Creating the Flower Girl Barrette
Writers are often advised to imagine their ideal reader and write for that person. A recent Beadwork challenge proved to me that this advice could be adapted for jewelry designers as well.
For the February/March Beadwork challenge, four of us were given a handful of resin flowers and leaves from Dee's Place. While I was fascinated by these pastel flowers–especially by how easily they fit into one another–I was initially stumped on how to use them. I finally decided to imagine my ideal customer and design something for her. Once I came up with "flower girl at her cousin's wedding," the design came together quickly. (The fact that I don't know any 9-year-old girls and had never been a flower girl myself didn't even seem to slow me down!)
Using peyote-stitch, I created a base with size 8 iridescent white beads. The larger size of bead works up quickly–an important consideration seeing how much work for weddings takes place at the last minute! I chose to use Tacky Tape to adhere the beads to the barrette. You could also attach it with thread. (In my "flower girl" scenario, I was afraid that thread might not be strong enough!)
Adventures in Picot Edging
I knew right away that I would need some kind of edging on the barrette to cover the exposed threads on the sides. It took some experimenting to figure out what worked best. I had the perfect color of Delicas in my stash, but when I used them for the edging, I didn't like the awkward angles they formed. I decided to use beads that were rounded to emphasize the curves of the edging. I also tried size 11s and making larger netted loops for the edging, but that seemed too fussy. (Imagine a scaled-down version of the netting in the Netted Cabochon Necklace by Glenda Payseno.)
Ironically, the beads I ended up using–the tiny plastic pearls–were among the first beads I ever bought. They had been hanging around my stash for years and years. The more experienced I became at beading, the more I hated seeing those beads in my stash. What a waste of money! What was I thinking when I bought those? I resisted trying them for this project–I think they were my third or fourth choice–and yet, when I saw how they formed that first curve, I knew they were the perfect fit for this project. So, lesson learned: every bead has a purpose, even if it takes you years to figure out what that is!
Other Design Ideas
I was surprised when I visited Dee's Place that these flowers also come in white. You could make an all-white bridal version of this project, adding ribbons, tulle, pearls, and crystals. Or skip the flowers and try making a plain beaded barrette. Instead of peyote stitch, try a version using brick stitch or square stitch. The February/March 2008 Beadwork issue features the other projects made with these resin flowers: a simple wireworked ring, a gold chain bracelet with flower and bead dangles, and floral fringed magnets.
Update: Using Thread Instead of Tacky Tape
After this newsletter originally ran, I receive an email from jewelry designer Kelli Peduzzi of Pure Bliss Jewelry, letting me know that she'd successfully used thread to secure beadwork to the base of barettes and "over time and use, it is more likely that the metal barette base itself will weaken before the thread does, if the thread has been firmly and properly secured. At least this has been my experience."
Here are Kelli's instructions and tips:
"Use the thread emerging from the end of the beadwork to stitch that end of the beadwork through the hole at one end of the barrette, making as many passes through hole and up through beadwork as is needed so that the end of the beadwork isn't slipping. Then work your way along the length of the beadwork following the threadpath of each row, passing under the top of the barrette with each row, and snugging the thread tight. Be very careful not to pass under the snap bar of the barrette, or you will stitch your barrette closed! (It may help to open the bar in order to avoid this.) Once you have proceeded along the length of the barrette with these tight loops of thread, stitch through the other hole at the other end like you did the first hole, until good and tight. Trim thread and secure with glue or nail polish. The barrette should be give you years of wear. I think thread is preferable to thin wire as it's less likely to catch in hair and less likely to become brittle and break."
NEW Free Peyote Stitch Pattern eBook: Our first free beadweaving pattern e-book features 5 peyote stitch projects, plus two full pages of step-by-step illustrated instructions on even- and odd-count peyote, and a sheet of peyote stitch graph paper for creating original jewelry designs. Download Peyote Stitch Projects with BeadingDaily: 5 Free Peyote Stitch Patterns
Wedding Jewelry, Anyone? I'm collecting photos of beautiful wedding jewelry by Beading Daily readers to put in an online gallery so we can all be inspired by the creativity on this list! If you have a photo to share, please send me the link to your blog or website by January 28. (If you don't have photos online, but still wish to share photos, email me and I'll let you know where to send them.) Thanks!
Michelle Mach is the editor of Beading Daily. She is enjoying all the wedding jewelry photos that have been sent so far!