Part One: Intro
Part Two: Visiting a Pro Shop
Part Three: Simple How-to (including recommend supplies and shops)
Part Four: Advanced Techniques
Part Five: Great Deco vs. oh… that’s uhhh nice
If you’re in Japan or visiting soon I highly suggest if you’re at all interested in deco to go to a professional deco store. Not only to get work done, but just to look at their work. Pro-deco shops are like museums showcasing their drop-dead pieces in order to get you interested. They are so beautifully set up, you’ll want to stay a while.
There are tons to visit and most popular nail salons now do deco since they have both experience in delicate work, gluing techniques and crystals.
In the beginning I visited shops and got my items made. Unless you know what you’re doing with expensive Swarovski crystals, it’s often best to leave it to the pros.
Pros about the Pros:
– tons of experience
– they always use top quality glue
– will usually repair a stone or two for free
– often an artistic background to draw or create interesting looks for you
Cons about the Pros:
– all speak only Japanese
– in person is usually the only way to deal with them
– can possibly speak against a design idea
Expensive really is the hurdle that you have to get over when paying for deco work. To cover a whole cellphone in Swarovski can often go to 300.00. Don’t be scared, there are many options in between 70.00USD to 150.00USD that you will probably find doable.
Before going to a shop:
Know your item you want to deco, be sure it can be permanent. If not, you might want to ask for them to do it as a seal. The cons of a seal are stones are not as attached as directly to an object so they are more likely to come off.
Think of a few designs you’d be interested in. Consider flexibility. The less you want to pay, the more flexible you sometimes have to be.
Have a price range in your mind. Most stores will charge less for work if you choose larger stones, however with smaller objects this isn’t as viable.
At the store be sure to communicate your design idea clearly. Bring a sketch if needed. If you don’t like the final product, tell them! While I am sure there will be disappointment on both sides, you are paying for your design concept to be done. So make sure you’re 100% satisfied with the outcome.
My two recommended shops:
3F shinjuku Marui Curren
Bling Me is the only licensed pro shop allowed to do Hello Kitty work. They also do other amazing deco and they have well priced Swarovski stickers for decorating a mirror, pillcase or phone. Expect to pay around 40.00-70.00 for the stickers. They will also customize it if needed, prices are acceptable. They also have lots of ready made items such as headphones.
This is the shop I trust for consistent, beautiful work. Shop staff in deco stores are like many stores and people often quit and join. I have had excellent experiences with 3 people from 2 different Glam Baby stores. I love them! They are also one of the original deco pro shops. If I needed more custom that I wouldn’t do myself, I’d go to Glam Baby.
So here’s some of my pro work from both shops:
For reference I paid 40USD to 120USD for each of these items.
1st work: Pill case. Bling me used to not make them so I had this custom done.
Now they seem to be Bling Me’s top selling item.
1st work: A 3-D crown and gorgeous butterfly design on my Chanel Powder compact. Chanel is queen! My favorite work.
2nd work: My Dell Mini done in an original EcoCamo style. My largest piece to date, but my laptop is really small.