1- First you have to gather base supplies.
• A wire head frame- I'm very lucky to have a guy that makes my wire frames so I don't have to worry about that step. They are available from many headdress places and eBay, but you can alway fashion your own with some bailing wire (something thick but not too thick to bend) some soldering and some elbo grease.
• buckram, medium weight- it can be found at most fabric stores or EBay
• Thick thread or twine and a needle.- it can be found at any craft store *make sure it's thin enough to thread it through a common sized needle head*
• Hot glue gun- can be found at any craft store. *low temp is best since you'll need to fold material with your fingers*
• Scissors- if your reading this you should have these. Don't use fabric scissors on your buckram! It will dull the immediately!
• Fabric for covering- I used some scraps from other costumes I had made. Very little is needed, maybe half a yard at most. Stretchy fabric is easier to work with and you have less chance of wrinkles also.
• A sharpie or marker of some sort.
2- Now the very first thing I do (which is very unconventional) is take the buckram and fold it into the frame and trace around it by section. That gives me basic shapes to work with. Then cut the shapes out on the outside of the marker lines. That will help give you a bit more material to work with just incase your tracings aren't perfect. I'm not very technical or mathematical with any of this.
3- Take those shapes of buckram and place them on the under side of the section you traced it from and sew it to the wire with your twine or thread. This does not at all need to be a neat job just make sure it's solid when you finish (aka you can't put your fingers in any holes) Repeat until the entire thing is covered in buckram. This will give you space to build off of and will add some stability to the over all headdress. Large feather headdress frames end up with a vertical wire to help with stability of the feathers. This particular one I won't be using a lot of feathers.
4- Next heat up your glue gun and get your fabric out, it's time to cover it! Since buckram is a pain to hand sew I prefer to glue all of my fabric down. I start this process by laying the fabric over the wire and cutting a large square around it, I'm sure there are easier more efficient ways but this works for me. I start normally in front (the important part) and work my way back by gluing the fabric to the underside while making sure there aren't any wrinkles. I pull the fabric tight and fold the fabric over the edge and glue. I smooth out the edges by pressing the hot glue flat with the fabric. You will have some lumps on the corners from over lapping the fabric and hot glue. Make sure you bend your wires to compensate before adding your decorations on top.
On mine I did a double layer. The bottom layer being red sequins (non stretch) and the top layer being black lace (all way stretch).
I also don't line my headdresses. I have them custom made to fit very snug.
5- gather decoration supplies! This can be whatever your heart desires. For this particular headdress I got foam horns from eBay (easier to work with and lightweight) and flowers and feathers from hobby lobby (we only have commercial craft stores in town) and I had some leftover rhinestones from a older project to jazz up the horns a bit and give the flowers a bit of sparkle.
6- Before I get all happy with the glue I need to figure out what my overall look is going to be by laying out all of my decorations in different ways. That way I don't get half way in and realize I don't have enough supplies or I don't care for the layout. This was my final decision.
Now. This is just a guideline. I ended up taking out one tall feather and moving two to the inside of the horns to fill up some space.
7- I started with gluing the horns, my main focal point. I needed them to be as similar as possible In placement. Then I added the flowers. I switched the big open flowers to the center and the smaller to the outsides so it would frame my face better. I wanted this headdress to look as flush to my skin as possible.
8- then comes the feathers. I placed the side feathers with ease but with no wire support I needed to find a way to give the middle feathers enough support to stand on their own. So, I took a piece of buckram that fit the area between the horns on the back of the front flowers and layered the feathers from tallest on bottom to shortest on top. Once they were all glued very securely on the buckram I took my glue gun and saturated the bottom of the feathers and pressed them onto the back of the flowers. I then individually pressed the petals into the glue to make sure it's nice and secured. Once it was dry I double checked my feathers to make sure they weren't going anywhere. By using the buckram I ended up with a big white square on the back of my headdress, and I can't go for that. So I took a piece of a marabou boa I had laying about and glued it to the back hiding the white.
9- jeweling and beading. I just used leftover rhinestones so it wasn't as encrusted as my normal costume pieces are but still had enough sparkle for stage. Once I was done with that I added some bead strands so cover my ears and to finish off framing my face. It is now show ready!!
Terrible home shot of the finished piece.