One of the blogs I follow is P.S. – I Made This… by Erica Domesek, the hip DIY diva. She started her blog to show other fashion-lovers how to make their own versions of designer knockoff goods. I am not big on designer goods, but this lady has some great ideas, including this faceted crystal clutch that is her interpretation of one by Tom Ford.
Now I’ll have to admit, I am not a handbag kinda gal. (Nor am I a shoe gal). I guess those genes missed me when God was handing them out. But I was so intrigued by Erica’s version of this clutch, that I felt I had to make one for myself, with the excuse of giving myself a clutch that I don’t have that might come in handy one day. You know, those black-tie affairs that may just come up out of the blue ;0)
For this project, I basically needed a black acrylic box clutch and Swarovski crystals. I got my clutch on Aliexpress for less than $18, but you might also be able to find similar ones on Amazon. Just do a search for “black acrylic clutch”. They come in various colors, so you might have to click through the listings to find a vendor who’s selling a black one. My clutch measured approximately 7 x 4.25 x 2.25 inches.
I purchased my Swarovski crystals from Dreamtime Creations here. Now the price was a sticker shock, but I shouldn’t have been surprised because number one, Swarovski crystals are the best crystals you can buy, number two, Swarovski Elements crystals – as these were – are the creme de la creme, and three, these were huge stones. (I got the 38 x 21 mm ones). I ended up spending over $100 for the 21 stones I used for my clutch, even with a coupon. However, as you will see, you may be able to get away with using just 18 crystals.
The clutch came with a lightweight, dinky gold tone chain that cheapened the look of the clutch, so I replaced it with a chain from an old broken belt I had in my collection of junk jewelry.
(Even though the chain is old, it has an interesting look to the links that I think dresses up the clutch).
I unhooked the removable clips from both ends of the original chain and attached them onto the replacement chain, clipping them back onto the clutch.
I wasn’t sure if Erica embellished her clutch on both sides or just one side. Since the crystals were so expensive, I decided to decorate only one side of my clutch, but which side was the front? Not being a handbag girl myself, I turned to my handbag fanatic friend, Eva, and asked her. She told me that the side opposite the side with the snap closure (and chain) was the front.
The most nerve-wracking part for me was the gluing of the crystals. Using the photo in the P.S. – I Made This… blog as a guide, I tried arranging the stones onto the surface of my clutch in an attractive, yet random manner. I used some E6000 industrial glue to adhere each crystal.
I soon realized I should have practiced squeezing out the right amount of glue in order to see how much I actually needed because as I glued the crystals down onto my clutch, some of the glue squeezed out from underneath the edges of the stones when I pressed down on them. It was a mess to clean off the excess glue. So if you are planning to do this, get the hang of how much glue to use for each crystal before committing anything to your clutch! Also, make sure you keep a damp sponge or some baby wipes close by to periodically wipe your fingers so that you don’t end up smudging your stones, marring their appearance.
Another thing I realized as I was applying the crystals was that since I was trying to adhere all 21 stones like in Erica’s example, there wasn’t much room for error, as everything ended up being very crowded. When I was initially doing a trial run with the placement of the crystals, I found that 18 was enough to embellish the clutch and was easier to handle, but being the stickler that I am, I stubbornly forged ahead with trying to get all 21 stones on.
Here’s my clutch with all 21 crystals glued on:
As you can see, the spacing between the stones is not even. Some of the crystals are practically touching each other, while there are large gaps elsewhere. But overall I am pretty happy with how my finished clutch looks.
To be honest, the photos don’t really do it justice, as you don’t get the full impact of all those crystals. When you see the clutch in person, the bling on it is bold and in-your-face, so I’m glad I decided to embellish only one side and not both.
The question now is – will I dare carry this attention-grabbing handbag with me at the next black-tie event?
What about you? Are you big on the arm candy?