DIY: Rhinestoned Sunglasses

I like to make things and embellish accessories.  It's one of my favorite hobbies! 
That's really how I end up with a lot of cool outfits, actually.  I find that the accessories you put together with an outfit really make the outfit into something new and uniquely YOU. 

So, I thought it might be fun to share more of my tips! 
My last (and first) DIY blog focused on how to paint your shoes, belts and purses like a pro
Now I'm going to give you some fun easy tips on how to turn some boring sunglasses into the most awesome sunglasses you own. 


Sunglasses  The pair in this tutorial are from the Dollar Tree. 
Rhinestones (glass or crystal flatback stones. Get the 16ss/4mm. They aren't too big or too small)
E6000 Glue
A Wax Stick (I made mine, the link goes to some that you can buy)
A clear well ventilated place to work (lay down some clean sheets of paper).

If  your sunnies aren't brand new, be sure to wash them with dish soap and allow them to dry before you start.  That will remove any oils and give you a clean surface to work on.  You can also use glass cleaner or eyeglass cleaner.  Do not use rubbing alcohol (it can damage your lenses).

Warning:  E6000 is not a gentle glue like Elmer's or Tacky Glue.  It is a serious professional level glue.  You will need proper ventilation and you will need to be careful using this glue (don't get it on your skin. wear gloves if you need to).  Once it is fully dry it has a flexible bond that is waterproof and can handle heat, which is why it is used in professional costume design. 
You should not use super glue, crazy glue or hot glue for this project.  Super/Crazy glue is going to destroy your rhinestones and the lenses in your glasses.  Hot Glue dries hard and milky... so, you won't get a professional outcome and you're going to generally wonder WTF happened.
Glue is a tool, so be certain you are using the correct tool for the job!


So you have all of your stuff ready to go.  You have a clear surface to work, you have some music on... you have two windows open and a fan blowing.  You're a rockstar at this already!

You're going to go ahead and sprinkle your stones out onto a piece of paper and kinda brush them around with your fingers until the majority of them are facing shiny/pointy side up and the flat side down. 
If you happened to get some flatback stones with glue on the back, don't worry about it.  That glue isn't good for this job, and the glue we're about to use will happily stick to it).

So, most of my stones are pointing up.  This is going to make it a lot easier to work faster once the glue is down. 

You're going to want to go ahead and get used to working with the wax stick, now.  Practice is going to make this easier.  Take the chance to get used to working with your tools. 

The wax stick I made myself is just a Qtip that I dipped multiple times into some melted candle wax and then shaped to get the tool to do what I like it to do.  This is my own technique, and you don't need to worry about that, right now.  I don't recommend this project without wax sticks/jewel setters. 

So, take your wax stick and pick up some stones with it.  You won't hurt the stones if you press too hard (it just gets wax on them or makes it harder to transfer them).  I like to pick up a lot of stones at once so I can place them as fast as possible.  You should limit yourself to 1-3 to start because they will fall off and that is a pain in the butt (I find rhinestones everywhere). 

It's very easy once you get the hang of it. 


Now we're ready to get to work!

Take your sunglasses and apply a strip of glue to half of your frame.  
It should be wide enough that the entire stone sits on it.  It should be tall enough to let the stone sink in a little, but not get forced out the sides when the stone gets gently pressed into it (practice on paper if you need to, before trying on your frames.  This glue cannot be cleaned off.  If you get some strings, don't worry! They can be pulled off once they are dry).

I went from the edge of the frame in towards to center and stopped when I hit the nose. 
This is just ONE row of stones. 


You are going to use those skills you practiced earlier and you are going to apply those rhinestones to the glue.  You should have enough time to scoot them around a bit to get them all aligned well. 

The great thing about rhinestone lines, like this, is that they fit together and make a nice tight pattern (which is what I did with these).  If you want to just add a couple of rhinestones to the edges, or you want to create a different pattern... you absolutely can!  This tutorial is just here to give you the inspiration to do whatever you think will look awesome. 

After I placed that first line of stones I added another thin layer of glue and applied the next line like this:
When you cluster them together in this sort of pattern you get more sparkle and more coverage. 
If course you can also apply them side by side in uniform rows, but that will also show off the little bits of glue poking up between the stones more easily. 

I did three rows across the top of the frames and a fourth row on the bridge of the nose to bring the design down and give the glasses more character. 
I used about 160 4mm stones total. 

Whatever way you decide to go with your awesome rhinestoned sunglasses... you're going to pretty much keep repeating these steps until you're done and happy with your work.  And, then you're going to set them somewhere (on paper) to dry for about 24 hours before wearing them.

Some extra tips:

If you want to cover your entire frames with rhinestones... you can!  You're going to want to devote more time to that project by doing the top or bottom half first, letting that dry... then flipping them over and doing the other side.  If you set the glasses down to dry on the uncured glue, your stones will slip out of place.  Be patient with bigger projects!

You've seen those super cute glasses with flowers and pearls and all sorts of goodies and you want to make those?  Sure!  Same techniques!  You'll want to get yourself some flatback pearls, some flower cabochons, bow cabochons... or whatever else makes your happy little heart soar!
You can make your designs as Kawaii or as Chic or Retro or Modern as you want to fit into your personal style. 

This project makes a really fun sleepover or birthday party project for young adults 13+.  It's a very easy project to do, but it does require patience and getting to know your tools. 

I don't recommend this for anyone with poor hand/eye coordination or lacking steady/confident hand movements.  It is not recommended to anyone who is very sensitive to chemical smells/fumes or has chemical sensitive migraines. 


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