DIY How To Crystallize A Leopard Print Pattern With Flatback Crystals
The purpose of this tutorial created by Crystal and Glass Beads is to show you how to create your own unique Leopard print pattern on a converse toe which can be crystallized. Having a range of crystals will enable you to achieve a more pleasing result. The main crystal sizes used in the tutorial are ss5, ss7 and ss9 along with a small number of ss12 and 16. You DON’T have to have all these crystal sizes to complete the Leopard Print Converse tutorial but it’s recommended to have at least ss5, ss7 and ss9 crystals for filling in any gaps.
- Fine Sandpaper or emery cloth/file for roughing up/scratching the rubber toe.
- Isopropyl Alcohol also called Rubbing Alcohol which is used for degreasing the rubber toe and removing any dust. (available on ebay which is where we get ours).
- Clean Cotton Cloth/hanky/tea towel for applying the Isopropyl alcohol.
- Flatback Non Hotfix Crystals – For this tutorial I have used Jet, Light Colorado Topaz and Smoked Topaz colour flatback crystals in a variety of sizes ss5, ss7, ss9 and ss12. (available here)
- Cocktail Stick which is a small wooden stick with a sharp point at both ends, they are usually used to skewer food or decorations and can be purchased from any supermarket.
- Converse Trainers to add crystals to.
- Gemtac Adhesive which is a strong craft adhesive that’s white when applied but dries clear and is non toxic. (available here)
- Crystal Katana Tool for applying non hotfix flatback crystals which is a really nice tool to use for all crystal sizes (available here)If you are on a tight budget or are only looking to use the tool once we also have a cheaper tool available which you can use called the Magic Pick Mini (available here)
- Fine Permanent Markers for colouring in the Leopard Print (3 colours used, black, brown and sand yellow). OPTIONAL EXTRAS
- Fine Pencil For drawing leopard print outline.
1. Place the Light Colorado Topaz crystals faceted side facing up on a clean flat surface, keeping the various crystal sizes in separate groups so that they are easy to locate. For this tutorial the main crystal sizes used are ss5 and ss7, ive also used a number of ss9, a small quantity of ss12 and 3 0r 4 ss16 crystals.
2. Give the flat face of the rubber toe a good rub down to scratch the surface, this creates a much better platform for the adhesive to bond to than a smooth surface.
3. Using a clean cotton cloth and some rubbing alcohol wipe down the surface of the toe to remove any grease or rubber particles. The alcohol will dry very quickly leaving no residue behind.
4. Once the toe is dry using a fine pencil draw the outline of the leopard print pattern you intend to crystallize. There are a couple of things you need to take into consideration when doing this.
i. Any gaps between patterns need to be at least as wide as your smallest crystal (if not wider so that you can use a larger crystal or combination of crystals to fill the gap).
ii. Both the squiggly patterns and inside the patterns are also going to be filled with crystals so don’t make hard work for yourself by creating shapes that tailor off into fine points or edges of shapes that are too fine to crystallize. Basically keep the shapes nice and rounded and not too thin.
5. One Leopard Print outline complete (I did mess the first one up and had to rub it out with a cotton cloth and some alcohol, which is why it’s drawn in pencil first and not with pen).
6. Using the Black permanent marker colour in the squiggles being careful to work towards you so that you don’t smudge any wet pen ink.
7. Next I fill in the squiggle centres with my brown permanent marker .
8. Finally colour in the yellow (Once the ink has dried the nasty dayglo yellow colour fades to a more acceptable sand yellow ; )
9. There you are.. Already the yellow is looking much more appealing. I did start this tutorial using e6000 but for some reason it just didn’t like the marker surface so I opted for trying gemtac which is white when you put it on but dries clear and doesn’t stink like e6000 does.
10. Now if you are used to using e6000 and have also tried gemtac for this tutorial you are going to notice a difference in working with the adhesive, so it’s worth me explaining their differences so that you don’t panic when it looks like the crystals are going to sink under the glue. When you apply e6000 it’s thick in consistency so the if it’s applied thickly, that’s the way it will dry that way same goes if it’s applied thinly. Gemtac on the other hand is a lot thinner in consistency so it’s very easy to apply it a little thicker than you perhaps intend to, this can leave the crystals looking like they are bogged down in a white goo. Unlike e6000 which comes out of the tube clear gemtac starts out white but dries clear, it also shrinks ( self levels) as it dries so initially it may look like you have a little too much glue but don’t panic as it will shrink and dry clear within a short time. As long as you don’t get glue over the face of the crystals then once gemtac is dry you will have a nice pleasing result.
11. Pick up your first crystal and set it into position on your adhesive, position and then press down on the crystal so that it’s securely bonded with the adhesive. (Try not to do it the other way around i.e. press down and then position of the crystal face will act like a scoop and you will get a nice build up of adhesive over the top of the crystal face. If this does happen remove the crystal and place another in it’s place.)
12. First few crystals fill the gap nicely.
13. Continue adding your light Colorado Topaz crystals (or whichever colour crystals you decide to use).
14. Again continue adding crystals, i prefer to work from the edges inwards so that the outside edge always looks neat (Just my personal preference).
15. That’s the last of the Light Colorado Topaz Crystals applied in a nice neat pattern.
16. Onto the Smoked Topaz crystals fill in the gaps as best as you can using the crystal sizes available to you.
17. And Finally onto the Jet crystals.
STEPS FOR A MORE PROFESSIONAL RESULT:
18. To achieve a more professional result which basically means a tighter fit for filling the gaps with crystals you may need to spend a little time working out the patterns before gluing. Until you become used to working with the various size crystals and judging which crystals fit which gap it will be worth you using the following method.
19. Trial and error….. fill the gap with the various size crystals you have available to provide the best fit DON’T USE ANY GLUE YET. Just place the crystals in the gap.
20. Once you are happy one by one maintaining the same order and pattern, place the crystals onto your work surface ready for gluing.
21. Glue up the gap using your cocktail stick tip.
22. Apply the crystals to the adhesive in the same pattern/order as laid out on your work surface.
23. Crystals give a nice fit and are applied to the adhesive quickly as the pattern is already worked out.
24. Voila…… 1 finished Swarovski Crystallized Leopard Print Converse Toe.
Thank you for viewing the Leopard Print Converse tutorial we hope you found it useful and welcome your feedback.
Author: Crystal and Glass Beads