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Shimmering snowflake ornaments

Make a flurry of these easy ornaments

My interest in creating beaded objects started in the early 1960s when I came across some beaded flower arrangements in an upscale New York City department store. They were imported from France and very expensive.

I was determined to try making them and searched for information on the technique. Eventually, I found some booklets describing the French technique for making beaded flowers, and I’ve been making beaded creations ever since. 

Most of my beadwork is based on the natural world. I love to make flowers and can replicate almost any flower in nature with beads. But I also make miniatures trees (bonsai, palms, mimosas, etc.) and Christmas-themed items such as candy canes, snowflakes, and evergreens hung with icicles. My snowflakes do take some liberties with their natural inspiration. Snowflakes, in reality, have only six points. But I think eight points make a more beautiful snowflake. 

SUPPLIES

  • 1 Hank 10/0 or 11/0 seed beads, clear silver-lined (enough for 6-7 snowflakes)
  • 1 Spool 24-gauge craft wire
  • 1 Spool 28-gauge craft wire
  • Devcon High Strength 5-Minute Epoxy
  • 1 Small paperclip
  • Clear thread for hanging ornaments
  • Tools: round- or chainnose pliers, diagonal wire-cutters, tweezers

INSTRUCTIONS

Shimmering snowflake ornaments a
Photo a
Shimmering snowflake ornaments b
Photo b
Shimmering snowflake ornaments c
Photo c
Shimmering snowflake ornaments d
Photo d
Shimmering snowflake ornaments e
Photo e
Shimmering snowflake ornaments f
Photo f

The alternatives given here for ending each point – a double loop or scroll and  three petals or a fleur-de-lis – are only two of many possibilities. Remember that in nature every snowflake is unique, so experiment with other shapes to end your snowflakes’ points. 

Snowflake with scroll points

1. String 40 in. (1m) of beads on 24-gauge wire. This will be enough to make one snowflake. Make a small loop at the tail end to keep the beads from falling off. Don’t cut the beaded wire off the spool.

2. Leave about 2 in. (5cm) of the wire clear and count 24 beads for the first leg of the first point. 

3. Count 10 more beads and make a tight loop to hold the 10 beads at the end of the first point. Twist once to secure (PHOTO A). 

4. Form an outer loop by curving the beaded wire snugly around the first loop and wrapping twice at the base of the loop (PHOTO B).

5. Count 24 more beads for the second leg and twist the legs together 3 or 4 times (PHOTO C).

6. There should be 3⁄16-1⁄4 in. (5-6mm) of wire between each point on the snowflake. To keep the spacing between the points even, position a paperclip on the wire at the base of the completed point and the beads for the next point (PHOTO D). String 19 beads for the legs of the second point, topping it with a double loop as described in steps 3-4.

7. Repeat steps 2 to 6, alternating 24-bead and 19-bead points until you’ve made 8 points.

8. After making the last point, cut the wire from the spool, leaving 2 in. of clear wire. Join the points into a circle, weaving the wire tails in and out between the petals (PHOTO E) and around the center of the circle. This provides a base for gluing on the center button. 

9. Bend the legs of each spoke outward to form elongated diamond shapes. Use your pliers to bend an angle about 8 beads from the end loop on the longer legs, and 6 beads from the end loop on the shorter ones (PHOTO F).

10. Adjust the points so the snowflake is symmetrical and lies flat. Follow directions for the center button below to complete the snowflake.

Snowflake with fleur-de-lis points

1. Follow steps 1-3 above.

2. Make a 12-bead loop next to the 10 bead loop.

3. Make another 10 bead loop next to the 12-bead loop. Position the 3 loops like a fleur-de-lis or clover.

4. Repeat steps 5-6 above, making a fleur-de-lis at the end of the 19-bead legs. 

5. Repeat steps 1-4 three times to make 8 points.

6. Repeat steps 8-10 above to complete the body of the snowflake.

Center button

1. String 8 in. (20cm) of beads on 28-gauge wire. Leave a 2-in. tail and twist 6 beads into a tight loop. 

Shimmering snowflake ornaments g
Photo g

2. Curve the beaded wire snugly around the 6-bead loop and twist the wire once around the tail wire. Make a third rotation with the beaded wire (PHOTO G). 

3. Twist the working wire and the tail wire tightly together with pliers, snugging up the beads on the outside loop. Clip the twisted wires, leaving a 1⁄8 in. (3mm) tail.

4. Bend the wire tail back so it is flush against the beads on one side of the button. You will glue this side (the back side) to the snowflake.

5. Repeat steps 1-4 to make a second button.

6. On a disposable surface, mix equal parts of the 2-part epoxy. 

7. Lay a center button with its back side up on the disposable surface. Dab its perimeter with the epoxy.

Shimmering snowflake ornaments h
Photo h

8. Center the snowflake over the button. Dab glue on the perimeter of the second button’s back side and use tweezers to place it over the snowflake’s center (PHOTO H). Press together and adjust the buttons so they line up exactly over the snowflake’s center.

9. As the epoxy gets tacky, continue to press the buttons together on both sides of the snowflake until they have adhered completely.

10. Tie a circle of clear thread around the end of one of the long points to hang the snowflake.

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