What wires to use for making French beaded flowers

One of the common questions I get is what wire to use for making French beaded flowers.

I recommend using copper-core wire.

Most petals and leaves are made with 24 g wire. So when you are ordering wires, this is the gauge you should buy the majority of.  If you are working on beginner projects, chances are you can get away with just using 24 g wire for most projects.

If you are on a budget and can’t get all the colors, purchase 24 gauge silver and green at a minimum.

Here are the sources for my favorite suppliers. These are the places that I buy my supplies from.

If you are on a budget, paddle wire from the florist section of your craft store is a good option. 

Watch the video below:

 

 

Here is the transcript of the video if you’d like a condensed version. 

Hi everyone, this is Fen Li, designer here at the Bead Flora Studio. One of the most common questions that I get asked is what wire to use for making French beaded flowers.

In this video, I will go over the wires that I like to use, brands I like, and where to buy them. 

For French beaded flowers, I recommend using copper-core wire. Copper wire is coated with color so that you can have a variety of colors. 

Depending on the flower part. I use 32, 30, 28, 26, 24 and 22 gauge wires. 

Most petals and leaves are made with 24 g wire. So when you are ordering wires, this is the gauge you should buy the majority of.  If you are working on beginner projects, chances are you can get away with just using 24 g wire for most projects.

 If you are on a budget and can’t get all the colors, you can get silver and it will work with most bead colors. I would recommend getting 24 gauge silver wire and green wire as a minimum.

Of course, if you like to match the bead to the wire color, you can get a rainbow of colors.

There are mainly three brands of wire that I use here in the US. Artistic Wire by Beadalon, Parawire, and Zebra wire by Fire Mountain Gems. Artistic wire and Parawire are very almost identical in quality. As far as Zebra wire, I recommend to stay away from the silver and the gold. The regular colored wires are okay. The silver will discolor your hands and the gold is made of brass and not copper. However, the other colored wires from Zebra wire works very well. They are more affordable than the other brands but the only downside is that there are limited colors.  

If you are in the US, Joann fabrics has a small selection of copper wires. They don’t really have a selection of 24 g wires but usually have some 22, 26, and 28 gauge wires. Those are the gauges of wire that I don’t have on hand as much as the 24 so when I’m in a pinch, I’ll drop by and pick some up. They are not as easy to use because they’re not on a spool and unrolling it can be a pain. 

And here are some wires that I’ve used in the past that I no longer use. 

Darice wire – this is galvanized steel wire. 24 gauge galvanized steel wire is not as soft as copper wire. So the petals will be a lot stronger. However, the wires do tarnish over time and your fingers can be discolored from handling it. They may have switched over to copper wire now or have a copper option. I have not tried the silver but have used 28 g gold and it has worked as usual. 

 

Paddle wire – paddle wire from the florist section. They don’t have much of a variety in color. You can either get 26 g silver,green, and sometimes you can even find white. Because it’s steel wire, it’s comparable to 24 g copper core wire. Don’t even think about using 22 g green paddle wire because it’ll be too thick for your beads to go through. The silver paddle wire will tarnish over time. I did love using green paddle wire because it doesn’t tarnish and stands the test of time. My beaded leaves from 18 years ago using green paddle wire still looks awesome. But I don’t like using green paddle wire anymore because the quality of the green paddle wire are just not that great anymore. They will stain your fingers green and it’s a pain. I’ve also used white paddle wire. It also stands the test of time. The flowers I’ve made using white paddle wire still looks great. The only problem with it is that the paint comes off where the wire bends. Generally, you don’t see it and it’s not a big deal. You won’t get staining from the white wire. But overall, I’m just spoiled from using the copper-core wires that I do not like the feel of the paddle wires anymore. If you don’t mind the staining or the small chips in the green and white paddle wires, they are a great budget friendly way to start making beaded flowers.

If you are following patterns from vintage books from the 1960s, they are usually 26 gauge galvanized steel wire. So if a pattern calls for 26 gauge wire, use 24 gauge copper-core wire.

I hope this has helped those with the “what wire should I buy” question. If you found this video helpful, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel to be notified of when I post new videos. 

Drop me a comment and let me know what kind of videos you’d like to see. If you’ve made any of my designs, I always love seeing them. Connect with me on facebook, instagram and my website at beadflora.com.

 

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