Does that bandoleer come with matching earrings?

My eldest and I have finished her fancy dress costume for leavers day. LEAVERS DAY !!!

Yes, she is about to leave school and I’ll have a panic attack if I think about it too much, so… on with the costume.

Bandoleer, how great is a costume that needs a bandoleer…

Answer, this great! Yes, that’s Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter not my daughter.

Now this is a lot of costume, so we started small.

The main ingredients for the bandoleer were;

  • Stylecraft double knit wool in khaki
  • Metal look beads, 3
  • Small metal rings, 2
  • Acrylic paint (a little diluted with water and in lots of colours)
  • Strong tea (no milk or sugar)
  • Wooden cotton reels

After asking around for wooden cotton reels in a few haberdasheries and craft shops with no joy, I found bags of mixed size new ones on eBay. Got to love eBay.

Now being new and empty they needed some thread. I like to do things properly where I have the knowledge and resources, but I also don’t like to punish myself when there is a reasonable alternative. So we painted them. I know I know, I still feel as if I cheated, but it’s done now and even painting them took long enough.

They needed ageing, so, once the paint was completely dry I dumped the whole lot in a large bowl of strong tea, it seemed very appropriate, and left them soaking for half a day, then hung then on the line to dry.

It was then a simple case of threading them together with the wool (using a darning needle) and attaching a ring at either end of the cotton reels. We plaited the wool which goes around the back with a 6 string plait but using 12 strands of wool to thicken the whole thing up (each one of the 6 strings then consisted of 2 strands of wool, I hope that makes sense). The end that hangs down from the front was a straight forward 3 string plait. We finished both plaits with the metal look beads.

I know The Mad Hatter does not have earrings, but this costume is not a faithful reproduction, more of a homage. Plus we had to, the mini cotton reels that came in the mix bag are just adorable at only 9mm long.

So in answer to the question I posed sometime ago… Yes, that bandoleer does come with matching earrings, yay.

I started by painting and tea staining the cotton reels just like the bandoleer. Then I found some button earrings that I wasn’t going to wear and removed the buttons so I was left with the flat pad stud earring posts.

Using needle nose pliers I bent the sides of the flat pad to fit around the cotton reel, I also scuffed up the pad so that the super glue would have a better surface to adhere to.

Once I was happy with the fit, I super glued the reel to the no longer flat, flat pad stud earring posts.

When the glue had gone off I wrapped the reel and the pad with a cotton that matched the paint colour.

I think that’s enough for part one.

The full outfit and more details of how we put it together, coming soon, now available here, The Mad Hatter Costume.

Shelley