Last week I ordered some sparkly hair pins to give as a gift to one of my friends, but unfortunately, the day they arrived, my mail was stolen! We lost the hair pins, a big (now cashed) check from a client, and who knows what else.
PSA: don’t steal people’s mail!
I never received the item and though I could have just ordered it again, I realized it could also be fun to try to make my own, and then I could make any words I wanted!
Making it on my own turned out to be way more of a challenge than I expected — I figured I could just by some rhinestone letters and glue them on a clip, but surprisingly, rhinestone letters that are the correct size and shape, especially ones that don’t look super cheap, was near impossible. Let me know if you find any… all I could find were plastic beads that were far too small or Michael’s, which had plastic letters but they were also too small, the wrong color, and pretty expensive. I can’t even find them online at the moment to link them — so my options were super limited and going to cost me way more than just buying the hair pin online again.
I almost gave up, but thankfully I knew about Ponoko… Ponoko is a place that sells all different kinds of materials and laser cuts them to your design. My parents have used them before but I knew it was a bit complicated and I wasn’t sure if it would be worth it.
I decided to give it a try, and I designed some letters in the exact sizes that I wanted and in the words that I wanted, and uploaded the design for a quote on the mirror acrylic material. Ponoko listed out all the instructions for how to make the design, so they made it a lot easier than it could have been! I emailed my design to someone there to have the check it and make sure it was perfect, and then I uploaded it for the laser cutter.
The whole process ended up being super fun! Laser cutting my own letters meant I could choose exactly what words I wanted, exactly what font, what size, what color/material, etc. and I knew they would be suuuuper high quality — way better then any beads or charms I might have bought at a craft store. Ponoko’s smallest size acrylic was much bigger than just a couple letters, so I decided to print several words (BOSS, AVOCADO, YAY, ILY, OK, COOL…).
By this point, I was hyped,
and I realized I could sell some of the extra words and make even more in the future. I looked at prices for Swarovski Crystals, knowing they would be one of the most sparkly options after pure diamonds (lol), and suddenly I was committed to super high quality. Because why just make something for fun when it could be a business? (ok I admit I have a problem…)
My first-trial runs on a project like this don’t always work out perfectly, but this one did! All the materials came, and everything looked just how it was in my head and 20 minutes later, I had the hair pin of my dreams :)
Nathan took some photos of them all last night at 11pm (thank you husband!!) and now, you can officially purchase a BOSS hair pin.
I made some other words too, so I will roll those out eventually — I’m also thinking through the costs/possibility of selling DIY kits so that you can make your own without going through the process of laser cut designing etc. But all of that will come later… for now, you can buy the BOSS hair pin for $25 here. It currently costs me about $4-5 per pin, plus shipping costs, so I’m making about $17 or so off of your purchase.
Keep scrolling for the step-by-step if you’d rather DIY it!
If you’d rather make one yourself, here’s the simple step-by-step!
Make your design in Adobe Illustrator. Check the size options for the material you’re interested in, and make sure your document matches that size. If you’re making letters, type them out and get them to exactly the shape and size you want, and then convert them to outline. Make sure the lines are the correct size for the laser cutter — Ponoko has all these instructions online here!
Once you upload your design, you can choose your material and it will give you an immediate quote. I chose mirror acrylic so that it would blend in well with the crystals, and I used the smallest size, since this was an experiment. It’s cheaper to cut more at once on the bigger size, of course, so if you want 50 pins — go for it :)
It took about a week for me to receive my designs in the mail. It took 5 days to make the design, and 2 days to ship from Northern California. They smell horrible (the smell of burnt plastic), but just air it out for a while, hah.
I bought these Swarovski Crystals. I wanted a silver looking color and I thought 3mm would be a good size. I also took this size into account when making my letter design and tried to make sure 3mm would perfectly cover the letter. Swarovski is soooo sparkly and nice, but if you’re looking for a cheaper option, you could just get plastic rhinestones!
For hair pins, I’ve tried two options, and I like them both. With the strong glue I’ve been using, they hair pins really don’t need to be very wide, so even normal bobby pins might work. These are the hair pins that I’ve been happiest with so far, but I’m still on the hunt for a great option that’s a little less expensive.
To glue everything together, I used my favorite multi purpose glue (I talk about it all the time), called Rapid Fuse. It dries super fast and it’s really really strong. I squirted a tiny bit at a time onto a paper bag and used a toothpick to apply it lightly on the letters. Then I used tweezers to pick up the crystals and set them in place. You don’t want to get this glue on your hands (unless you want your fingers to be stuck forever), but also the tweezers helped me be more precise and to get them in place without getting glue all over them — gotta keep the shine!
They dry within 15 minutes and that’s it!
To shop by hair pins, just visit the store here. I will be adding more words soon!