I've been really intrigued by embellished sunglasses lately. I must have about a dozen pairs of, erm, “quirky” sunglasses with hot dogs and massive flowers on them bookmarked on my laptop for my imaginary future collection.
Unfortunately, I can’t actually purchase any of them. I already blew my one big purchase of the year on a classic pair of prescription sunglasses from Warby Parker (for the record, I bought the Madison and they’re great). They were much needed and it was a very responsible move on my part.
BUT I STILL WANTED SOME CRAZY SUNGLASSES.
Luckily, my parents (and some zany art high school teachers) taught me to be both resourceful and frugal. I decided to try my hand at making my own embellished sunglasses, and I was so pleased with my results I thought I would share them with all of you. This is hardly the most complicated DIY tutorial (it’s mostly just: glue knick knacks onto sunglasses) but at the very least I hope you’ll get some fun ideas out of it.
So, first you need to get to the arts and crafts store. I went to the local Michael’s AND the local A.C. Moore, because I meant business. I ended up getting stars, pearls, flowers, miniature pieces of food, and even a bunch of cat faces because they made me laugh. Just go where your heart takes you.
Then I went to the dollar store and grabbed a bunch of sunglasses in various shapes. Round and cat-eye sunglasses work best. Try to avoid thin frames because you want to have enough space to glue things onto. I also grabbed two pairs of sunglasses from Target because I’m an unstoppable monster when I’m in that store. So much for saving money.
Once you’ve got all that and some super glue, it’s time to bring your dreams to life. I preferred to stick with a theme for each pair, but they’re your sunglasses so go crazy. Let’s do this step by step. Are you ready? Pay attention because this is advanced DIY level stuff.
1. Gather supplies (sunglasses, knick knacks, and super glue)
2. Glue the knick knacks to the sunglasses; hold tight until you’re pretty sure they’re not gonna fall off. Then hold on for a bit longer -- trust me.
3. Go to the park and model your awesome new sunglasses that cost less than $20.
These were probably the most expensive pair because the sunglasses from Target cost around $13 and the stars from the craft store cost $4. Exorbitant, I know!
This next pair, however, only cost about $6 total (including the sunglasses and flowers) and was inspired by these Dolce & Gabbana sunglasses that cost around $400.
The sunglasses were $1. I bought white flowers from the craft store and painted some of them with pastel nail polishes to create the blue and pink shades. You could also buy ceramic flowers from Etsy.
Then, inspired by this golden Dolce & Gabbana pair, I made these sunglasses -- also for around six bucks.
Mine aren’t quite as glamorous as the original pair, of course, but I think I’ll live.
When I saw pearls at the craft store, I bought them without being totally sure how I would use them. Then when I sat down to work on the sunglasses, I realized I had subconsciously been thinking about the vintage Chanel sunglasses Rihanna wore at the 2012 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show that were reportedly worth $3,200. I didn’t completely encircle my sunglasses with pearls (nor did I pair them with a pearl choker), making the end result a bit more wearable in real life -- and the total cost was about $2 for the sunglasses and the pearls.
My last inspiration was this pair of fruit-themed sunglasses that I saw in the Nylon Mag shop for $50. Combining miniature fruit and junk food pieces that I found at the craft store with Target sunglasses, I made mine for about $16.
Finally, this last pair (made for about $3) was not inspired by anything at all. They just crack me up. Ladies and gents, I present to you: the world’s first pair of cat sunglasses (I assume). I’m not talking about sunglasses that cats can wear, I’m talking about miniature cats that you can wear on your face.
Have I gone too far? Possibly, but all the kids at the park seemed to be really into them so I felt good about my life choices.
I know that not all of these sunglasses will be to everyone’s taste, and that’s okay. My goal was to get your creative juices running a little so you could have some fun making your own pair. Of course you could just buy a genuine pair of Dolce & Gabbana sunglasses if it makes you happy. Believe me, I was tempted.
In the end, though, I’m glad I took the thrifty route with this trend. It gave me a chance to have my fun with wacky sunglasses without spending too much money on something that I may tire of by the end of the summer. And keep in mind, my total costs would have been even cheaper if I only made one pair of sunglasses and stayed out of Target.
How do you feel about embellished sunglasses? I’m curious to know which of these was your favorite --I’m torn between the cats and the food. Story of my life.
Photos by Joshua Kirby