Beginner tips on how to be more successful at making French beaded flowers

So you’ve decided that you are finally taking the plunge to make French beaded flowers! And you’ve watched my videos on what beads and wire to use and how to string beads. Now what? Before you get started, I want to share with you 5 quick tips to help you shorten your learning curve and  be more successful when making bead and wire flowers.

 

  1. No Strict bead counts. The majority of people that come to French beading have a foundation in beadweaving. There are specific bead counts in beadweaving but not so much in making French beaded flowers. Throw all of that knowledge out the window. When making French beaded flowers, you start out with a certain bead count but after that, the rows can vary depending on the brand of beads, type of beads, and each person’s wrapping style. 
  2. It’s okay if your first practice flowers are messy. Most needle and thread beaders expect their French beaded flowers to look perfect on the first try. It will be messy! And that’s okay. But you need to get started if you want to improve. We all start somewhere! 
  3. Working off of the spool. When making beaded flowers, we string what beads we can on a spool of wire and then make the flower components from the spool. String as much as you can while still being able to work off of. As you gain experience, you will be able to gauge how much of beads you need in order to make a certain petal or leaf. It’s better to have more beads on the wire than not enough.
  4. What do you do if you don’t have enough beads on the spool? There are times where even I misjudge how many beads to string on a spool. And when that happens, I wrap the bare wire around the petal for the remaining rows that I need, then I cut the bare wire off the spool and continue beading. 
  5. Lace your flowers. Most beginners do not like lacing petals or leaves because it’s not as fun. Lacing is sewing the rows together with very thin wire. That was me when I first started making beaded flowers. I made Virginia Nathanson’s “cabbage rose” and didn’t lace. “I don’t need it”, I said. “It’ll look fine once it’s shaped”, I said. It was not fine. Lacing is the secret sauce to taking your flowers to the next level. I was going through storage the other week and came upon some 10 year old roses. Which one would you rather have? It took a little bit of extra effort but with the laced flower,  I have a flower that will last many more decades. 

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