Easy Beaded Snowflakes

Dec 18, 2007

Easy Beaded Snowflake Ornaments


View the snowflake gallery

It's that wonderful time of the year. Well, wonderful for some; wonderfully stressful for others with not only the holidays, but all that year-end, wrap-up stuff at work. I decided to offer an anti-stress solution to those in the Colorado office: pick up a wire snowflake form and make a beaded ornament. Twenty people--many from accounting!--took me up on my offer.

At left: Nicole's beaded snowflake uses silver bugle beads, crystals and glass beads.

Why do I love this project? Let me count the ways . . . It's inexpensive. It's quick. It's an ideal project for new beaders--male and female alike. And children can definitely contribute--one employee let her 8-year-old son design her snowflake. (Great job, Ian!).

 

Best of all, because the technique is so simple, this project lets people put most of their energy into the design process--choosing the colors and shapes of beads and arranging them into a pleasing pattern. It really showcased people's personalities and talents. Susan created a red, white, and blue version in honor of her husband in the military. Danielle placed a large, flat-backed pink crystal in the center of both sides of her snowflake, so it would look fabulous no matter which way it hung. Sandi fashioned her own hanger on the back with wire.

At right: Sandi twisted some wire to create her own hook for hanging the snowflake.

View the snowflake gallery to see all 21 snowflakes.

Basic Instructions

1. Start with the basic wire form. (We used the 3.75" size from BeadSmith.)

2. String the beads onto the wire. Tape the ends if you don't want to commit to your design immediately.

3. Working on one end at a time, bend the ends into simple loops or use glue to finish the ends. (Bending the wire is much easier with the larger wire forms.)

4. Add a loop or ribbon to one end.

Project Tips:

  • Shopping for beads: Beads with very small holes--like freshwater pearls--will probably not fit over this wire. If you are going shopping for special beads for this project, it's a good idea to take the wire form with you.
  • Bending the wire: This wire is STIFF. A few people were able to bend it, but others broke it (or their beads) when they tried. You may want to glue the beads on the end instead. (E-6000 works well.) Try using a toothpick to put some glue inside the hole of the last bead before sliding it onto the wire. You may also consider using the larger snowflake forms--the wire used in those is much more malleable.
  • Taping the ends: I taped the ends as I worked on them, then did all my finishing once I was happy with the design. (I learned this trick the hard way when I strung all the beads on, picked up the snowflake to see how it looked, and watched all the beads fall off and roll under the sofa.) If you're more of a "make a commitment and stick with it" type of beader, than you can just finish the ends one at a time as you go.
  • Buy an extra package: I bought a package of eight wire forms at my local bead shop, thinking that would be plenty. I ended up buying two more packages! Trust me, even though before now your Uncle Marty has expressed no interest in anything other than armadillos, he will want to do this project once he sees how much fun the rest of the family is having!

Coming Friday: A beautiful pair of crystal earrings, just right for your holiday parties!


 

Michelle Mach is the editor of Beading Daily. She created two more beaded snowflakes after finishing the one she "had" to do for the gallery!



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Comments

gotrice wrote
on Dec 19, 2007 3:00 PM
Thank you so much for the posting on this. I definitely had a brain blip as I could not get a handle on working these out. So these wires have sitting for awhile. Much appreciated --
gotbeader!
SaraJ wrote
on Dec 19, 2007 4:47 PM
Ok, you aren't going to tease us with the fact that you made more, and then not show us, are you?

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow . . . .

I imagine if you guys made more in the office and decorated the office tree with them, y'all might have to wear sunglasses when the tree lights are switched on, hee!

I do have some qualms about beaded decor items, but Christmas ornaments are one aspect I feel a bit more to my taste. I do wonder if one could wire two of the forms together, if you weren't using huge beads, for a more . . . armed? crystallized? dramatic, sort of, snowflake? If I did that, I'd definitely keep the variation of color, size, shape, faceting or no, texture, finish, pattern arrangement, etc. of the beads to a simpler (but elegant!) arrangement.

So many beautiful flakes you have there, in your office.

Oops, that doesn't sound quite right, does it? Hee hee!

I think if I made one with one form it'd be anywhere from 2/3 the lushness of Kat's, down to the lushness of Sandi's. I can also see a tree decorated all in Shelly's, perhaps in various sizes. Maybe even in both silver and gold!

So many nice, individual snowflakes!
Kristin@41 wrote
on Dec 19, 2007 5:26 PM
When I make beaded snowflake ornaments, I finish the ends with a clear earwire safety sleeve (the little ribbed, rubbery kind). I only bend the wire on the end I'll use to hang the ornament, reducing the chance of breakage.
MaryF@79 wrote
on Dec 19, 2007 7:11 PM
I used those clear rubber earring nuts to hold the beads in place until I was ready to finish the ends. You can glue those on but for my taste I would paint them. Or you can use the small metal earing nuts that have the rubber inside and glue those on. I used memory wire end beads putting them on 5 of the spokes then looping the 6th to put the hanger on. I too put flat back crystals on several of them. That way I didn't have to start with tiny beads due to the spacing of the spokes. Frustrating issue with the Bead Smith forms is that they weren't centered when soldered which would make the spokes uneven. Drove me crazy. For next year I'm planning to make my own using piano wire and a solder wand so I can make sure they are centered.
SJBeader wrote
on Dec 20, 2007 10:58 AM
I've been doing these snowflakes for two or three years now, mostly with kids.
I would add these two tips:
1. String on a small bead, like a big-hole 2mm bead, first on each arm of the snowflake. Bigger beads don't snug up next two each other as well because they bump against each other. Inexpensive metal beads found at craft stores are a good pick for this step.
2. If you plan to turn the ends of the wire, you do need a firm but gentle hand. I used the same technique for turning loops for memory wire, but then a lot of people have trouble with turning loops on memory wire. Also, It's a good idea to leave about an inch of wire on the end to do the loops. People who don't leave enough wire for turning are more likely to break the wire or the beads. Practice makes perfect!
VivianC@7 wrote
on Dec 22, 2007 6:17 PM
There were no pictures of the "Easy Beaded Snowflakes!" Am I missing something?
Vivian Caldwell
VivianC@7 wrote
on Dec 22, 2007 6:19 PM
Now, I have a picture. When I first downloaded the e-mail, it didn't come up.
CammiL wrote
on Dec 24, 2007 4:21 AM
ok I'm totally lost on how to do this one. How do you make the center stick together?! Superglue or what?
I just can't figure it out at all... =[ somebody help?
on Dec 24, 2007 8:31 AM
Hi Cammi,

If you buy the already-made snowflake form like we used, you don't need to worry about the center. If you're making your own with wire, I've heard that some folks solder the pieces together. Hope that helps!
CammiL wrote
on Dec 27, 2007 7:45 PM
Oh thank you so much!

That helps!

Thank you! =]
kesha1089 wrote
on Dec 5, 2010 11:56 AM

wow i never had so much fun making some thing like this in my life ever i absoulutly loved it

kesha1089 wrote
on Dec 5, 2010 12:00 PM

oops maybe i should of bought bigger beads these ones don't fit into my wire