Saturday, September 14, 2013

Gemstone Letters!

I have been toying with several different ideas for letters recently. I am hoping to learn how to use my sewing machine soon.  I would love to be able to sew my own and have them look professional! 

For the time being though, I found a much easier and faster method that's fool-proof!  

What You'll Need:

  • A shirt
  • Gemstones or rhinestones with flat backs
  • Paper
  • Photocopier
  • Scissors
  • Aleene's Permanent Fabric Glue, or something similar
  • Wax Paper
I had the shirt, gemstones, and fabric glue beforehand, so this project didn't cost me anything.  

This was the exact box of jewels I used, by Bead Landing.  I think it was like $7 or $8.  If you use a coupon you can save a couple dollars.  Also, this is my second project using them and I've barely made a dent in them! I got them at Michael's

^ Here is the link to the exact fabric glue I used.  I noticed on the website though that there are tons of different glues that would work well too, especially the Jewel-It Embellishing glue.  I'm not sure how much it costs, but I'd guess like $4 or $5. 

Here is what they look like when they're almost done! I don't have a picture of the finished product, but as soon as I do I will post it!
 Here was my rough draft on a black t-shirt.  You can tell the letters aren't straight, but I was just seeing how the gems would look on the front of a shirt!

 After much thought and some outside opinions I decided to make my letters on a white t-shirt. 
 I cut wax paper down to fit inside the shirt.  With this in the middle of the fabric the shirt won't seal itself shut.  I found that the shirt actually stuck itself to the wax paper instead, but it was easy to peel off. 
 This is with the wax paper inside of it.  You can't even tell, but it's there!
 When I was pursuing sewing my own letters, I made a stencil of them using cardstock.  The pink and green letters are what I had before.  I photocopied them. [for what I was doing it didn't matter if they were straight or not].

 Then I cut the letters out, leaving the white on the outside in tact.  This will serve as a stencil for the gems to fit inside of.  Since my letters are so straight [most greek letters are, actually] I wanted a stencil to keep the lines very straight.
 Before I applied these stencils, I actually took the green cardstock letters I had made and put on the shirt.  I then taped on the letters to the shirt to make sure they were straight and check the placement. Then I very carefully took off the shirt with the letters still taped on.  I put the white cut out stencils over the green cardstock letters and taped them down.  Then I took off the green letters.  This sounds a lot more complicated when I'm typing it, I swear! It was very simple, I was just being a perfectionist.  

Once the white stencils were taped down [even the little triangle that goes inside the delta] I started filling in the gems.  I wanted to make sure that the edges were filled in well, with minimum white spaces in between.
 I zoomed into this picture so it would be easier to see the entire set-up.  Also, because of my perfectionist tendencies and pride in my letters, there is a pattern to how I laid down the stones, though it's kinda hard to see if you don't know about it.  Also, you don't have to have a pattern at all.  I liked that you couldn't really tell I had a pattern, but all the colors were pretty well spaced out from another. 

Here's a different angle of the same step as earlier!

Once I had all the letters down where I wanted them, I started gluing them in. 

I used Aleene's Permanent Fabric Glue for this project.  I picked all the gems up one at a time, placed a drop of glue on the back, and placed it down.  Then after a minute, I would apply a little bit of pressure to the stone, as the instructions direct you to do.  

I'm not going to lie, this took a long time to do.  Picking them up one at a time is time consuming, but you will for sure keep your pattern, and nothing will get messed up.  Try not to get any of the stencil underneath your gems, or the paper will tear when you take it off and you're left with little pieces of paper like I am.  [I think they will wash off].  Oh! I used Aleene's because I know from prior experience that it's very resistant.  Also, you can wash clothes after you use it, unlike Tacky Glue or other similar products.  I'm sure there's substitutes out there, but I know for a face that I can attest to Aleene's. 

 I used Aleene's to affix this Dragonair bag.  These aren't gemstones though, these are actual stones.  The decorative kind you can find at Michael's and Walmart.  They are really heavy.  & I am not nice to my bags.  Not a single stone has fallen off and I use this bag for my school bag.  
This was a present to one of my new member educators in sorority [our "mamas"].  I used the same decorative beads as before and glued them to a canvas bag using Aleene's.

I wouldn't suggest using a product unless I really knew it worked.  I have full faith! :]

Leave the letters glued down for at least the night.  I left mine on for the night and a good part of the next day.  Once they are dry, carefully tear off the stencil.  Then you need to take the wax paper off.  Mine had to be peeled off, because the glue stuck itself to it, but it wasn't a big deal.  Then your letters are ready to wear! You can't wash them for the first 10 days though.  I've never washed anything I've used Aleene's with, but I would guess that hand washing is preferred.  If your washing machine has a hand washing setting, that should work, if not wash them in the sink :]

Hope this was helpful! 
Please let me know if you try this out with greek letters or another design!