Dream First Instructions Designed by Cheri Carlson
Graduation is a special time in a student's life and you can make it even more special by customizing a graduation cap! We encourage you to make your cap as personal as possible. These instructions will show you how Cheri, one of our designers, went about creating this one and you can then use these steps to help you make your own design. Create a custom design by using your name, your school's name or your graduating year and of course, make sure you include your school colors. Graduation day is your time to shine so make sure you or your child is noticed with a sparkling mortar board!
Step one: Measure the dimensions of the top of the graduation cap and sketch it out on paper. Our graduation cap measured 9 1/2 inches square. We used an 8 1/2 x 11 inch sheet of copy paper and trimmed it to 8 1/2 x 8 1/2 inches. Draw out your desired design on the paper.
Step two: If you are adding words to your cap, print out a template for those words in the font you wish to use. Enlarge it to the size right for your cap and print it out. Trim the paper down so that there is very little extra paper around the word or words.
Step three: Place the font template onto the cap and then use low tack masking tape to isolate the area for the font.
Step four: Select Swarovski 2058 XILION rose enhanced flatbacks in various sizes to correspond with the thickness of the letters in your template. Choosing the sizes and the number of crystals is the most difficult part. We wanted the crystals to follow our selected font as close as possible as it transitioned from thick to thin. We recommend purchasing plenty of flatbacks in a range of sizes so you can pick and choose the best sizes as you go. Place the flatbacks on top of the template to make sure you've got it right. You can use any leftover flatbacks in the rest of the design or for another project.
Step five: Tape your graduation cap to the surface you are working on so it doesn't move or wiggle while placing the crystals on it. It doesn't take much movement to turn a carefully placed design into a puddle of crystals.
Step six: Place the crystals from your font template into the box you created in step three. Position them so that they look as close to the template as possible. To move the crystals quickly and easily from the template to the cap, use the The BeadSmith Pick-it-up Vacuum Tool. For help on how to use this fantastic tool, watch our Handy Tip video. The placement of your flatbacks doesn't have to be perfect, and they won't be. You can see in this picture that they are messy. They will shift around as you work. What's important is that you place your entire design, ensuring that the letters are spaced the way you like and that you don't run out of room in the designated space. As you glue, you can perfect the placement and tighten up the spacing.
Step seven: Use the Pick-it-up Vacuum Tool to lift the crystals, use a toothpick to dab the glue onto the surface of the fabric and then glue the crystals into place. See our video to see this technique in action. Allow the crystals to dry and then remove the masking tape.
Step eight: Place the crystals for the rest of the design in the same way, this time just using your paper pattern from step one as a guideline. We placed Swarovski SS34 XILION rose enhanced flatbacks in Citrine in the corners of the cap and placed the border next. Use masking tape to get a straight line for the border. Let that dry and then remove the tape. Add the rest of your design in the same manner, using tape if you need to and referring to your original sketch.