Monday, June 11, 2012

How to make Ballroom Earrings..Easy! Plus More!

When I first started competing in  ballroom dance, it was difficult to find reliable sources of information about dressing appropriately for competition.  I didn't know how or where to find proper dresses or jewelry or how to do my hair and makeup.  Ballroom attire is glamorous, sparkly and created in a way that makes smooth movement easy without  garment shifting.  Pulling and tugging your dress on the dance floor (or even off the dance floor when mingling with the spectators!) definitely takes away from the  sophisticated "lady"image that dancers project.  When competing, dancers must be sharply focused on posture and movement, partnership and musicality at all times.  Dancing with a wedgie or a shoulder strap that won't stay up is very distracting! It took me years to learn what to wear.  
I had been with a different studio before I began dancing with my present coach, Marcel, and they really didn't offer much information regarding dressing for dance.  Most professional instructors DO provide help in finding the right attire, but in this case, I had to learn, and make many expensive mistakes on my own!  5 years later, I'm familiar with most of the dress and jewelry makers out there. 
Now the only barrier is expense!  Ballroom dresses are outrageously expensive; although it's not unjustified.  Swarovski crystal stones are hand designed and placed on every dress.  Typically, there are hundreds or thousands of stones on each dress and the designs are intricate. There are many other features of ballroom dresses that justify the expense and I can share that in a future post.  
Jewelry is also specific to ballroom dance.  It's not appropriate to just buy a piece in a retail store.  Jewelry needs to be large, very sparkly and must stay in place.  For the smooth and standard dances (Waltz, foxtrot, Tango, Quickstep and Viennese Waltz) and as opposed to Latin and Rhythm (Jive, Cha-Cha, Rhumba, Paso Doble and Samba) the earrings must be stable, not dangly.  Judges don't want to see dangly earrings flying around the face when a sharp headsnap is being executed.  The hair and the jewelry must be tidy and in place.  
For one of my early comps I found a simple pair of earrings for the most reasonable price I could find (from a vendor at the comp).  I paid $60.00 for a pair just like the ones I demonstrate how to make here.  The prices only go up from there!
Sometimes earrings do break or fly off when dancing.  I wanted to have a back up pair but didn't want to pay the price.  So I looked them over and decide I could make my own for a tiny fraction of the price.  These earrings cost $10.00 for me to make, paying retail price for the supplies.
You can also make special event earrings using these instructions.

First, gather your supplies

You will need tweezers, E-6000 adhesive (any craft store or  store like Meijer, Walmart),  four  20 mm round Swarovski crystal AB stones (sometimes available in craft stores; cheaper if you purchase online), 2 tear drop Swarovski stones, clip on earring backs (craft stores; clip on is used for ballroom, with a dab of eyelash glue for more stability).

I'm wearing the earrings here, but as you can see, they are cock at an odd angle......the point would typically be angled a bit more to the back of the ear.  This is after a showcase performance.

Open earring clip.  Apply a small dab of the E-6000 to the flat part of the metal earring clip where the stone will be placed.   Carefully place the earring back onto the back of the tear drop stone.  Lie the piece, stone faced down to dry with the clip open.  If needed, you can careful adjust the placement of the back.  Put a pea sized dab of the e-6000 on a paper plate or piece of paper on a protected surface (so the glue won't ruin work surface).  Pick up one of the 20 mm stones with tweezers and carefully dab the stone back onto the adhesive so that the back is covered.  Place the stone on the teardrop stone over the two tiny holes on the top and bottom of the stone.  Allow glue to dry.

The E-6000 can be a bit stringy.  It dries clear and the glue residue can be scraped off the earring stone once completely dry.  You now have stunning earrings for ballroom or any glamorous event for around $10.00!  The stones do come in other sizes and shapes and are so incredibly sure to purchase AB stones which have a special coating that adds far more sparkle and dimensions that regular rhinestones.
You can probably have fun with could make pierced earrings if you don't dance.  There are smaller stones in a variety of shapes and the MANY colors.  You could customize earrings to suit just about any dress color.

I purchase my stones at Action Fabrics and Trim in Chicago;

The smaller stones are sold only by the gross, so if you only want a few, you can find them in small quantities at craft stores.  The larger ones are sold by the piece.

Have fun playing!


  1. The earrings are quite lovely...and at this price, you could make several pair for what you paid for your first pair.

  2. Thank You, Terri! I know.....I'm not thrilled that I spent that much, but when I started competing, I didn't have much information. When I examined the earrings and found a source for the made sense to just do my own from now on.

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