Bead Flower Loop Techniques Explained

Loop techniques are simple to make. They create smaller flowers that are whimsical and add a delicate feeling to your pieces. Many flowers use a center of a bunch of continuous single loops. Also, you can combine many units of looped pieces to make larger florets. You can add a border of continuous single loops of the same or very varied pinched loops to add a ruffled effect to a petal or leaf.

Continuous Single Loops are single loops that are made in a line, very close to each other. The loops can be left round and open, or pinched; the same size, or varying sizes.

To make a small flower center of five 10-bead loops: Move 20 beads to 3 inches from the end of the wire. Make a loop of these beads by folding in half. Twist tightly twice. Close to the bottom of this loop, no more than a quarter inch away, move 20 more beads into position, fold and twist twice. Be careful to always twist your loops in the same direction, or you may undo the previous loop. Repeat three more times. Leave three or four inches of bare wire and cut, twisting bottom wires together.

This technique can be used on edges of leaves, or to make a Hummingbird's wing feathers and tail.

To make a varied, ruffled edge: Start by leaving three to four inches of bare wire. Make a small loop, of no more than one inch of beads, twist twice and pinch it closed. Leave 5 to 10 "separator" beads on the wire to cover this wire between the first loop and the second. Now, measure two inches of beads and twist twice, keeping the loop beads distinct from the separator beads. Move more separator beads next to the second loop. Repeat, making larger and smaller loops. When finished, leave three to four inches of bare wire and cut from the spool.

You can add a different look to this kind of loop very easily: Make a loop of three to four inches, flatten it, and then give it a twist or two. This technique is used in Carnations.

To add to the petal: When making the petal, leave an extra long top basic wire and don't bend it behind the petal. Wrap one free wire of the ruffle edge around the petal's stemwires, carefully matching the first loop to the bottom of the petal's outer row. Carefully match the row to the outer row. You might want to place the petal on a flat surface to do this. Tightly bend the top basic wire down over the ruffle row. If you can, pinch the wire so that the ruffle row doesn't slip behind the petal. Carefully match the ruffle row down the other side of the petal, matching the last beads to the last beads of the petal. If the pieces don't match, add or delete loops. Wrap the free wire around the petal stemwires and tape. Lace the ruffle rows with the rest of the petal. For an even better result and prevent gapping, "sew" the ruffle row to the petal with lacing wire, working from the back so the lacing wires don't show.

Continuous Wraparound Loops are a variation on the first technique. For these, make the first loop as usual, leaving it open and round. Then make a second loop around the first. Flowers like the Hydrangea are made using this technique: you would make many units with several petals, then combine the florets to make a head, and then combine many heads to make a flower. For dimension: measure how many beads it would take for a perfectly-matching second row, and then remove one bead. This will encourage an attractive and natural-looking "cupping" effect that brings the second row just a little forward from the first row.

Continuous Crossover Loops are used in making flowers like Daisies. Make a loop of about 1 ½ inches of beads. Pinch the loop together. Bring the loaded bead wire up the front of this loop, over the top and down the back. Wrap the wire at the base of the loop. Continue with the next petal approximately one-quarter inch away. You can put separator beads between the loops if the wire doesn't match the beads - for example, if you're making a white flower on gold wire. When shaping the petals with a rearward curve, press the rows to the petal is more flattened, like a natural flower petal.

You can bring the second row over the top of the first row fully-beaded, but be aware that the second row might roll off or pop off the smaller first row. To prevent this: As you're beading up the front, snug the beads down tightly, and pass the bare wire between the beads of the first row. Holding tightly, bring in more beads, bead down the back of the piece, and wrap the wire.

Continuous Loopbacks make intriguing leaves or petals. Make a seven-row leaf or petal, and don't cut the wire. Then, measure approximately 3 inches of beads. Keeping the beads snug and tight, fold the loop and twist at the bottom. Pinch the loop. Wrap the wire around the base of the leaf, extending the wire to the opposite side. Repeat the loop. You can make as many loopbacks as you like, creating a very unusual piece. When you have enough loops, wrap the wire around the stemwires, cut, and tape the wires.

When making any of these loop techniques, always be sure that your beads are held snugly in place. Few things detract from the beauty of bead flowers more than beads that slip and move around.

To order your own custom bead flower piece, message me directly. My beginner and advanced how-to videos are now available on DVD. They teach everything from the materials needed, to arranging and displaying your finished flowers. See my Shop here on Facebook, or press the "Shop Now" button to go to 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.
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