Penultimate day…! Aside from making a lovely project and learning something new, I hope you now realise how it is possible to make a little beading time each day. It doesn’t have to be a big commitment. Just make time and space for you!
So, on to today’s beading ‘me-time’. Don’t forget, you can find all the previous days’ instructions at this link.
We’re on the home straight! You’ve just got the fun task of finishing your flower stems now.
First, trim the ends of your wire so they are all the same length. This will also trim off the knot from your flower wire.
You can decide how long you want your stem, now you see the finished flower.
Now, take your floral stem tape and use it to wrap all the way down the length of the stem.
If you hold the tape at a slight angle, this will wrap nicely.
When you start at the top, you may find it’s a bit tricky to get the tape going. Just wrap it a couple of times so it sticks to itself and then start wrapping downwards.
The tape gets increasingly sticky as you stretch it. So, if you stretch and wrap, it will stick to itself and the wire.
At the bottom of the stem, just wrap over the wire ends and a couple of times back upwards, then tear off the tape.
You can leave the stems as they are. The tape dries out over time, so it won’t always remain sticky. However, it also fades over time. So, I like to wrap embroidery silk around my stems to finish them.
Begin by laying the end of your embroidery silk up the top inch of the stem, wrap it over the base of a petal, tucking it in under the centre. Then start to wrap around the stem.
As you wrap, try to keep the silk neat, so you have no gaps between wraps.
Continue to wrap all the way down the stem.
When you reach the bottom, trim the silk and use a dab of clear glue to hold the end in place.
Now, make sure the glue is thoroughly dry before you put your flower in a vase!
Make sure you treasure your first flower. It may not be perfect, but it is very special. This is a reminder that you learned something new. Look at that and remember that with patience and perseverance, anything is possible. So, feel pride in what you have achieved and please take that forward to everything else you try in life!
And, remember to come back tomorrow… I’m going to teach you how to make multiple flowers on a single stem. (Hint, it’s easier than it sounds!)
Well, with all French beading projects (or nearly all!), the finishing touch is binding the stems.
The only exception to this rule comes when you have made flowers on green wire. Then you can simply twist the stem wire to create your finish. But that doesn’t apply here, so back to the strawberry…
Today, I’m going to join both my sets of French beaders together. You’re both going to be doing the same thing with your flowers or strawberry.
I’ve outlined today’s steps in the flower project, so if you can just scroll up to there, then follow those steps.
Then sit back and admire your finished strawberry…
…but we’re not done quite yet! If you’ve made more than one strawberry, or if you have a combination of flowers and strawberries, sit tight… Tomorrow I’m going to show you how to form multiple flower or strawberry heads on a single stem. So, if you want to do that, just bind the stem on ONE strawberry today and we’ll do the rest tomorrow.
So many people that I meet would like to start designing, but they are afraid. They think there is some hidden secret rule to follow. Or perhaps something that ‘makes’ some people into designers and ‘prevents’ others.
The simple truth is everyone single one of you is a designer. All you have to do is allow yourself to do it. There is no great secret, other than confidence.
So, today and tomorrow, I want to help you start to think about design. You have just learned one beading technique. That is genuinely all you need.
How to create the best colour scheme
I hope you have your bead stash to hand because we’re going to start with a little course of discovery.
The second biggest fear I see (behind lack of confidence to design) is fear of colour. Again, so many people think there is a ‘right’ and a ‘wrong’ way to create colour schemes. They imagine that all those successful designers out there have access to some secret rule book.
In fact, there is no such thing as a ‘perfect’ or a ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ colour scheme. All you need to be thinking about is whether you like the colours. Nobody else’s opinion matters.
So, how do you know what you like and what you don’t?
It’s simple: you have to discover.
Now, I want you to use your beads to try a few different colour ideas.
You are going to spend today’s beading time making tiny little samples of your spiral stitch rope. For each sample, you simply need to stitch about 1″ (2.5cm) of rope. So that shouldn’t take you long.
Then, you need to keep each sample. Ideally, you should also label it with the beads you used. This is going to be the start of a colour reference that you can keep on growing as you keep beading.
I have a couple of ideas for storing your samples.
You can simply tie your tail thread and working thread together when you have finished your sample. This will keep the beads in place.
Then, pop this little sample in a plastic bag. You can write the colours you used on the bag, or on a slip of paper that you can put inside the bag.
Find a box and store your colour samples in it.
Stitch your little samples onto a piece of paper or thin card. Then write the details next to them on the paper.
You can store these papers in a file or a box.
In the photo, I was creating Peyote samples to compare seed bead brands. You can see how I’ve stitched each sample onto the paper and labelled it.
Colour Experiments to Try
Really, you just need to pick two colours of beads. You do not have to put any thought into this. It’s actually rather fun to make this exercise as random as possible. As soon as you start to think about it, you will start to impose ‘rules’ on yourself and that reduces your freedom to truly experiment.
However, being ‘random’ is something that most people find difficult. So, here are a few ideas you can try.
Ask a friend…
…to pick two colours. See what they come up with. Chances are, they won’t be colours that you would have chosen for yourself. So, this can be a great way to discover a new colour combination.
The numbers game…
Try taking out a few pots of beads. Give each pot a number. Then pick two numbers, randomly. These will determine the two pots that you are going to use for your two colours.
If you must have some structure in all this, then turn to the colour wheel.
You can try out some of the most widely acknowledged combinations. If you pick two colours from opposite sides of the wheel, this will give you a contrasting colour scheme. Also known as a ‘Complementary’ scheme.
Pick two colours that are neighbours and you will have an ‘Analagous’ scheme.
Finally, try two shades of the same colour. This kind of colour scheme is called ‘Monochromatic’. You might think it would be a guarantee of ‘success’, or is it? In fact, two shades of the same colour may not always bring out the best in one another.
The final task for today is to analyse your samples. The most basic question to ask yourself is: do I like the colour scheme?
If the answer is ‘yes’, then you can use it in other projects.
However, if the answer is ‘no’, then you will learn a lot. Why do you think it doesn’t ‘work’? Are the shades of colour too similar, or too different? What about the bead finish? Is it too sparkly or too matte?
Then, take your conclusions to make an adjustment and try a new scheme. For example, if you used two silver lined colours, then felt it was too sparkly, what if you changed the finish on one of the beads. So, keep the colour the same, but use a matte finish. Does that make it better? If not, then maybe you need to think about changing the colour, or just change the shade of one of the colours (ie dark to light or vice versa).
So, hopefully you can see there are all sorts of ideas and combinations you can think about.
The most important rule of all
The most important lesson to take away from this is: don’t expect to get it right first time or all the time.
However long you work with beads, you are going to keep making new discoveries. And, do you know the best way to make a new discovery? Make a mistake!
Seriously, if you’re not creating colour schemes that you ‘hate’, then you’re not being bold enough with your experiments. You will learn the most from the samples that ‘go wrong’. So keep them and treasure them because they can teach you so much.
If you want to experiment further with colour, then try this free tutorial.
Today you get to add a second leaf. So, this should feel very familiar. If you had trouble with the leaf yesterday, don’t worry – you have a new chance to improve. So keep calm and bead on!
Weave back down to the base of the leaf and on into the edge of the flower.
Pass through the outer edge row until you are in position to start another leaf – check the photo.
Note: the leaves are evenly spaced around the flower, so there will be an ‘empty’ dip-between-petals in between each leaf.
Repeat steps 15-19 to add your second leaf. They were in yesterday’s instructions, so if you need to look back, this is the link and it will open in a new tab.
Now, you can stop here for today. Or, if you’re very keen, I have a couple of options for you.
If you want to leave the flower with just two leaves and turn it into a pendant, then finish your thread off.
Then, tomorrow, you can follow the steps for the beginner bracelet to make a spiral stitch rope. I’ll tell you more tomorrow.
Option two, you can add your third leaf today, then use tomorrow to make the rope and turn this into a necklace.
Option three, stop now and just add your third leaf tomorrow!