Jewelry Making Basics 7 -- Three ways to make beaded flower
I've written a lot of tutorials on how to make flowers using polymer clay. But do you know you can make flowers using only wire and beads? Those techniques have long been used for bride jewelries and hairpieces. They are very easy to learn but can create stunning effects.
In this tutorial, I'll show you three ways to make beaded flowers based on different type of bead. The jewelry designs are kept simple for educational purposes. You can create your own version using those basic techniques.
Project No.1 -- Making Flowers using Seed Beads
This is the simplest project among three; yet can create a very delicate and elegant look.
- 30-gauge soft wire (30cm/12inch or longer)
- seed beads of your choice
Step 1. Making the loop
Take a piece of 28 gauge wire and fold it in half. Hold the folded part using a round nose plier and twist the wire together as shown in picture 1. This will create a loop for you to connect other components later.
Step 2. Making the flower
Slide five seed beads (I used 2mm moonstone beads) onto one side of the wire. Then wrap the wire until the beads resemble a flower shape (picture 3). Twist the wire tightly as shown in picture 4. When it meets the other side of the wire, continue twisting for 1-2cm (0.4-0.8inch).
Now take the wire opposite to the first flower and slide five seed beads onto it (I used Miyuki gold). As before, wrap and twist the wire so the beads can form a flower shape (picture 5 and 6).
Continue the same process. Each time, create a flower using the opposite side of the wire so the final product will resemble a tree branch.
Step 3. Finishing up
You can finish the project by wrapping the twisted wire into a closed loop as shown in picture 9.
Now you end up with a piece that have two loops at both ends. If you want to create an earring, simply attach an ear hook at one end and a large bead at another. If you want to create a hairpiece, make both loop larger so the hair strands can go through them. In addition, you can connect both ends with chains for a necklace. The possibilities are endless.
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Project No.2 -- Making Flowers using Top Drilled Beads
This technique applies to all top drilled teardrop shaped beads. For a piece more suitable for wedding, you can use white pearls as shown in the picture. For a casual look, you can choose colorful top drilled crystals.
- 28-gauge soft wire (45cm/18inch or longer)
- top drilled beads of your choice
**If you choose pearl, I recommend using faux pearl instead of fresh water pearl. The later tend to have irregular shapes that create uneven looking flower.
Step 1. Creating the flower shape
Slide five top drilled faux pearl beads onto the 28 gauge wire. Then slide right side of the wire through the leftmost bead as shown in picture 2. Tighten the wire until the beads resemble a flower shape (picture 3).
Step 2. Wrapping the flower
Unlike the seed bead project we discussed before, one wrap is not enough for those top drilled beads to sit tightly together. We need to wrap the flower further to fix the beads.
Therefore the wrapping technique is the key to this project's success. Each flower need five wraps and the final shape look like a star as shown in picture 8.
In the pictures above, I've labeled the direction of each wrap with arrows. Remember for each wrap, the wire go through two adjacent beads, both front and back.
Once a flower is complete, twist the wire together tightly as shown in picture 9 and we can move onto the next flower.
Step 3. Making more flowers
Bend one side of the wire and slide five top drilled beads onto it. Repeat the wrapping process described in step 2. Once the second flower is complete, twist the wire a little bit and then create the third flower.
Make the leaf by adding a single bead on both sides of the flowers as shown in picture 6-8.
At last, finish the piece up by making a closed loop at the end as in picture 9. If you don't know how to make a closed loop, read it here.
Again, you can use the complete piece for lots of purposes: earrings, necklaces, hairpieces etc.
Project No.3 -- Making Flowers using oval beads
Our last project is designed for oval beads. Those elongated beads are perfect for flower petals. We can wrap them individually and add a small bead in the middle as flower center.
- 30-gauge soft wire (30cm/12inch or longer)
- oval beads of your choice
- one small bead of your choice
Step 1. Wrapping the flower petals
Slide an oval shaped bead onto the wire and stop at the middle point. Taking one side of the wire, wrap tightly around the bead until it meets the other end. Then twist the wire together only 2 or 3 times as shown in picture 2.
Bend one end of the wire outwards and slide another bead onto it. Repeat the wrapping and twisting process until all five petals are complete.
Step 2. Adding a flower center
Bend one end of the wire upward and slide a small round bead onto it. Wrap half of the bead and twist the wire at the center of the flower as shown in picture 8 and 9.
Step 3. Adding leaves and other decorations
Once the flower is completed, we can go ahead to add leaves at both sides. The technique is the same as wrapping individual flower petal.
You can continue adding more flowers and leaves if needed. To finish the piece up, make a closed loop at the end using a round nose plier (picture 4 and 5).
The finished piece can be used as a component in many jewelry designs. In the picture above, I've attached two pearls at the top and made it an earring.
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