Bling It On!



Everyone knows that pageant dresses and gowns need those little rhinestones to catch the stage lights and make you sparkle just enough to capture the audience’s attention, particularly the judges, as you make your way across that stage. However, that extra bling can cost a pretty penny. You can save quite a bit by stoning your outfits yourself. My gown, fun fashion as well as my interview dress were all stoned by yours truly with much help and guidance from my pageant director, Samantha Riddle. If you’ve never applied rhinestones to an outfit before, it could be rather daunting. I was very hesitant to do it at first, not wanting to ruin a very nice dress. By the time we finished I was a master rhinestoner.

The first thing you need are the stones. You can buy pretty much anything online. If you are in Los Angeles, however, go to the 800 block of Maple street in downtown L.A. and you will find beads and trims to your heart’s content. You will need the flat-back rhinestones. Swarovskis are the preferred stones because of its brilliance. Personally, I used Preciosa beads which were a fraction of the cost of the Swarovskis and yet held the same amount of sparkle for my needs.

Next thing you have to decide is the color of beads to get. I picked three colors - one was the crystal shade of my gown, another was a shade darker crystal and a third was an AB stone that was also the same shade as my gown. The AB stone has a special coating that reflects other colors such as pink, gold and blue. The different shades will give your design an added depth and texture and will catch light in an interesting way. I also picked different sizes - 20’s and 30’s mostly.

Last but not least, you will need an E6000 glue, tweezers, a clean area to work on, and lots and lots of patience.

My fun fashion, which was everyone’s favorite including myself, was fully stoned by my director, by alternating strips of pink and silver rhinestone mesh on the romper. The result was a stunner.

My onstage interview dress was a Fernando Wong dress with a cute bow on the waist. Using pink AB stones, I gingerly picked up the individual crystals with tweezers and glued them on until they covered the whole bow. It gave the dress that extra bit of flair that let it shine onstage without being too distracting.

Finally, my gown was a simple pink off shoulder affair with an appliqued lacy train. Starting with the the train, I added crystals to the flower appliques just enough to have the train sparkle a little as it floated behind me. Then I tackled the neckline and off-shoulder sleeves. I am not terribly creative so I opted to simply follow the edge with my my stones using varied shades and sizes for depth and dimension. Once I had a nice band created I then sprinkled a few more stones down the middle. If you are more adventurous you can create an actual design or silhouette. Every now and then, step back and assess your design as what you envision may not look as good as you thought it would and it’s better to adjust your design along the way.

Upon completion, allow the glue to set overnight and leave your outfit flat on the table. Be sure to take the glue and extra stones with you to the pageant. The night before the preliminaries I was checking on my outfits and had to replace some stones that have fallen off. Now have fun and get your bling on!

P.S. If you have a great source for stones near you, put it in the comment section. We all always need stones.

Miss Teen International 2017


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