Beaded leaves are used in all kinds of jewellery creations, usually in support of a central flower that is also beaded. Because there are so many different types of leaves it is a good idea to learn how to make any shape you want. This is done by drawing a pattern for your beads before you bead them. Once you learn the simple beading technique, you should be able to create any leaf you want.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
Things you need
- Leaf samples
- 1/16-inch graph paper
- Coloured pencils
- Beading wire
- Wire cutter
Walk about your garden and neighbourhood and collect samples of leaf shapes.
Choose a leaf and position it over 1/16-inch graph paper.
Trace the outline of the leaf onto the graph paper using a pencil. Move the leaf above the sketch and add in veining if you wish to include colour changes in your leaf.
Colour in the squares with colour pencils that most closely conform to your leaf shape. Change colour pencils if you are going to change bead colour. This is a leaf pattern. Label the type of leaf on the graph paper. Mark the direction of the bead. A two-sided arrow will show the beading wire.
Cut 3 feet of beading wire. This wire should be thin enough to pass through seed beads twice.
Turn your graph paper 90 degrees. Usually a pattern is easier to work from one direction.
Identify your first row of beads. Count how many squares are coloured in each colour and pick up beads. Each coloured square should equal one bead. Example: the first row is four green beads. Slide the beads to the middle of your wire. The next row is eight beads. Pick up eight beads with the wire on your right side. Bend the eight beads toward the left. Take the wire on the left and thread it through the same eight beads in the reverse order. Pull the wires tight.
Create unevenly spaced beads by threading one side of your wire with the same number of beads on the previous row. When the wire from the opposite side comes through the beads, it will add more beads on the end. This will work from either side allowing you to shape your beads to the leaf shape more easily.
Tips and warnings
- Oak leaves often have several arms. Each of these arms can be beaded separately and then joined together at the end. Start with simple football shaped leaves until you see exactly how easy it is to make a leaf. Follow your patterns and the direction of your beads and everything will match up when you join sections together.
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