When I told my in-laws-to-be that I didn't want flowers at my wedding, they kind of scoffed at me.
“But you have to have flowers at your wedding!”
So I folded… in my own way.
I agreed to have flowers for myself and the bridesmaids, and possibly as centerpieces, but only if I made them myself.
No killing plants and spending butt-tons of money for something that would look pretty for a few hours then ultimately wither away.
So I'm making this beaded floral bouquet.
- 26 gauge wire
- Seed beads or bugle beads
- Wire cutters or scissors
- Needle-nose or round-tipped pliers
- Pipe cleaners
- Floral tape
To make petals about 1 1/2 inches long, start by cutting about 20 inches of wire. Keep in mind, it is better to err on the side of too much wire than not enough, so if you're guestimating, go longer.
Use the pliers to make a small loop in one end of the wire. It needs to be tight enough so that beads cannot get around the loop.
String on ten beads. This is your base, and these beads will be the very center of your petal. Make a bend in the wire at about the 2″ mark (beyond the beads) and twist the wire to make a small loop. This is your base loop and will be the inside point of your petal (where it will join the other petals). There should be about an inch of space between the last bead and the loop you just created.
Now begin stringing beads. You will string beads about halfway up the wire. There's not an exact number of beads to string, as each time you create a petal it will be slightly different. Not to worry, you can always add more beads or remove extra ones.
Once you have strung all the beads you think you need, loosely wrap a loop in the other end of the wire. Keep it loose, as it will need to be untied later and tying it too tightly can cause kinks that are difficult to maneuver beads around.
Hold the wire so that the base beads are at the base loop. Take the long piece of wire parallel to the base wire and line up the strung beads until they are even with the base beads. Wrap the long wire just over the top of the base beads so that you now have two rows of beads side-by-side.
Continue down the other side of the base wire, this time wrapping around the base loop. Continue going up one side and down the other until you have nine rows (up and down 4x). You should at the base loop side of the petal. Then wrap the long wire tightly several times around the base loop.
Use the wire cutters or scissors to trim the wire at the end of the petal where you made your initial loop, then fold the shortened tip under the petal. It should not be easily visible.
Make the desired number of petals (typically four, five, or eight, but whatever makes you happy!). Put their base loops together and grab the excess wire near the base with your pliers and twist tightly to hold the petals together. Adjust the petals to be positioned in a way that is appealing to you.
Next, choose how you want to make your pistil (the center of your flower). I typically choose one larger bead in either a complimentary or contrasting color and use an excess piece of wire to attach it to the rest of the flower. Just string the chosen bead to the center of the wire, twist once under the center of the bead, then string both ends of the wire through the center of the petals and twist to join the wires underneath.
You may also choose to string several sead beads to form loops and attach them in a similar way to the single larger bead.
Begin wrapping floral tape at the base of the petals. Wrap it tightly wround itself two to three times before moving further down the stem. Floral tape tends to stick only to itself, so be sure to wrap at an angle that allows overlap. Also, floral tape becomes stickier if stretched slightly, so hold it tight while wrapping.
Once you get to the bottom, double up and rewrap the entire stem.
Now you have a beaded flower! Get creative and try different colors, sizes, and patterns.
The same method can be used to create rose buds. You just start with two smaller petals (bases of four to six beads), and make two to three petals at a time slightly larger than the ones before. Wrap each layer around the previous layer and fold the tips either in towards the center (closed bud) or slightly outward, as if the bud is opening.
Bugle beads can also be used in place of seed beads, and have a much different visual effect. You can also alternate rows of colors to create different looks.