Congrats to Silver Kitsune of Charlotte, North Carolina, who won First Place in our recent DIY contest with this Fascinator Project!
How to make a professional looking fascinator:
The word “fascinator” has recently come into the public consciousness due to certain royal hijinks revolving around horse races and weddings. Worn instead of a hat, the modern fashion world has taken to reviving the idea of feathery, flowery and bedazzled headpieces with a will. Increasingly brides are choosing to wear fascinators because of the endless customization options available.
Those of us in the burlesque/pin-up world are left wondering what the fuss is all about, because we’ve been using them for years! Anyone in the burlesque world will tell you that any good costume includes a headpiece. It adds the perfect amount of sophistication and, with an endless array of choices, it provides the artist with a quick way to change up their look during a show without having to completely redo their entire ‘do. With most of the women that I work with operating on a tight budget, I am often astonished at how much a performer will be willing to pay for a simple flower-and-feather clip. The favorable comments about my first few fascinators at shows lead me into making them professionally and I’ve put together a tutorial to help out my fellow ladies make an elaborate (and cost effective!) fascinator for their very own. All supplies could be easily found at a local craft store!
I’ve listed exactly the “ingredients” that I used for the fascinator in the pictures, but you could use a mix of materials based on this basic pattern to create a one-of-a-kind fascinator!
-large faux rose (red)
-one large ostrich feather (black)
-goose feather biots* (red)
-pheasant feathers* (red)
-coque feathers* (red)
-stiff black felt
-one large hair clip (I recommend alligator-style clips, I’ve had the best luck with these)
-hot glue gun and glue cartridges
-rhinestones (basic crystal)
-glue (I recommend GemTac, it dries clear and is easy to use)
-beaded string or ribbon
*Most feathers can be found in mixed bunches in the same area of a craft store as the faux flowers, it’s a good way to get a pile of different feathers without having to buy them all individually, all they require is a bit of disassembly.
Begin by breaking down your materials. You’ll need to remove the rose from its’ stem, cutting as close to the base of the flower as you can. Next you’ll need to disassemble the feather clusters to get at the individual parts. Set these aside in piles so that they’ll be ready at hand and easy to get to.
Remember: a neat workspace saves you time, hassle and possible big, sticky messes if you’re a haphazard hot-gluer like me!
Take the black felt and cut it into a rounded teardrop shape. You will then need to take your clip and secure it to the felt base, using hot glue. Make sure that you coat all but the very end of the clip with glue so that you will have the most secure base possible. The levering end of the clip should be aligned with the narrowest end of the felt, with the clip’s opening pointing towards the widest part. Leave a bit of the end sticking out past the felt, this will make it easier to put the clip on later.
Take your ostrich feather and coat the base with hot glue, you will need to apply enough glue so that the feather is secured along the entire length of the felt base. Align your feather in a way that maximizes the beauty of the ostrich feather, any overhang at the tip can be trimmed away.
Take a look at your pheasant feathers. In this piece, I’m using three of them, but feathers are like snowflakes and no two are alike. Take a moment to decide where and how you’ll want to place your feathers to best minimize any imperfections. I’ve decided to layer mine in unequal lengths, which will add depth and texture to the fascinator.
Now secure your pheasant feather in the same way that you secured your ostrich feather. Use hot glue at the base of each feather and wait until each is fully attached before adding the next one. Make sure your glue extends to the end of the felt base and be careful of your fingers, hot glue is just that: hot! Once again make sure that you trim the ends of your feathers, doing this as you go is much easier than trying to do it once you’re done.
Now you can move on to the coque feathers. I’ve added four of these to the base of the pheasant feathers in a fan shape. Secure these in the same way as you did the ostrich and the pheasant feathers. These feathers will be a little more tricky because they are a little more “fuzzy” than the others, just be patient!
Using goose feather biots can be tricky, but they add a real professional look to any hair piece. Deceptively delicate looking, they can be manipulated into almost any shape. For this piece, you’ll need to first secure one end of the biot to the base of your clip, wait a few moments and then glue down the other end. Viola! You now have an fascinating looking feathered loop added to your fascinator! Keep adding biots in this manner until you’ve got a large fan of loops, making sure that you don’t clump the bases all in one place. Your base is cut to make sure that you have plenty of room to spread out your glue.
Next, take your beaded ribbon and cut a few different lengths, you can then glue these in loops to the end of your base to provide a nice cascade of beads to give your fascinator a more elaborate look. I’ve found that this is a nice touch, but also one that can be easily left off according to personal preference.
Now comes the easiest step! Put a nice big dollop of hot glue on the bottom of your rose and attach it to your base. Make sure you check your positioning BEFORE you attach the rose, since this is the point of no return! Attach the rose in such a way that it covers up all the little ends of feathers and beaded stands. No one wants to see a messy base!
Because of the way a faux flower is shaped, you will usually be able to see underneath the where some of your messy ends are. This may not seem like a big deal, since you are viewing your fascinator from above, but it can easily be seen from the front when worn. So simply place a dab of glue on one of the bottom petals and press it closed over the base, that way all anyone will be able to see from the front is a beautiful flower!
Now for embellishment! The first thing one usually notices about a burlesque costume is the sparkle, so we’re going to add a bit of sparkle to our fascinator. I like to use GemTac or a similar product for this, using hot glue is too bulky and messy and using superglue will leave your crystals with a film that robs them of all luster.
a) Squeeze out a bit of glue onto a plate or a spare piece of felt. Use your needle to dab a line of glue down the shaft of one of your pheasant feathers. Following the natural line of the feather is the easiest way to figure out where to add rhinestones.
b) Now just place your crystals along the line of glue, tap down with your needle and wait for the glue to dry!
Now you can wear your very own handmade fascinator however you like! Use them for shows, costumes, photo-shoots, parties, weddings or even make a few small ones for everyday wear. The possibilities are literally endless. You are only limited by what sorts of materials you can find! The total cost of this project was less than $20 starting from scratch and almost all of us have a collection of supplies we use in costume making, so if you look around your craft space, you probably have most of the supplies already on hand!