Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Vary Colors in Bead Flowers with Shading and Tipping

Some living flowers have petals that are a solid, dark shade at the center, and become lighter the farther away from the center the petal grows. This effect can be copied in bead flowers by simply creating petals of progressively lighter hues, and then assembling the flower.

This look is indeed striking and lovely, and I use this technique often - but it’s fun and challenging to go to the next level.

Many living flowers and their petals are not made up of a single, solid color. Some petals have two or more internal colors. It is possible to imitate these effects in bead flowers.

Today I want to discuss two of the best techniques to achieve this. These techniques are called shading and tipping. Shading and tipping can be used subtly, to create delicate variations in a petal’s hue, or boldly, to create sharply-defined changes in tone or color.

Let’s discuss the subtle ways first.

Let’s say you want to gently vary the shade of the petals you’re making. Use two or three similar shades of transparent beads. String the beads onto your wire, but after a few inches of one color, switch to another one of your three colors. If you’re using bead spinners, keep switching to a spinner with another color of beads after a few inches are loaded onto your wire. Keep switching colors, loading them all onto the same spool wire, until you have enough for one petal or as many petals as you are going to make. Construct the petals as usual; don’t count beads or do anything else to affect the colors. The finished petals will show subtle stripes of all the colors you used.

If you want the changes of colors to occur only on the tips of the petals, it’s a bit more complicated. Let’s say you want a subtle change in color (say, from a dark pink to a light pink) on the very edge of your petals near the point. Work your dark pink petal until you have only four rows left to go. Push back the pink beads on the spool, measure enough wire to finish the entire petal, and cut the wire.

Transfer beads from the spool wire onto the working petal wire until approximately one inch of bare wire is left before reaching the top basic wire. Now, add your second color beads onto the petal wire. Wrap the wire around the top basic wire as always. Onto the working petal wire add about the same amount of the second color beads as on the previous row. Then add enough of the first color of beads again to reach to the bottom basic wire. Wrap. Repeat with the last two rows, but this time use about half as much of the second color beads for both sides of the petal. This petal will now have a tip of a different color than the rest of the petal. You can vary this technique in countless ways to get different looks for your flowers. 

Now let’s try a bolder look and a slightly different technique. You’ll see an example of this in my Cattleya Orchid. Let’s say you’re making a purple petal with a yellow “center.” Start making the petal with yellow beads. Make up to 9 rows of this color. For a large petal, you can wrap the wire down the stem and cut it, then wrap on a new wire loaded with several strands of purple beads. The finished petal will be a purple piece with a striking yellow center. If you’re making a small or medium-sized petal, no need to cut the wire in the middle of the petal. When you’re ready to change colors, measure enough wire to finish the petal and cut. Then add the new color to the cut petal wire, and keep working.

With these techniques you can make dew-tipped roses, two-tone flowers, lovely orchids, even tie-dye colored flowers.

To order your own custom bead flower piece, message me directly. My beginner and advanced how-to videos are now available on DVD. They teach everything from the materials needed, to arranging and displaying your finished flowers. See my Shop here on Facebook, or press the “Shop Now” button to go to my own website to purchase them at You can also buy my own flower patterns there – beginner to advanced as well. 

Thanks for reading, and happy beading!

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