Sunday, May 30, 2010

Make a swirly (extra girly).

Where have I been for the past few weeks? I was very lucky to get to go to Spain. We stayed in Seville, and explored a bit around Andalusia's little white hill towns. Here's one of my favorites, a town called Ronda.

Ahh. So beautiful.

Throughout my trip, I kept an eye out for crafty ideas. The first one I want to show you is some...thingies...I found in a jewelry shop in Seville's old Barrio Santa Cruz. I didn't know what they were, and had to ask the lady. Have you seen them before?

You can't tell from the picture, but they are teeny tiny. (Suddenly I'm wondering if they're really so mysterious. Maybe you all have dozens of them already, and I'm the only dork in the world who has never run across them? Well, they were new to me.) Okay, here's what they are...

Little hair ornaments. The cutest! Really fun worn sprinkled amidst an updo.

Fun, yes. But kind of expensive. I paid 5 euros for these! Horrors! So I ask you: why on earth should we spend our hard-earned euros buying other people's hair swirlies, when we can easily make our own? Are you with me?

Start with some short lengths of wire. Flexible enough to bend into a swirl, but not too flimsy - it has to be able to keep its shape. I used some ornament hangers, 100 for a buck at the $ store.
Leaving a little extra length at the top, wrap your wire around something taper-y. A pen...

...or anything you can find.

When you pop the wire off, you can sort of manipulate the swirl to get it fairly regular looking. (Although lots of mine were pretty irregular, and they worked just fine. Do not stress over it. I'm talking to you, perfectionists!)

Bend the straight bit so it sticks up at right angles to the swirl.

Put a bead on the wire. Bend the wire over sideways, like this:

Make a loop above the bead to hold the bead in place. That's it!

Your girly swirlies are ready for their updo.

You can try all kinds of bead combinations. Nothing too big, though - these are meant to be dainty and barely there.

I tried some little silk blossoms, too. They worked great! Even lighter than beads.

A small caveat. The wire ends of the store-bought ones were tipped with a rubbery coating, to protect from pokes. There's this stuff you can buy, a liquid plastic, which I would recommend if you're making these for a little girl. But for me, the bare wire wasn't so scratchy that it bothered me - I think you could call it optional.

Hope you liked this project! Tomorrow, another tutorial inspired by stuff I saw in Spain.


  1. Well, I, for one, have NEVER heard of swirlies, and like you, I would have thought these were very very cute ?????? I think these are terrific, and I love your take on them! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Those are pretty damn cute. I've never seen swirling like that, but I have seen tiny clips about that size with one super tiny flower on them.
    Also thinking about your previous post using office supplies, I would if this would would using those round spiral paper clips? They also have rounded ends so you wouldn't have to worry about capping the ends.

    On a completely differen note, have you read anything about Flattr yet? Is this potentially crazy but also totally awesome idea about paying craft bloggers for their free tutorials by "flattr-ing" them. It's an interesting model. FYI I would totally flattr your tutorials - I think they're worth it for sure.

  3. I think I saw something like these a few years ago. Your tutorial is genius, and I can't wait to make some of my own!

  4. Never seen anything like it- how cute! I think your version is ace, totally inspiring as usual. Pretty darn clever!

  5. these are beautiful! i cant wait to make some with my daughter!

  6. These are so cute! I was planning on going to JoAnns today anyways, so maybe I will look for some cute beads to make these with!

  7. Those are beautiful! I had some like these when I was a little girl and loved wearing them. I can't believe how easy they are to make!

  8. I wonder if you could put some glue gun glue at the end? Once it dries it's sort of protective-y. Btw, I LOVE your blog and your projects, can't wait to try making these cute hair swirlies!

  9. THOSE ARE SO GREAT! I feel silly asking this, but how do you get them in your hair? :)?

  10. Hi, Lindsay - I wondered that, too. Basically, you swirl it in, while you hold your hair down flat right beside it. It works best with a pulled back style or updo, because if your hair is loose it tends to work its way out. But if the hair you swirl it into is secured tight, it stays in.

  11. P.S. Anonymous had a great idea - a drop of glue-gun glue on the wire end! As I look closer at the store bought ones, I think that's what they did. Good call, Anonymous Crafter.

  12. I came across your blog today and like it SOOOOO much I started at the beginning and am reading to the present! I must admit that I did know these were hair adornments. They sell them here in the states around prom time in costume jewelry stores. But I never thought to try making my own and I just can't WAIT to hit the dollar store tomorrow and try out some of your ideas!!!!