Saturday, June 25, 2011

What Do I Need To Make French Beaded Flowers?

There are a few basic items an artist needs to produce beautiful French beaded flowers. Here's a short list to help you on your way:

1. The tools. The most essential are a ruler, a wire cutter, and pliers. If you're not going to be working at a table you should also have some kind of lap board.

2. A few colors of seed beads. Have one or two colors for the flower, and some green for the leaves and other green flower parts. Czech beads are fine and inexpensive, but you can also use Miyuki or Toho beads. If you're really adventurous you can work with beautiful Swarovski beads too.

3. Spool wires and stemwires of the right gauges. Spool wire can be 24 or 26 gauge, stem wire can be 16 gauge. For larger flowers, also get lacing wire, 32 gauge.

4. Floral tape to cover all the stem wires.

5. Non-hardening floral clay to plant your flowers in.

6. Moss to cover the clay and make the arrangement look like it's growing out of soil.

7. Don't forget the beadspinner! This one tool can save you hours of painstaking stringing work and a lot of sore muscles.

You can get all these items and more at my new Amazon store at BeaderSupplies.com.

Thanks! Happy beading!

Monday, June 20, 2011

How Do I Finish My Beaded Flower Stems?

The stems of a beaded flower are usually the last thing in the arrangement that you think about. Most artists, especially beginners who want to learn how to make beaded flowers, focus mainly on the flowers and the techniques of creating the flowers.

In order to make the arrangement look its best, the flower stems have to be handled correctly. Sloppy or poorly-finished stems can ruin an otherwise beautiful arrangement or bouquet.

Once you have finished the construction of the flower, it's a good idea to take lacing wire and tightly wrap from the flower head all the way down to the ends of the stem wires. It's a good idea to pinch the petal and leaf stems together tightly just before you make this wrap, so that the stems will be as narrow as possible.

It might take some practice to find the right tension to put on this fine wire, but the results are worth a few mistakes early-on. It's never a bad thing to compress the stem very snugly.

Next, wrap the stems with floral tape. You can buy it online or find it at many craft shops. Floral tape is a waxy tape that becomes sticky when it's stretched. Many flower-beaders cut this tape in half to make their wrapping very fine.

Start the tape positioned snugly right under the flower head. Wrap once or twice completely around the head. Now angle the tape slightly down, keeping all wires well-covered. Wrap all the way down the flower stem, overlapping the tape edges slightly, remembering to stretch the tape before wrapping. You will know if you have stretched the tape enough when it becomes lighter in color. Tear it off at the bottom and wrap the raw edge around the stem.

Virginia Nathanson recommended wrapping stems with floral tape, and she usually used green or brown in her books. You don't have to restrict yourself to greens or browns, however. Floral tape now comes in a wide variety of colors. White tape is very nice if you're doing a bridal bouquet.

Do you want a different look? Some flower beaders paint the taped stems with acrylic paint. This paint is also available in craft stores. If you want a very polished look, use ribbon or embroidery floss.

Embroidery floss is a wonderful way to cover the stems of a very special arrangement or bouquet. Floss comes in cotton or silk. Separate the strands of the floss and lay them closely side-by-side. Using four to eight strands at once, wrap the flower stems just as you would with tape. When you're finished, secure with floral tape. It takes a little practice, but the results are really breathtaking.

More posts coming soon!

Please visit my site at RosemaryKurtz.com
My beaded flower Hubpage
My beaded flower Squidoo Lens
Get my tutorial DVDs at my Etsy store

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Resources For A Beaded-Flower or Jewelry Artist

Just a few decades ago, getting all the beads and other materials you wanted or needed for your beaded flower, bead jewelry projects, or even kids' friendship knot bracelets was a bit of a challenge.

Why would that be so? Well, some colors of beads were available only at certain times of the year, such as some pinks. This would be due to weather conditions where the beads were produced; sudden popularity of a certain color of beads in the clothing industry; the relative slowness of the ordering and shipping processes before the Internet; and other factors.

The Internet has radically changed the way that millions of people do business, and ordering and fulfillment can occur very much faster than before. Artists no longer have to depend on a local art or craft store, or an expensive specialty store, for their raw materials, and they don't have to take the time to travel to these stores. The closing of stores such as these could seriously deter the artist, too.

Beads are available from more global sources, as well. Previously, most beads used here in the U.S. were shipped in from Czechoslovakia, but now we have easy access to the exquisite Japanese beads as well.

We don't have as much control over the weather, however, so some bead colors may still be scarce at certain times of the year.

With a few clicks of a mouse, an artist can now buy everything they need for their projects and have them sent right to their door. Sources are centralizing, as well, so an artist needn't click all over the web to find what they need. A very popular central source for UK beaders is jillybeads, for example.

Following this great trend, I am pleased to tell you that I have now opened my own Amazon store to serve bead artists at low prices. I carry books, findings, beads, wire, and anything else that a bead artist might need. I welcome input from artists regarding new kinds of products I should carry.

Books by Virginia Nathanson, Carol Benner Doelp, Dalene Kelly, and other famous and up-and-coming authors will be available too.

Please visit this new store at http://www.beadersupplies.com.

Also, basic visual French beaded flowers instructions and demonstration in making beaded flowers can be hard to come by. To fill this need, I have produced two tutorial DVDs to teachhttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif you how to make beautiful beaded flowers, even if you're a raw beginner. Please feel free to visit my own site at http://www.rosemarykurtz.com to purchase my bead flower tutorial DVDs and my own patterns. The purchase page is here. You can also get them from my etsy store, here.

Purchasers are welcome to email me at any time for clarification of techniques or patterns. I am devoted to helping everyone learn how to make beaded flowers!

Thanks! New posts coming soon.