In making bead flowers, you’re going to be using hundreds or thousands of beads per flower. Loading techniques you might use for jewelry or loom projects will be very slow and may leave your eyes and back stressed.
You need a method of loading many beads onto the needle or wire quickly and with minimum physical strain. There are two very efficient ways to do this.
If you are using beads that come strung in hanks, use the first method listed below. I’m right-handed, so I’ll describe how to do this for righties. Lefties, simply reverse the hands and you’ll be loading beads by the hundreds in no time. Note: When I buy hanked beads, I separate the hanks from the master hank, then tie a knot in the top of every hank. This prevents any strands falling out of the hank over time and having my beads ending up in the carpet.
Straighten about six inches of your spool wire and leave the end open. Choose a strand of beads and carefully ease the end out of the hank. If your top hank threads are very short, do this: Select a strand and push the beads as far to the other end as they will go, then carefully pull or cut the near end away from the hank.
Lay this open end of the strand across your left pointer fingernail. Lap your middle finger over the pointer finger’s nail and pinch the thread between them. Push several inches of beads up to your pinched fingers and stretch your thumb and other fingers away from those fingers. Pinch the beaded thread between your remaining fingers and hold the thread taut so the beads are in a straight line. You now have about 4 inches of beads ready to string and load onto your needle or wire.
Insert the needle or the open end of the wire into the beads closest to your pointer finger. Push the wire through the beads to come out of the beads close to your thumb. Drop the thread.
With your right hand, grasp the tip of the open end of the wire. Pull it away from the thread at a 45-degree angle. Once the thread has been extracted from the beads, the beads will be loaded onto your wire. Allow them to flow down the spool wire to make room for more beads. Re-set the hank thread between your fingers and repeat the stringing process.
When you get near the end of the beads on the hank thread, you have a choice to simply continue in this manner until you have all the beads on the wire; or, knot the long end of the thread so no beads can escape. Gently pull or cut the remaining end of the thread out of the hank and continue stringing from the short end.
The next method works well with Swarovski beads, bagged beads, or with hank beads that you have taken off the hank. For this method you’ll use a bead spinner or bead stringer. Bead spinners come in three or more sizes, which is very convenient if you’re using several different colors or amounts of beads, or your own mixed bead colors. See my new album Bead Spinner Varieties for some examples of bead spinners.
Regardless of the size of the bead spinner’s bowl, fill the bowl half-way with your desired color of beads. Curve your wire to follow the shape of the bowl, or recurve it to the rear. Hold your needle or your wire approximately half-way into the layer of beads. Gently spin the bead spinner into the end of your needle or wire. It may take some practice for you to find the correct curve for the wire and the angle at which to hold it in the bead reservoir. Don’t be discouraged, you’ll find them with a few tries. Once you’ve found them, the beads will seem to defy gravity and “walk” quickly up your wire. Tip the wire or needle up to allow the beads to flow down the spool wire to make room for more beads.
Using a bead spinner is my favorite way to load beads when I’m using many Swarovski beads in a flower. Take a look at my album Swarovski Bead Flowers and you’ll certainly appreciate the value of using a quick method to string beads.
To order your own custom bead flower piece, message me directly. My beginner and advanced how-to videos are available on DVD. They teach everything from the materials needed, to arranging and displaying your finished flowers. See my own website to purchase them at http://www.rosemarykurtz.com. You can also buy my own flower patterns there – beginner to advanced as well.
Thanks for reading, and happy beading!