Designing French beaded flowers – my design process

Hello my beadiful people!
Would you like to start designing French beaded flowers? I’ll go over my design process with you and how I do my design work. Many times, I’ll free design by looking at a picture or flower but below is my usual general process. I like to look at fresh flowers and translating them into beaded flowers.

Taking Notes: I like to study fresh flowers. I take fresh flowers and take the petals apart to trace the petals and leaves. I also draw out the basic outline notating the lengths of stems and where the flowers, buds, and leaf placements. I like to be as accurate as possible.

I have many pieces of paper with flower notes on them that I keep in a binder. I was losing track of where my loose papers were so I decided that I needed a sketch book instead. I started tracing and taking notes on a sketch book.
I also have a smaller notebook that I kept in my purse for note taking when I had access to fresh flowers.

I belong to a few “Plant Identifying” groups on facebook so that if I’m unsure of what the flower is, I post a picture to one of the groups and will usually get a very accurate answer.

Pictures: In addition to note taking, I also take lots of pictures. I save the pictures on my hard drive under a folder called “Flower Study.” I noticed that I still have many photos that I took on my phone that I need to move over to my hard drive.

Design process: There is no straight forward formula on how to design French beaded flowers. It usually involves trial and error. An easy pattern may involve two or two trials before getting the final design down.

When I start the design process, I like to use one bead color and cheap wire. I rarely come up with the final design on the first try, so I don’t like to spend too much time on choosing bead colors and wasting my good wire.

I have a bunch of “Zebra” brand wire that I got years ago. It is supposed to be copper-core wire but I find the quality to be lacking. It discolors my skin. I still prefer Artistic Wire (This and This) by Beadalon or Parawire. I use either the Zebra brand or florist wire during the inception of a design.

Once I get the shape that I want, then I’ll spend the time to pick out final colors. At this time, I may or may not use my good wire. It usually depends on how confident I feel about the final design.

Final Pattern:
Once I get the final design, I weigh the beads and measure out the lengths of wire so that I can get an accurate pattern.
I weigh all the beads used and make a note of the starting grams. Then once I finish the piece, I weigh the beads again. My old process included writing this out on paper with a lot of scribbles. I’ll also write out the pattern on the paper. This involved lots of confusion when trying to decipher it later.

Then one day while I was out and didn’t have access to a pen and paper, I started taking notes on my phone instead. This was a game-changer. I always have my phone with me. I can easily edit so there are no scribbles to decipher. There is even a voice-to-text command so I don’t even need to type. I use google docs so it saves automatically to my google account. I can easily log into my account and have access to the doc on my computer when I want to finish writing up the pattern.


Take a peek at my sketches and work station:

In the below video, you can take a sneak-peek at my notes, sketches, and how I use my homemade beadspinner.

If you are new to French beaded flowers, here are some of my free basic tutorials:

Beginner Basic Frame Techniques

Beginner Continuous Techniques

Intermediate Basic Frame Techniques 



  1. Yemi says:

    Wow it’s so amazing how many things can be done with beads. The flowers look so nice and well made. You pay great attention to detail! The YouTube video is also helpful. But I’m going to have to start with your Beginner Technique posts first to get a basic understanding of the process. Very informative post. Thanks for sharing.

Leave a Reply