I often need to get my hair out of my face. However, I can’t wear headbands because they give me a headache. Most barrettes are made for children so it is difficult to find anything along that line I like.
Additionally, the truth is I much prefer using hair combs anyway. I find they work best in my hair because they don’t pull too tightly, causing my fragile hair to snap and break.
However, plain combs aren’t for me. I need a little personality in everything that I wear. That includes my hair combs. So I have invented ways to jazz up my combs to suit who I am as an individual.
In previous articles I outlined how to customize headbands and barrettes for little girls. In this one, I’ll cover hair combs, which can be used by women of all age groups.
To create these lovely combs you will need:
Plain combs in different sizes and colors;
Flat trim (e.g., ribbon, braid, sequins or beads);
Ribbon or silk flowers of all sizes;
Miscellaneous decorations (e.g., cameos, charms or jewels);
Acrylic paint (three-dimensional, flat, puff, shiny, glitter, jewel, etc);
Hot glue gun;
Needle and thread.
Follow these step by step instructions to create your own hair combs:
Step 1. Determine the type, size, and colors you want. This will make everything easier as you shop for supplies to put your hair combs together.
Step 2. You can purchase most of the above supplies at any arts and crafts or discount department store.
Look for trim that is the right width for the combs you have chosen. Some combs have a narrow band between the teeth and the edge of the piece, while others can offer a wider space of about one-half inch maximum.
Grosgrain or velvet ribbon works best since satin ribbon is difficult to adhere without glue seeping through and leaving an ugly mark.
Avoid having to cut ribbon down to make it fit. Doing that will likely cause it to fray.
Since most braiding is roughly one-half inch in width or larger, you won’t be able to use it on combs with a smaller edge. Like ribbon, braiding doesn’t cut down easily without fraying or coming completely apart.
For beading or sequins, consider using strands rather than individual pieces. Strands are easier to apply and give a nice clean polish to the piece.
Be mindful of sizing. While it is okay aesthetically for such beads to overlap the comb edge, the extra tension could cause the stones to pop off easily.
Silk and ribbon flowers work well for decorating combs. I particularly like them because they can be either glued or sewn on. I prefer sewing them onto the comb to avoid losing them too quickly. Sometimes glue and plastic don’t provide strong enough adherence.
Choose flowers of all shapes and sizes. This is one instance when the decoration can be larger than the comb edge.
Choose other decorations for combs. Better still, use jewelry items like cameos, pins, jewels or charms. Again, be mindful of the size in relationship to the comb’s edge. While some spill over is perfectly acceptable, there must be enough connection between the comb and the decoration to hold the two securely together.
Opt for your acrylic paint of choice or mix and match several different types together. Just make certain what you choose with work on the material (e.g., plastic, resin or metal) of the hair comb.
Step 3. Apply fabric stiffener or Scotch Guard to ribbon or braid and silk or ribbon flowers to help prevent easy staining. Follow the instructions provided on the product chosen.
Let everything dry thoroughly before moving on to the next step.
Step 4. Cut trim (ribbon, braid, bead or sequin strands, etc) to the length of the comb or slighly shorter. Glue the trim into place with a glue gun or craft glue, which ever offers the best adherence and cleanest look. Make certain the ends are glued closed as well so nothing will unravel and unstring.
Step 5. Lay out the flowers on the comb to determine the pattern you want to use. Then glue or sew each flower onto the comb as laid out.
I prefer sewing flowers onto a comb as it provides stronger support.
Step 6. Lay other decorations onto the comb to develop a desired look. Once you get the piece as you want it, hot glue everything (e.g., cameos, jewels, beads, etc.) onto the comb piece by piece.
Step 8. Hand paint your own designs onto the comb using your acrylic paint of choice. Mix and match colors and textures to create interest and pizzazz.
Consider combining multiple treatments together within a single design. Here are some ideas:
Add a flower to a comb already covered with ribbon for extra texture and design.
Add a cameo to a braided comb to give it a Victorian-inspired look.
Hand paint designs onto the comb and then accent it with stick-on jewels or glitter.
Mix silk or ribbon flowers with pearls for a romantic look and feel.
Let your imagination go wild or tailor a comb to the design of a particular article of clothing. Have fun with it and create beautiful one-of-kind hair combs.