PHOTOGRAPHY BY STEVE PARKE
Plain blue bra
Gem-Tac or another nontoxic glue that dries clear Skewer for spreading glue
Needle and thread
Fine blue glitter
(matching the dominant color of bra)
Jewels, crystals, appliqué, trim, sparkling faux plant life
As a devout attendee of the Coney Island Mermaid Parade since the year 2000, I have an annual ritual to craft a new ensemble for my high holiday. At Sparkledome Studio, the first phase of design happens when I shop for embellishments or go through my craft supplies. I lean toward heavily monochromatic color palettes because I enjoy getting very deep into the essence of a color. Especially those in the beloved-by-mermaids-everywhere blue and purple family!
After acquiring and laying out all the supplies listed above, I get to work. The base of the bra must be completely embellished with crystals. First I apply glue directly to the fabric, followed by a line of crystals. I employ a technique I call “happy marriage,” where the carefully staggered lines of crystals fit right together. You will occasionally need to use a smaller gem to fill in an odd space. Cover both cups with gems.
Next I place a layer of fine glitter that covers any visible glue in between the crystals. Just sprinkle it in. I call this “glitter grout.”
Then I add more embellishment! I hot-glue on sparkling plant life and glittery trim onto the bra straps, reinforcing it by sewing a few stitches into the strap. I hot-glue on an appliqué centerpiece, then add more jewelry onto the appliqué to make it extra fancy. Because: Extra. Fancy.
Of course I glitter the sides of the bra, too, and then hot-glue on more jewels.
Let the glue dry for at least half a day before wearing. If you make a mistake, don’t be afraid to backtrack and remove some jewels—or you can use my personal favorite technique for fixing nearly any problem: Cover it with glitter!