Aurora's Circlet from 'Once Upon a Time'

February 13, 2013

This post was originally published over at Confessions of a Seamstress, my friend Elena's blog. If you like the costumes in Once Upon a Time-- or any lovely clothing-- you should go visit her website! Elena makes beautiful outfits and costume replications and I highly recommend her!

This post is a lot longer and more image-heavy than the original guest post because I've had the chance to work on a couple more of these circlets!

Image from ABC's Once Upon a Time
With the latest season of Once Upon a Time, we were introduced to an awesome new character: Princess Aurora, the Sleeping Beauty.

I'm watching this show as much for the costumes, props, and sets as for the actual story... it's not unusual for my eye to wander everywhere except the actor's face! Right from the start, Aurora's headpiece caught my eye. ~*~*~ THE SPARKLES ~*~*~

A couple of days later, Elena recommended me to a bride who wanted a replica of Aurora's circlet to match her wedding gown! Eeep! This was my first time ever creating a replica piece, my first time ever working with rhinestones, and the first time making a bridal piece this large. I was a little nervous, but so excited.

Everything went well, though, and I can't wait to hear what the bride thinks when it arrives on her doorstep!

I started by re-watching the first episode and snagging screencaps to analyze. I analyzed it to death. :)

Her circlet is made from rhinestones and ribbon which are plaited together into a band that rests on her hairline. At least two small braids are woven around this band, creating a lovely mix of ribbon, hair, and sparkles.

Additional rhinestones are woven around her hairstyle in a very asymmetric zig-zag. This top part fits much more like a cap than a tiara, as it folds snugly over the crown of her head.

I noticed pretty quickly that Aurora seems to have found plenty of time to do her hair between scenes...  :)

The rhinestone placement is not consistent, especially at the edges, and she wears at least three hairstyles in the first episode.

At first, her braids are woven around the top, zig-zag-y part, so that the rhinestones are barely visible. Later, the braids move down and are intertwined with the bottom band. In the last scene, the circlet rests on top of the braids, above her forehead.

I wanted to make the circlet versatile enough that all these hairstyles (and more) can be worn. The bride didn't want dangling rhinestones, so I simplified the design at the edges where it wasn't consistent.

Aurora always wears the back of her headpiece tucked underneath her hair. I think the actress had her hair teased and curled and then extensions added.

(This is a beautiful crown... I'd love to be a props/costume designer, I really would. It must have been so much fun for the designers to come up with a sparkly, girly headpiece that wasn't your typical tiara. Aurora's whole costume is lovely. I hope she doesn't get put in pants like the rest of the royalty. I feel that we need at least one kick-butt princess who can wield a sword while wearing a frilly skirt!!!)

After I figured how how the circlet was made (and planned a few changes of my own to make it sturdier), it was time to get started!

First, I wove a base from silver-plated copper wire.

The next part-- making the band of braided rhinestones and ribbon-- proved very tricky. If I simply braided the strands, they would move around too much.

I used two different sizes of silver-plated rhinestones and twisted them around each other, using temporary jewelry glue to hold it in place.

After this was done, I wove the ribbon in and laced everything together with wire before removing the glue and polishing everything.

The ribbon in the show looks like a champagne or a pink (depending on the lighting and editing) but this one was requested in bright white.

The asymmetric zig-zag design was made from more rhinestone chain twisted onto freeform silver wire.

The circlet can be attached with bobby pins, or tied with ribbon. It's just heavy enough that it won't stay on without being secured in some way.

And then... it was done!

After I took these pictures, I tweaked things a bit more... I "de-fluffed" the ribbon and adjusted one point of the zig-zag so it isn't so tall and pointy. (The zig zags are slightly adjustable so it will fit any head size or hairstyle like a glove!)

The bride was kind enough to me model the circlet before shipping it!

I usually have friends model for me, but I'm the only one with long and dark enough hair to attempt Aurora's hairstyle. So one cold autumn morning, I put my hair up in braids and taught my lovely mom how to use my camera.

After I completed this circlet, I received two more orders for replicas of the Sleeping Beauty's crown! This one was practically identical to the first:

This next one, however, has several requested modifications that were a joy to work on!

I specially ordered 100% silk satin ribbon in a creamy champagne color. It's a vintage French ribbon line, and there is something about those words that makes me so happy to finger the shiny ribbon.

They wanted a very sturdy circlet that would not require ribbon to remain securely on the head, so I used my vise to twist silver plated wire into a strand which I attached to the plaiting. 

It holds its shape very well. I think that I will always use this technique on future circlets (or at least the higher-end ones, because it requires a lot of wire!).

(excuse my workdesk mess). Two full feet of wire and ribbon and beading to wrangle into a circlet! 

I replaced every other large rhinestone with an amethyst crystal. I really like this look, as it adds a touch of color and interest. 

Replacing all those stones in their settings was a great learning experience. Those are fiddly little sparkles, there, guys!

If you would like to request a custom item like this, don't hesitate to email me at I can usually accommodate many kinds of budgets on more intensive pieces like these, depending on how much customization you want.

I'm also in the process of using the leftover odds and ends of the rhinestones to create some Aurora-inspired cuff bracelets. There are a couple on my workbench right now which are going to get colorful ribbons!

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  1. OHHH!!! I love once upon a time!! and I LOVEEEEEE your circlet!!!!!!!!! Fantastic job!

  2. Wow, those are so beautiful! You did an amazing job on them. :D

  3. You are amazing!!!!!! It's so beautiful. :)

  4. Hello. I've been stalking your blog for a while now, but I've finally been forced out of the shadows to inquire where you get your glass leaf beads.
    I can't find beads drilled horizontally anywhere, online or in real shops.
    Where do you find yours?

  5. I want to see "Once Upon a Time" so much! Oh that is so pretty - you look elegant :) I just love your blog

    God Bless


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