idea to use some parchment paper to keep things from sticking to your work surface or iron. In the picture below, you’ll notice that I used a small sheet of Teflon paper which works even better.
We didn’t have to make the part that goes around your neck this time around since we were just modifying the front of the necklace that came with the dress, but an easy way to make the neck band is to add it to the blank. All you need to do is find a way to draw circles onto your fabric and cut out a shape like the one shown below. After you have decorated the necklace, cut an opening in the neck band and create a clasp using either velcro or a hook. Note, Kayla has a pretty small neck, so it might take some experimentation for you to find the right size for you.
Step 3. Add a rubberized backing to the blank.
The next step is to apply the liquid latex to the back of the blank. Adding this rubberized backing will make the necklace somewhat tacky against your skin. This keeps the necklace from sliding around as you’re dancing. It’s not necessary, but it really is a nice feature to add to your DIY ballroom necklace. The trick is to apply the liquid latex with a paint brush in thin layers. If you apply too thick of a layer, the liquid latex will seep through the fabric to the front side of the necklace. Of course it’s inevitable that some of the liquid latex will seep through, but just try to keep it to a minimum and you should be fine. Apply as many this coats as you like, just allow the liquid latex to dry between applications.
Step 4. Add the bling.
Now all you have to do it glue the rhinestones onto the front of the blank in the pattern you designed in step 1! Take your time. It requires some patience but it’ll be worth it. If you have trouble picking up the rhinestones, you can buy a rhinestone tool that is designed to pick up and place rhinestones. If you want to go the DIY route, you can make an equally effective rhinestone tool by putting a little beeswax on the tip of a toothpick. The rhinestones will stick to the beeswax.
Some people like to put a drop of glue down and then place the rhinestone onto the drop. Kayla prefers to put the glue onto the back of the rhinestone and then place the stone wherever she needs to. Either way, loading some glue into a small plastic syringe makes dispensing the glue much easier. Little tip, don’t try to load the syringe by sucking the glue in from the tip; just pull the plunger out and fill the syringe.
Step 5. Cut it out.
A lot of tutorials I’ve seen about making ballroom necklaces cut out the shape of the necklace before adding the embellishment, but Kayla prefers to have the flexibility to adjust the design as she’s making it. Sometimes sliding a stone over a centimeter makes a big difference, and you don’t have that kind of flexibility if you do the cutting first.
To cut out the excess fabric, Kayla uses a set of scissors of difference sizes.
Add a velcro closure, snap closure, or hook closure and you’re FINISHED!!!
You can use a similarly technique to create hair pieces and bracelets too!
If you have any questions, leave a comment!! And please share this with your friends!!