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CrystalNinja

1 CrystalNinja, 1 Porsche 356 Speedster, 39 days

Posted by Kellie DeFries on

1 year ago, I set out on my largest challenge ever, to date: To completely crystallize the body of a car with Swarovski Crystals. With my 10 years study of Swarovski crystals - I knew I was ready. I have seen a few cars crystallized during my study and research and it always intrigued me, the amount of people and time it seems to take for a projects like this.

To begin, I didn't know what type of car to choose... the ones I had seen didn't seem to be in a style that would interest me, so with my husbands help, we chose a very special one of a kind, hand built 1956 Porsche 356 Speedster - the California Wide body speedster.  This car was hand built in 2011 by Aston Garrett Carrera Custom Car Manufacturing & Automotive Consultants. We named her Vroomhilde and she has 240hp, 2276cc.

This feat was challenging in many ways:

What came first? The car arrived with a gorgeous metallic, high gloss black paint job, which I had to sand down and paint my red stripe design and racing number 05 before any crystals were to be glued.  Not to worry, I had experience in the automotive painting area.  I chose the number "05" since 2005 was the year I began studying Swarovski Crystals. The black background, which I call a fill was Jet black crystals in 4 shapes and 5 sizes.  The red stripe was a combination of Crystal Copper, Red Magma, Indian Siam, Lt. Siam Satin, Ruby and the detail trim on the red stripe was Light Siam. The 05 was filled in with Jet Hematite, outlined in Silver Night and I back filled the circle in Silver Shade.

How many crystals will be needed? Calculating the surface area, and dividing up the amount of vintage shaped crystals, which were sponsored by Swarovski, plus purchasing the remaining fill crystals for the body, was difficult. Pre-counting and separating all crystals per square foot of surface area was and is always a must. With such specialty/premium vintage crystals- running out on one area would be a huge fail,  But after gluing over a million crystals per year for the past 5 years, it wasn't my first rodeo. Here is a video of how the crystals are put into sections- the project was already started- but it shows the organization that must be done before beginning. More of the process is shown here.

What glue to use? I have many years of experience crystallizing autos, emblems, and wheels so 2 part epoxy is the only thing I trust. I was lucky to be sponsored by 3M for DP100 Plus, 5 minute epoxy which I was able to trim all the edges. Thank you 3M! The remaining body was completed with a long cure, 2-part epoxy called CG-500 35 from Swarovski. 

What tool to apply the crystals? Well, how about just ONE of my patent pending Crystal Katana tools. Yes, this project is also to show, it will only take ONE of these tools to complete this task.

Ready, set.. nope. Just to really make sure it was a lot of work - I just have to throw in another task- I applied to the Guinness Book of World records for this project.

Guinness required a ton of steps for the application. There was a fast track application fee of $700.00 to even have my application reviewed on an expedited status.   Otherwise, the wait can take between 6 to 8 weeks to even receive a response. I wanted to be done 5 weeks so that I could take my car to the SEMA Automotive car show in Las Vegas and I had no time to wait.  My title of application was Most crystals on a vintage car by one person. Guinness changed the application title to "Most Crystals on a Car." They requested that I have 1,001,000 crystals since others had  "claimed" to have 1 million crystals. It was unclear to me that they would go off a claim with no proof as required by me.  I asked for clarification on the project that they were referring to, and when they provided me with the information I was certain that with my experience, and a few measurements and calculations, I knew the number they requested could not be accurate. Guinness recommended I use as many people as I needed or use smaller crystals. I could take as long as I wanted. I declined their suggestions knowing that first that was not the original title of my application nor was it my goal.  I was not interested in changing as changing my design and as this is a very meaningful project, I was in no desire to change my design for a contest entry. 

I still wanted to participate and submit all requirements, and proof is proof. Guinness required video footage of the whole project on a live feed and saved for upload. Witnesses every 4 hours, not to repeat in an 8 hour session. Witnesses to count me in, sign the log, and count me out each 4 hours.

So, with everything set to go... lets go.

      

I began Sept 1, 2015.  Day in, day out, 12-16 hour days and 2 work trips scheduled in between- I was able to finish on the front steps of the largest Automotive show in the world. SEMA2015. This car was a featured vehicle on the front steps of the Las Vegas Convention Center. With thousands of people, friends and family on site cheering me on, I finished!   My project was completed in 462 grueling hours within 39 days.  I used 2-part epoxy to painstakingly glue all 247,148 crystals 1 by 1 using a single Crystal Katana multi media pick up tool. The weight of the Swarovski crystals only added 32 pounds to the body.

It took many months to compile data and upload the video footage for the Guinness Application and a few more months to receive the decline of application. Yes, you are reading correct. My application for "Most crystals on a car" (with no current record holder) was declined as I did not have at least 1,001,000 crystals. Oh well. It was really only a curiosity to apply to Guinness.  Although Guinness declined my application, I am not disappointed with any aspect of this project.

With the support of my amazing husband, family, friends and the help of SWAROVSKI, I was given the courage to attempt and complete this amazing feat.

One person, One Swarovski covered car, 39 days

#crystalsfromSwarovski

  

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