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.
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