Something no one tells you when you decide to compete is how expensive it can be. For as little clothing as we wear on stage, I think I’ve spent more money on competition gear than I have on work clothes in the past two years. The bikini alone (which is about 3 inches of fabric) can easily cost $600, and professional-level suits can be up to $1,500! Now, they are completely custom-made to your body measurements, and while the NPC says that you can wear on “off the rack suit”…we all know that you would stick out like a sore thumb on stage. To an extent, paying a premium is worth it, but not $600.
Last year I had a beautiful suit made, but it no longer fits (because booty), so it was time for something new. I absolutely fell in love with completely blinged-out, rhinestone-covered bikinis…that also come with a premium price tag. I’m pretty crafty (and frugal), so I knew I could find a way to DIY my dream competition suit for this season for a fraction of the price. After tons of research, I’m successfully crafting my dream suit, for only around $230 – and you can too, for even less.
To figure out what color stones and bikini I wanted, I ordered fabric swatches from Ravish Sands, and a Swarovski crystal sample card. You absolutely can use regular rhinestones, which would be much cheaper. However, Swarovski crystals REALLY shine under the lights, and I found a fairly good deal buying them wholesale.
I went ahead and ordered the basic Ravish Sands competition bikini (well, two because I’m competing three times this year and wanted to mix it up). Once you have your “plain” competition bikini, the other supplies you’ll need are:
- E6000 glue
- Pick-up sticks with wax tip
- Styrofoam half-sphere
- Ball-head pins
- Rhinestones in 20ss size
I have a blue suit that is a work-in progress, but this give a bit of the Before & After impact that stoning a suit can have!
The gaps are going to be filled with a gorgeous indigo stone that was on backorder – I can’t wait to finish this one!
To start your own stoning project, first use the ball-head pins to secure your suit to the styrofoam half-sphere. I stretch it a bit, as it will stretch when you put it on.
Next, squeeze a dime-sized amount of the E6000 glue onto a paper plate.
WARNING: I learned the hard way that E6000 glue will eat through a styrofoam plate. It does not eat through paper, so I use a stack of printer paper or a paper plate to work off of. Also, this glue is toxic, so make sure you wear a mask, open windows, and only use it in a well-ventilated area.
Dip a toothpick end into the E6000 glue and then “dot” onto fabric where you want a rhinestone. The glue dries perfectly clear and won’t be noticeable from the stage, so don’t worry if there’s some excess.
Using the wax-covered end of the “pick up stick”, gently tap the top of a rhinestone. It will stick to the end. When you press the back of the rhinestone onto the glue spot, it will come off the wax-tip and stick to the glue.
I then like to flip my “pick up stick” around and use the unwaxed end to press the rhinestone into the glue. This is also when you can slide the stone into place before the glue dries.
Once you get the hang of it, stoning your suit shouldn’t take long. I spent an hour today and was able to get half-way through one bra cup.
I’m just scattering the two purples together, but it would also be fairly easy to do different patterns and designs. I’d love to see other competitor’s creations if you’ve ventured into stoning your own suits as well!