Tut submitted by Jill (ozmaydesigns)

Supplies and Tools:
Wire Cutters
Small, sturdy cardboard box (just anything you can poke holes in to hold your stick(s) while the glue sets)
Gel-type (gap filling) super glue
2 Hairstick Blanks - The kind with the hole drilled in the top.
2 Goldtone or silvertone brass hat/lapel pin or heavy gauge headpins - One pin per hairstick.
Assorted beads (which will of course need to accommodate the larger gauge pins.

Our Project:

This is my first tutorial and I want to apologize for the pictures, the color may not be true, but I got them as clear as I could. I learned that my work tabletop isn't the best for pics - ah well, we learn as we go!

Let's get started!

Hairsticks are easy and quick and fun to make! They are also a good way to use your onsie twosie beads, OR you can use your best beads on them and since you have to use so few, your stix aren't terribly costly!

This isn't an involved process, but I will tell you what I know!

----- Hairstick Tools and Supplies:

A note about your pins - Regular headpins don't work well so, at the very least, I suggest a heavy gauge headpin. Personally, this is one place where I go against my own *NO Base Metals* rule and use brass hat/lapel pins because they are so rigid. A strong pin is important if you plan to use larger beads.

Okay, first, poke some holes in your box so that it will be ready for your stick to sit while the glue sets. (Make sure your holes aren't larger than your sticks)

Next bead up your pins in any way you like! Sometimes my hairtsticks are identical, and sometimes I make them a little different from each other (but still matching). I like them when the sticks are a bit different, but have found that they tend to sell better when they are matched bead for bead (with the exception of my dangle hairsticks).

I like to use a disc or rondelle bead last so that I have a flat bead on the bottom that will be against the top of the hairstick, but this is not strictly necessary.

Now we have to size the pins. I have used lots of different kinds of bone and wooden hairsticks over the years and the holes in the tops always vary in depth from stick to stick, so you have to measure it and trim your pins as you go. After you have your pin beaded, stick it in the hole (careful not to let your beadies fall off!) If the pin does not reach the bottom, then you are good to go - no trimming needed. You don't want any naked pin showing when you are done. Your beads should be snug and have no room to slide up and down. In the pic below (A), I have put the pin in the hole and have placed my thumbnail at the base, then as you can see in pic B, when I pull it out, I have some idea of how much pin to leave past my beads.

Do this with both pins, and trim.

Here you can see my pins are trimmed and ready to bond in. Note they are different lengths, this is because the holes are not the same depth in each stick, as I mentioned above.

Next you'll simply glue in your pins! You might find a type of glue that works better for you, but I like Loctite 454. It's a gel type of super glue. The gel formula serves to fill the gaps. The holes in the hairsticks are almost always way larger than your pin. This bothered me at first since I didn't think my pins would stay in, but if you get a good gap-filling glue and get a good bond with it.. those puppies are in there!

Clean gluing takes practice. I have to admit, I *lost* a few when I first started making hairsticks.. I messed with them til I had glue smeared and yukky and had to salvage what I could and trash the rest!

I first apply a small bead of glue on the hole.

Next I place the pin in the hole (pic C). When doing this I *pump* gently so that the glue works down into the hairstick and up onto the pin a little (pic D).

You have to be swift and neat, and try really hard not to smear glue up onto your beads. Try very hard not to have to wipe away any glue at all. The glue I use tends to leave a whitened residue when wiped away, but if you leave it alone and allow it to dry, it will dry clear. Use only as much as you need so that you don't have it squishing out, but if a tiny bit does squish out.. leave it alone! If after your hairstick dries, you do find that you have some whitening, some of that can be buffed out, depending on the kind of bead it is on.

In addition to the holes being drilled larger than needed, they are usually not straight and often not centered! Oh the woes of the handcrafted component! LOL So sometimes the natural direction of the pin in the hole is not straight. So, while your glue is still wet, place the hairstick in your box. Balance it in the hole til it's relatively straight. Allow to dry overnight.

(The glue will set in about 15 minutes or so.. but not completely for 24 hours or something)

After your hairstick has set overnight, you can correct any *slight* tilt by gently bending it, but be careful.. you can only correct them so far. I have broken beads off my pins doing this! You can see in some of my sticks that because the holes in my sticks were off center, my beads aren't perfectly centered either.. such is the charm of the hand-crafted hairstick!

Whew! That was a lot to say about gluing! LOL You get the hang of it quickly. When I first started making hairsticks I used two-part jewelers epoxy, and that stuff works but it hardens really fast and you havetohurryreallyreallyfastandIhatedthatpartofit!! LOL I lost more sticks that way because I could not beat the glue!

There! My sticks are done! They didn't take much straightening and they look pretty good!

Additional info tips and ideas -

The hairstick blanks I use are usually bone or horn, and sometimes wood. I have been looking for sterling, beadable hairsticks for years, but can't find them. With the wooden ones, you can use them as is, or you can paint them! I keep thinking I am going to paint some black and then dip them in varathane several times for some really shiny ones.. wouldn't those be pretty!!

For another variety, you can attach a dangle to your sticks. Just be sure to either include a bead with a loop, or a ring between two of the beads when beading your pins so that you can later attach your dangle.

Like this -

OR if you have some chain that will take the larger gauge headpin, you can add 1/2 to 1 inch of that between two of your beads and then charm that up after the pins are dry.

Like this -

OR you can bond a plain eye into the hole and make the entire hairstick topper dangly! Just take care not to make it too heavy or they don't stay in the hair as well.

Here are the dangly sticks I made while creating this tut.

A last consideration - If you use an asymmetrical bead (such as a lampwork bead with a froggy on it) you may wish to apply a little glue to the pin prior to putting him on so that he does not *spin* when you are done. Again, careful not to smear him with glue!

Questions and Answers

Q - How longs of pins do I need?
A - The holes are never very deep in my experience. I can't imagine making one where a 3" pin would not work. I just used the 5 inchers because it's what I had on hand. Generally the holes range from just under to just over half-inch. You only need about a half inch to bond at the end, although I usually leave as much as will fit in the hole. So, unless you plan on putting more than 2.5 inches worth of beads on the pin, you should be fine with the 3 inch pins.

Q - How do I use hairsticks?
A - As far as using hairsticks. Remember that you don't have to actually use them to secure your hair. It's not really cheating to put your hair up in a french twist with hairpins or whatever and then just *decorate* with hairsticks! And actually, you can wear them in more varied ways if you *don't* use them to secure your hairdo. This means those with shorter hair can play too! I've seen pics of long braids adorned with multiple hairsticks. As long as you can get them to stay in, you are doing it right! LOL

Basically, you pull your hair up and twist it until it twists into a bun. Then, take one stick and weave it in and out of your hair, catching the bun and the hair under it that's against your head. Take a second stick and do it on the opposite side, or at a 45 degree angle from the first stick, to secure it.

Here is a tut I found on a webby to share. I did not write this, but you might find it helpful:

How to Use Hair Sticks

Tired of using pens and pencils to secure an updo? Or, looking for a hip way to hold a bun or French twist in place? Hair sticks are the answer.

1. Use hair sticks in place of combs, pins and clips. They work best on styles in which hair is twisted, gathered or rolled. Make your style as tight as possible before inserting a stick - it will loosen up gradually.

2. Envision the ideal placement of the sticks. Think of where to position decorative tips, for example. A second stick may be added to further secure the style, or simply for decoration.

3. Grip the stick at its widest portion. Avoid using the decorative top section as a lever; it might break off.

4. Insert the stick so that the tip and end are at the opposite angle of their final position. Instead of spearing a bun or twist, graze the roll or coil so that it collects about a 1-inch section of hair. Push the stick until the tip protrudes at least a fingertip in length.

5. Lift the stick like a lever and rotate it 180 degrees from the insertion point. Hook a small amount of the hair that's pulled flat against the head while pushing the stick through the style. When securing a bun, make sure to push the tip through the coil at the opposite end.

6. Practice and be patient. Hair sticks can be a difficult accessory to get used to. Rely on your sense of touch to guide their position and firmness of hold.

If dry hair doesn't cooperate, work with towel dry hair instead for easier control. Experiment with additional positions. It may be necessary to collect more hair on the initial insertion for a tighter hold.