How to Make a Wire Samba Headdress

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Brazilian samba is of African origins.
Brazilian samba is of African origins. (Image: BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images)

Samba headdresses are elaborate pieces that are worn for Brazilian dance routines and celebrations. They often contain feathers, sequins and other decorative pieces. They can also vary in size from small and lightweight to several feet tall and quite heavy with layers of decorations. Though these head pieces can be purchased, they can also be handmade. Making your own samba headdress will let you add your own personal touch.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Wire (similar to coat hanger wire)
  • Pliers (optional)
  • Wire cutters
  • Hot glue
  • Hot glue gun
  • Decorative pieces (feathers, sequins, other colorful pieces)

Measure the circumference of the wearer's head just about the eyebrows and ears. The headdress will be worn at the same level as a regular hat.

Cut a piece of wire equal to the measurement taken in the previous step plus approximately an inch with a pair of wire cutters. This will be the base of the hat that sits upon the wearer's head. It will support the rest of the hat. The extra inch will be used for fastening the ends of the wire to one another.

Cut a selection of wires that will support the decorative pieces with a pair of wire cutters. There is no set number of wires nor is there any set length for each wire. Use a selection of different wire heights so that the hat has layers and depth. Cut each wire approximately 1 inch longer than you would like it to be as you will need some extra to secure the wire to the base of the headdress.

Bend the wire cut in Step 2 into a circle with your hands. Twist approximately a 1/2 inch of each end of the wire around the circle with your hands or pliers. The twist will secure the wire into a circle so that it can sit on the head of the wearer.

Twist one end of each additional wire around the circular base of the the headdress to create the skeleton of the headdress which will later contain the decorative pieces with your hands or pliers. There is no set spacing require between wires. There is also no set form. You can use your own creativity and imagination to create the headdress skeleton. Twist some wires to other skeleton wires to create additional layer in the headdress.

Adhere decorative pieces to the wires with hot glue or instant bonding glue. Instant bonding glue will work best for larger, heavier pieces while hot glue would work well on smaller, lighter pieces. Place a bead of glue on the wire in the area that will come in contact with the decorative piece. Press the decorative piece into the bead of glue with your fingers. Hold the decorative piece in place for several seconds so that it bonds with the glue.

Allow the glue to dry thoroughly before moving or wearing the headdress. Dry hot glue will be cool and plastic-like. Dry instant bonding glue with not be tacky.

Tips & Warnings

  • Build the headdress with the larger wires and decorative pieces closer to the center, and a headdress with smaller wires and decorative pieces closer to the perimeter. This will allow for all layers of the headdress to be visible.
  • Avoid skin contact when working with instant bonding glue. Instant bonding glue can quickly adhere to skin.

References

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