I promised you guys a video demonstration of Scallops, and I've finally managed to get a semi-decent one made. Yay!
Making videos is something I've wanted to do for a long time, but it's a difficult thing for me to do. I'm pretty shy, and public speaking is pretty far outside my comfort zone. I'm known to break out in hives, or forget how to speak altogether (no, dear church congregation, I'm not speaking in tongues, just having a panic attack). My husband has been laughing at me (in a nice, supportive way of course) as I walked around the house rehearsing what I was going to say in this video, and even miming the hand movements. The first day of recording was a complete disaster. I was so nervous my hands were shaking through the whole thing, but it got easier and easier. Though beading through a camera lens is actually hard, and I had to practice beading and talking at the same time because it turns out I don't naturally have that kind of coordination... I had to keep pulling the leaf off to the side or up close to my face so I could actually see what I was doing. And then there's the issue of getting my camera to stay focused. So, I've done the best I can and I hope that the video will help someone. This was not an easy project for me, but now seeing it finished is a personal triumph. That's what art does for the artist. It helps us grow, sometimes in ways we don't expect. When I started making French Beaded Flowers about six years ago, I certainly didn't think that I'd end up making videos (or even patterns and tutorials at all, for that matter) to help teach people about this beautiful art.
Blah, blah, blah. Enough of that. After much self-inflicted torture, I am pleased to present my very first video tutorial in which I demonstrate the French Beading technique called Scallops.
I have just set up a YouTube Channel, and so far this is the only video there. I probably won't be able to add more tutorial videos until next year, since I'm working with all my might to get my first book published near the end of November, and then we are getting into the busy holiday season. So, we'll see what my schedule looks like after that. But I am definitely doing more. Some will be part of my Technique Guide series, and others will be projects as well. :)
Alrighty, so there are the basics of Scalloping. Let's continue on and talk a little bit more about this wonderful technique. I'll show a couple of fancier ways to use Scallops, and talk about bead counts.
I've just shown how to make single Scallops, and now that you know the basics, you can apply the same methods to make stacked scallops and tipped (or winged) scallops.
Let's start with stacking. Stacking scallops refers to building scallops on top of each other to make thicker, larger scallops. To do this, first make the base scallops on each side of your leaf/petal (Figure 1).
Then go back to the first side and add your next scallop at least one bead above the top of the base scallop. (Figure 2)
Wrap back down to the Bottom Wire, and repeat on the opposite side of your leaf. (Figure 3)
In Figure 4, I've completed the leaf by adding a second set of stacked scallops, setting the base scallops on both sides of the leaf before going back and adding the second scallop over the top.
You can stack as many scallops as you want, however, because all of the scallops are set into the same outer row, you will need to either burst a few beads in that outer row (very carefully with a set of pliers), or preferably, plan ahead and short yourself a few beads on that outer row to make room in the row for the extra wires that will need to go between beads. (Figure 5) If you don't leave this space, your row will bow outward (it will still bow outward a little even with the space, but it is greatly reduced when you short yourself a few beads), and eventually you will just run out of space and won't be able to get your wire between beads to set the scallops.
If you get a little fancier with stacking scallops, you can use scallops to create really interesting texture on a leaf by bouncing back and forth. Let me show you what I mean by "bouncing back and forth". In Figure 6 I've got a single scallop made on the side of my leaf.
*Notice that I've shorted myself two beads at the bottom of the first scallop row. Keep this extra space at the bottom of the leaf.
Now wrapping back down, instead of wrapping at the Bottom Wire, we will set another scallop further down that outer row. (Figure 7)
Then, bounce back up and set a scallop below the first. And back down to set a scallop below the first lower scallop. (Figure 8)
Repeat this bouncing back and forth as many times as you need to reach the Bottom Wire. (Figure 9)
After which we wrap around the Bottom Wire and repeat the entire process on the opposite side of the leaf. (Figure 10)
Winged (or tipped) Scallops
Now let's give our scallops some wings. (The effect is very similar to the shape a Loop Back would make, but you don't need as many lacing wires.)
First, I've set my scallop. (Figure 11)
Next, add more beads to my wire, but instead of wrapping straight down, we will use our thumbs to pinch a little "wing" into the tip of our scallop. (Figure 12)
And we continue on as usual with our scallops, the only difference being the pinched tip. (Figure 13)
I'm going to go ahead and admit that I dislike bead counts, but unfortunately they are kind of necessary for patterns that use Scallops. Why do I dislike them? Because all size 11/0 seed beads are not actually the same size. Some brands are taller and some are shorter, and some types are just very irregular in size and shape (which is just a whole other mess), and this difference in bead lengths can affect bead counts and alter the finished shape of your petal. When you're only making a few scallops on each petal, this size difference in beads probably won't distort your shape, or if it does, may not be a big enough deal to need fixing. But when you're working with petals with lots of scallops, those tiny differences can add up with each scallop and the shape will be more prone to changing from the original.
Basically, take the counts with a grain of salt, and pay close attention to the shape of the leaf/petal in the pattern, making adjustments to the bead counts as needed.
One new idea that I've had to help the patterns be more accurate is to make the pictures in my patterns life-sized, so when the pattern is viewed at 100% size, you can lay your leaf/petal down on top of the picture to help measure out the scallop placements (Though I still include bead counts on the picture if they are needed). I've only done this in my recently published Ball Dahlia pattern so far. I'm not sure if this was helpful to anyone or not, but I do plan on continuing to do this whenever possible.
And there we have French Beaded Scallops!
Most beaded flower artist tend to make their flowers life-size, so I thought having a "tips" post on making miniature sized flowers would be fun and different. However, I haven't made very many miniatures myself. Most of my work tends to be on the other end of the size scale. So I contacted my friend Suzanne Steffenson (who was also the co-designer/author for Beaded Berry Collection) who specializes in making miniatures, to see if she would be willing to write up an article for your enjoyment and edification. We are very fortunate that she agreed!
Earlier this year I published a free pattern for Miniature Roses, and I've had so much fun seeing so many others use that pattern to make flowers. Suzanne also used that pattern, but with smaller beads. Basically, she made miniature miniature roses, and mounted them on a tiny doll sized tiara meant for a dog!
In this last picture you can see the comparison of my red miniature rose next to her miniature miniature roses. Just look at the perfect blend of colors! And the Victorian Beaded Butterfly is a wonderful touch.
She says the only alteration she made was to add an extra of the smallest petals on the inside. Bead counts and rows were the same as the original pattern, which is a rare occurrence when making miniatures.
And here are a few more samples of Suzanne's work, all miniatures made using beads smaller than the 11/0 seed beads that we see used most often in French Beading.
And now on to the article!
"Thinking small - Making miniature beaded flowers"
By: Suzanne Steffenson
Although Helen McCall wrote a book on making miniature beaded flowers, and other authors of French beaded flower books have included some patterns for making miniatures, most of these patterns use the same 11/0 beads used in life size flowers. The “miniature” designs are simplified versions of their life size cousins, and accordingly, some patterns lack detail and charm. But what if you make a miniature flower like a good piece of dollhouse furniture, where detail – construction, coloration and scale -- is as precise and as intricate as the full sized version? There is no magic formula for taking an existing pattern and sizing it down from 11/0 beads to 15/0s, but there are steps you can take to produce lovely miniatures.
I recommend starting with 14/0 and 15/0 Japanese beads. Aside from having hundreds of colors and finishes, they are inexpensive, readily available, and relatively uniform in size. Czech beads are made in smaller sizes, but because 16/0 and smaller beads are no longer being made (making them harder to find and more expensive), this article is based on 14/0 and 15/0 beads.
The size of the bead holes is very important. If the original pattern calls for a fringe or Victorian technique, etc., make sure the bead holes will allow more than one wire to pass through. Some smaller beads will accommodate two wires and some will not.
I generally go down one wire gauge when working from an 11/0 pattern to a 15/0 miniature. I find 26 or 28 gauge wire usually works well with a basic technique, and 28 gauge for continuous loops. 30 gauge works well for fringes and lacing. But there are exceptions to every situation. If the gauge is too heavy for the bead size, it will be difficult to get good technique, twists and wraps, and if the wire is too flimsy, your flower won’t withstand being moved or shaped. If I’m working on a flower with a lot of petals, I sometimes use a lighter gauge for the inside petals and a heavier gauge for the outside petals, just to make a sturdier flower. Also, when working with smaller beads and smaller components, weight is not the issue it can be with bigger flowers. I use silamide (strong, waxed beading thread) instead of wire to lash the petals together or to a stem wire.
Start by working with a full-size pattern that you like. Roses are fun to miniaturize as are simple patterns for daisies, lilies, and iris. Some patterns are written with bead counts and some are written with measurements. Start with the biggest components – usually the leaves and petals. Make a full size component (leaf, petal, etc.) in 11/0s using the author’s recommended bead count or measurement. This will provide you with a sense of the overall shape and size of the component. Take the beaded component and make an outline of it on a piece of paper to more clearly see the proportions.
When working with smaller beads, even one or two beads or one row can make a big difference in the proportions of the component. I have had rare occasions where I have been able to take the original 11/0 basic bead count and use that same count with 15/0s. If this happens, by all means celebrate. But more often look at the full-size component and reduce the length of the basic measurement by approximately 65-70%. If the Basic Row is given as a bead count, you must first convert that length to inches or cm before making the size reduction. If the full-size component is an unusual shape (like a one bead basic) or shorter (less than one inch in length), a smaller percentage reduction may be more successful than a larger one. A very small basic of one or two 11/0 beads will be the same in a size 15/0 miniature and you will probably need to decrease the rows to maintain the overall proportions. Plan on making one or two samples to determine the best ratio.
Using the 11/0 pattern as a guide, begin adding rows to the 15/0 miniature. With most miniatures, you will have to reduce the number of rows by at least two, sometimes one, and sometimes more than two. Likewise for continuous wraparound loops. When you finish your 15/0 component, place it next to or inside the outline of the 11/0 component. Be critical. Is the miniature version the same shape? Too long? Too wide? Or, horrors – TOO BIG? Your next attempt will be much closer.
After you have a 15/0 bead count for the petals and leaves, use the same process to determine the 15/0 measurements for smaller components like centers and sepals.
I do not usually reduce the number of components (petals, leaves, etc.) when miniaturizing a standard pattern. To do so would simplify the design when I’m going for the same level of detail as the larger version. Likewise with coloration. I put a lot of effort into shading and putting as much color detail into the flower as you might see with a life-sized version. Because you may not have as many rows or “space” to work with, make sure you edit colors carefully.
Another important aspect of creating a miniature is to give credit where credit is due – acknowledge the author of the original design and then humbly take a bow for your miniature interpretation of that design.
At last, the tricky part. The pattern you have chosen to miniaturize may include a technique that doesn’t work well with 15/0 beads. It may be a technique for a center, sepal, stamen, or leaf. There are some techniques, which shall remain nameless, that I don’t like to use with 15/0s. The easiest solution is to substitute a different technique. I call it “frankensteining” –combining a component from one pattern with a component from another pattern. Look at the flower files on Facebook FRENCH BEADED FLOWER group (must be approved to join first, if you are not already a member) and other online resources, glean ideas from books and patterns, and ask other members of our French beaded flower community.
Hello everyone! I am Lauren Harpster, the designer behind Lauren's Creations. I am a 28 year old wife, and a mother to three adorable little kids. I've been making French Beaded Flowers for six years now, and teaching French Beading through my website for about four years. I hope you'll join me on my blog so you, too, can Learn the Art of French Beading.
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