Zoe W: Beadwork

A couple of years ago I came home to find that one or both of my two cats (Quincy and Maddie) had knocked over my box of beads.

I could have sobbed as I swept them up, as it had taken me ages to get the box nice and tidy, so I put them in a large tub and put them away until such a time I could face sorting them again.

Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago, when I borrowed Martha Stewart’s Encyclopaedia of Crafts, and was faced with some lovely beading projects that I couldn’t wait to get going on.  Trouble was, it would be impossible to do any until I had sorted the beads…

Four long days later, the beads were lovely and tidy again, and I could have my first go at making a bead flower.  I am now keeping the box closed with two elastic bands!

In no time I was happy to see a growing number of petals.

You will need:

  • Some fine wire, I used 28 gauge beading wire that I bought in a local craft shop for about £1.20 for 24 yards
  • Seed beads in colours of your choice.  I used cream for the petals, and green and bronze for the stamens.  Each of the 6 petal takes 78 beads, and each stamen 14 beads (8 green, 6 bronze)
  • Wire clippers and pliers
  • A brooch back

It took a bit of practice to get the right length of wire, but it is better to have too much than too little. I used about an arm length to begin with and whittled it down as I got used to it.

Making the stamens first, I left a length of wire free before I thread on 8 green beads, followed by 6 bronze.  I think to do it again I would reduce it to 5 green beads and 5 bronze.  Then the wire was looped around and threaded back through the green beads only.  Using the same wire this was repeated until there were 5 stamens.  The wire was then twisted with the free length from the start.

Each petal was made separately, starting by threading 5 beads on the the middle of a long length of wire.  The wire was then threaded back through three of the beads, so two sit above three beads.  This is continued increasing the beads by one bead per row, and each time the wire is threaded back through the beads.

So it goes:
2 beads
3 beads
4 beads
5 beads
6 beads
7 beads
8 beads
8 beads
8 beads
7 beads
6 beads
5 beads
4 beads
3 beads
2 beads
It sound daunting, but it actually it doesn’t take too long, and the petal soon takes shape.  At the end twist together the two ends of wire.  Repeat until you have 6 petals.

I then twisted all the petals around the stamens, and then on to the brooch back.  The wire was actually quite bulky, and I ended up having to sew on a length of green ribbon to tidy it up.  If I do this again, which I am pretty sure I will, I will probably cut off one of each of the two wires at the ends of the petals, to reduce the bulk of the wire by half.

Overall though, I think it was a nice result, and such flowers could be used in many ways, such as hair clips, bags and shoes.

If my instructions aren’t clear enough, you can always check out these websites, which have pictures which may make it easier.  The second one has a particularly good diagram illustrating the making of a petal

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One response to “Zoe W: Beadwork

  1. This is beautiful – it looks like a hibiscus flower? I’d love to make one but I’m not sure I would have the patience. Those beads are very tiny!

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