Preparing your outfit and work area is most important when gluing diamantes, crystals and jewels. Without the proper preparations to glue and decorate your new dress or costume can lead to glue damage which often has irreversible effects. Here are some simple tips from the experts which will make decorating much easier.
1. Cover work surfaces with plastic.
This is the biggest and most important tip, one that will save you many heartaches! Some fabrics/laces are more porous than others and when gluing embellishments to the fabric glue often seeps through to the other side. If it happens to be resting on another part of the costume then you may be left with unwanted glue spots or bits stuck together. Not to mention completely gluing your beloved dress to your dining room table or dress model.. a very big oops. To avoid this from happening, plastic of some sort should be placed behind all areas being decorated.
For decorating the bodices of ballroom or Latin dresses, the ultimate weapon is a dress model. The biggest advantage of having a model is that is can be adjusted to the size and shape of the dress which assists in maintaining the correct shape of the bodice in particular. This avoids the fabric from being over or under stretched. To prepare you dress model make all adjustments needed to give the correct size and shape. Now for the key clue... completely wrap your model in Glad or cling wrap. Simply wrap it around to cover all surfaces. Then simply slip the dress onto the model and you are ready to go.
If you don't have the pleasure of owning a dress model try wrapping a pillow and/or towels in a plastic bag. Remember to be careful not to over stretch any part of your costume and try to get the fabric sitting as wrinkle free as possible. You may need some pins to keep it in place. You may also need to decorate one area, let it dry, then continue on another area.
If you are decorating something that can be placed on a flat surface, place a plastic sheet on your table or try wrapping it in cling wrap. An ironing board wrapped in plastic works as a great work bench too.
For sleeves try rolling a towel into a sausage and cover it with a plastic bag or cling wrap. Again be careful to keep the shape as accurate as possible. My favourite is to use some bubble wrap rolled into a sausage.
2. Work on the best angle
To avoid glue and stones sliding and dripping down your costume, I would advise laying your model or costume down on a table. Larger stones are especially prone to slide on slippery fabrics such as lycra so it's best not to defy gravity in these situations. You may need to decorate one area of the costume and then once it has dried, rotate and continue with the next section.
3. Allow adequate time to dry
It's always best to allowing drying overnight as a minimum. Be extra careful when working with very porous fabrics such as fine mesh. Peel the plastic away slowly to avoid any damage. In the case of using a dress model or pillows etc., remove your costume carefully. Sometimes the glue isn't completely dry in the middle so it's best to allow additional drying time.
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