As a beginner, what do you need for making French beaded flowers? This is a question that asked over and over by beginners. Like anything, it’s tempting to get EVERYTHING. In the below video, I break down the essentials of what a beginner needs to get started.
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Number 1: Beads! The majority of patterns are in size 11 seed beads. Anything too big will look bulky and most people do not like using anything smaller so almost all patterns are designed using size 11 seed beads. My favorite beads to use are Matsuno dynamites and Czech Preciosas. These are middle of the road priced beads but are great quality.
If there is a color you want to stock up on, it’d be green for all the leaves. And you can’t go wrong with red, orange, yellow, and pink for flowers. And don’t forget white.
Number 2: Wire! Different gauges of wire are used depending on the size of the flower or different parts of the flower. As a beginner, it can be intimidating with the different gauges and colors. To get started, my recommendation for you is to get 24 gauge (or .51 mm) copper core wire. You can get away with using 24 gauge wire for most beginner projects. The entry project into the French beading world for most beaders is a rose and that can be made entirely out of 24 gauge wire.
Number 3: Tools! First, you’ll need wire cutters and pliers. You don’t need fancy cutters. You can get a cheap florist wire cutter from the dollar store or even use nail clippers. Though to cut some heavier stem wires, you might want to get some more heavy duty wire cutters. Next, You need some sort of pliers. Chain nose or needle nose pliers. In a pinch, you can even use round nose pliers. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy. You just need it to twist some wires or tuck some wires in. The third tool is a bead spinner. This is a tool that helps you get beads onto wire very fast. For me, it’s an essential tool but some people use other stringing methods. I have a video on bead stringing that talks about all the stringing methods if you’d like to see other “free” options. I also have a video on how to make a diy bead spinner if that’s more your style.
Number 4: Materials! There are some other materials that you’d need to put your flowers together. The 1st is floral tape. You can find floral tape at the floral section of a craft store. But I generally buy off of Amazon in bulk so it’s much cheaper. The average price per roll is almost 3 dollars at the craft store but I can get it for $1 or less per roll if I buy 10 rolls at a time. The second is stem wire. You can usually find 18 to 16 gauge stem wires at the craft store. Most of the time, it’s not heavy enough for a beaded flower. What you can do is to wrap 2 or 3 of those wires together to form one bigger stem. I like to use 12 gauge stem wire. I buy the rolls of galvanized steel wire. You can find it at home improvement stores but I found the price to more competitive on Amazon. You can even use wire hangers. For years, I cut up wire hangers to use for my stems until I ran out.
Lastly, you need thread or very thin wire. Traditionally, French beaded flowers are assembled with very thin wire. But I started using thread and I found that to be a very good option to reduce the lumpiness in the stem. You can use whatever sewing thread you have and almost everyone has thread at home…even if you don’t sew, like me.