Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Fit for a Queen?

So today, continuing my preparations for the Game of Thrones costume party, I decided to make my own circlet. A circlet is a crown that sits down on the forehead rather than on top of the head; you’ve seen them in Lord of the Rings, etc. They are extremely popular for the ladies, but as Hugo Weaving showed, men can rock them too. They can be very simple, or very ornate. Arwen’s circlet at the end of Return of the King, for example, had a huge gemstone butterfly in the back, and beads and chains hanging from it.

Mine, obviously, is much more basic. I picked up thick beading wire from Wal*Mart (5 ft for $1!). It took me one 5 ft roll to make my circlet, so for something more decorative, I’d buy two or three. I’d also recommend getting some kind of mannequin head, probably the foam kind for latex face building or wig holding. It’ll be easier to round the wire on that than on your own head, trust me.

I started with a very long strand that wrapped completely around my head. I borrowed my roommate’s pliers to get a nice downward point in the middle.

Now, even this single piece looked lovely on and definitely would have sufficed, but I decided to keep going. I cut a shorter piece of wire and made a second arc with a shallower point. I curled the ends by wrapping them around a pencil.

Easy enough, right? I was super pumped. Then came the absurd part. I decided to glue the pieces together with this Elmer’s Krazy Glue pen that I had. Here we ran into some trouble. The glue is just as crazy sticky as advertised, but it was more interested in sticking to my fingers than to the wire. Another problem is simply holding the wire together. With a mannequin head some of this problem would be eliminated, but I did not have one, and I certainly wasn’t going to try and glue them together ON my head. I put on a yellow dish glove and tried to glue and pinch them together that way. No dice. Sans mannequin head, this is a two person job!

Finally I decided to just bind them together with more wire. I cut another piece of wire and wrapped it around the spot where the two pieces joined, using the pliers to clamp down and secure it. I then took the extra wire and weaved it between the two pieces. When I reached the other side I wrapped and clamped like before.

I then had to re-shape the circlet almost completely. The wire is easy to manipulate, which is nice when you’re initially shaping it, but not so nice when you try to work with other parts of it. This wire is also hard to smooth with your hands, so it retains a lot of little bumps even after you’ve unbent them. BUT in the end I triumphed.

I had bought a little charm at the Wal*Mart, which I contemplated adding, but then I remembered a silver maple leaf pin my grandmother had given me. I love it, but I don’t wear it anywhere because people don’t really wear pins anymore. It was the perfect size, however, to fit on the front of my circlet. Cue another ridiculous fight with the Krazy Glue.

In the end, I succeeded. If you try something like this, let it sit. Seriously, don’t touch it. You will have to glue it again. And again. Just squeeze out a ton of glue and DON’T TOUCH IT.

Okay, now you can touch it.

I did a little bit of reshaping (it's still pretty rough). I curved the sides up and then down to a point in the back and added another piece to balance out the weight a little bit. And, voila!

This was fun, although the trouble with the wire and the glue was unanticipated. I'm going to investigate other ways of making them short of forging them out of steel or some such, and try again! I may make another one, since I bought a second spool of wire, so we'll see what happens! All in all though, the wire only works for really simple, single-piece circlets. Trying to attach more wire is more bother than anything else.

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