With the snow earlier this week and non-stop Christmas music playing over Pandora I think I've finally achieved that Christmas Spirit I've been lacking til now. It's fun and wonderful and I rarely stop smiling. Which, if you saw my to-do list, you would consider nothing less than a Christmas Miracle. I know my husband does. Despite all the work getting ready for the events last week, and my big Handmade MN show this weekend, I am loving it all. So to spread a little of the Christmas Spirit I thought I'd show you how to make my favorite Beaded Wire Snowflakes. So go grab yourself a mug of hot cocoa, a peppermint stick or two, and sit back, relax and Enjoy the tutorial. :)
Beaded Wire Snowflakes Tutorial
Roll of 16-gauge steel wire (Grip-rite)
Roll of 19-gauge steel wire (darice)
A few sparkly silver or blue beads
Needle nose pliers (garage)
Wire cutter (somewhere around)
Step One: Bend one end of your 16-gauge steel wire in and under so that the cut end is blunt against the rest of the wire. *This is important to do right away whenever you're working with wire because it will protect your hands from getting too scratched up.* In this tutorial it's also a nice design element.
Step Two: Measure from the bend end of your wire 6 1/2" or so and cut your wire from the spool. Then bend that end of the wire to match your other end. In the beginning it might be hard to gauge where to make that bend so it matches, but if you just let your fingers do it, they'll find a rhythm and your bends will start to be consistent. Just don't worry about it too much if they're uneven.
Step Three: Repeat to create a total of 6 of these pieces. Then, grip two together in one hand at about an inch from one end (as shown), and using your other hand and the 19-gauge wire, begin to wrap about an inch away from an end. Wrap to end, and then around end.
Step Four: Now use your wire to finish wrapping them together, go around the end a few times, and then cut close. Using your needle nose pliers bend the cut end in so that it won't stick out and scratch. Check your other cut end as well. Repeat to wrap other 4 wires to create a total of 3 wrapped together wire pieces.
Step Five: In your hand, assemble the wires into a snowflake shape by laying them across one another so they all intersect at their middles, as shown. Grip your 19-gauge wire about 2"-3" from end, and then use it to wrap around the intersection several times. Then move around the center intersection, wrapping the wires into position.
Step Six: Bend in your cut end if it's protruding, and then cut the wire close and bend end in to center to secure. If your snowflake seems a little wobbly at this point, grab your needle nose, and flip the snowflake over and give a wire or two a good twist to tighten bind. You should have a 3" piece of wire still sticking out from center.
Step Seven: Thread a bead onto this wire and position so that it is centered to the middle of your intersection. Wrap the extra wire, and bend in your cut end to complete. AT THIS POINT: you may want to use your 19-gauge steel wire to add beads to the each of your 6 ends as well. The extra beads really catch the light and look soo sparkly. Another way of finishing off the snowflake is to cut thin strips of cloth and tie to each end. You may also choose to spray paint your snowflake. Totally up to you how you'd like to embellish the ornaments. So have fun!!!
PS- to hang these I bend my 16-gauge steel wire to create an "S" hook. It's easy, matches the ornament, and looks great hanging from my iron chandelier. ;)