Embellishing a dollar store mask

My new job has a tendency to have themed get togethers, including people dressing up in full costume. The first party I attended at work had the theme ‘Super hero’. Initially I thought it would be a great opportunity to make a Wonder Woman themed costume. Somehow time went by and I got lost looking and reading about super inspiring and beautiful cosplay versions of Wonder Woman. I totally lost track of time and suddenly it was a couple of days before the event. Oops!

Working with what I had, I bought a cheap Venice lace mask from the dollar store for 2,50 euro and I did some embellishment. When I went to the store, they also had beautiful black metal face masks that were already embellished. They were very uncomfortable though and rather expensive. The lace ones were a better alternative. In the end I would only be wearing this mask for a couple of hours at a costume party. Let’s not overthink this.

I planned on wearing it with my purple belly dance dress with gold and crystals, and I wanted to customize the mask to match. First I brought out the AB crystals. These are SS20 and I bought them in bulk from a company in China. They ended up being on the large side but I glued them on anyway. I used E6000 glue as it holds up really well.


After adding the crystals, I used some of the craft tools from my daughter to dab gold glitter paint on the mask, to make it a bit more sparkly The glitter didn’t cover as well as I hoped but it worked.

img_1297On the night of the party I secured the mask with the black ties behind my head and I used a flower clip to fixate the ties in place as well. It held up for hours and was a great hit combined with the gold isis wings. After four hours I had enough, as the mask started sliding in front of my eyes and I took it off. There was a lot of dancing going on by then so time to ditch the costume and dance the night away! My compliments though for the people who kept their costumes on, including a Star Trek officer, a girl dressed as a super computer including Christmas lights.

In short, if you need a mask and want to match it with your costume, I highly recommend getting a cheap mask. Adding drawing, rhinestones or paint is very fast and easy plus it looks great!

I am a professional bellydancer, costume-a-holic and dance studio owner living in the Netherlands. My passion is teaching and performing bellydance and I’ve been doing that for almost two decades. I am a teacher at the online Belly Dance Business Academy, where you can find courses and workshops to help you grow your belly dance business. If you like to be kept in the loop, please like Kyria Bellydance on Facebook , follow me on Twitter or find me on Instagram


How to add elastic to non-stretch arm bands

Arm band without and with elastic

Most bellydance costumes come with accesoires, like arm bands, gauntlets or sleeves. The past couple of years I was short on time so instead of making my costumes, I bought a couple and those costumes came with arm bands. Arm bands that, despite the addition of a bit of elastic, wouldn’t stay on my arms.

As this is a common problem, I’ll show you how I add elastic to non-stretch arm bands hoping that it will save you time and frustration with your own costuming endeavours.

What do you need?

The arm band(s)

Matching thread

Elastic, width should fit within your arm band

A couple of pins

A (wine) bottle

You could use any bottle, but it happens that the wine bottle was the first one available.

Red thread and pins
Red thread and pins

Take the wine bottle and place it in front of you. Take the arm band, flip it inside out and put it on top of the wine bottle. Pull it down until it is fully stretched, like so.

Arm band on wine bottle, notice the start of the 'thread casing' of the elastic on the left.
Arm band on wine bottle, notice the start of the ‘thread casing’ of the elastic on the left.

Pin the elastic in place, thread your needle and create a ‘thread casing’ for the elastic by taking the needle across, pushing it through the fabric and emerging a couple of mm to the left of where you entered te fabric. Rinse, repeat. Here’s a drawing in an attempt to better explain what to do, but from a left hand perspective.

Creating a 'thread casing' for elastic
Creating a ‘thread casing’ for elastic

Continue sewing all around the arm band. In the end, pull the elastic taut and sew into place. Put the arm band on your arm before cutting the exces elastic off to make sure it is the right fit. On the outside the armband will look identical, but on the inside it now contains elastic that will keep it secure on your arm.

Arm band without and with elastic
Arm band without and with elastic

That’s it for today, keep on dancing and see you next time!