Today was a warm and cozy family day. We stayed home, watched Incredibles on DVD and made gifts. Kai and I worked on beaded snowflake ornaments, and Eric worked on a super-secret project for his dad’s upcoming birthday.
The idea for beaded snowflake ornaments came when my mother was in town. Mom reads my blog, and had seen the post about my pilgrimage to Shipwreck Beads. Mom loves beads, especially round stone beads that I hand-knot into necklaces for her, so a special side-trip was in order.
I saw a packet of these wire things on the wall.
You turn them into snowflakes by sliding beads on the wires and creating loops on the end. I thought this would be simple and easy enough that Kai and I could make them together and end up with something pretty.
I sprung for nice beads. I had toyed with the idea of using cheap plastic rainbow beads because this was a kid’s project, but (a) beads are inexpensive at Shipwreck and (b) I wanted the end results to be classy, not cheesy.
I limited the palette to two colors to keep the ornaments classy and traditional, and because I know from several WeaveCast interviews that imposing design limits on a project forces you to be more creative. I chose a rich dark blue and a clear crystal.
I didn’t have any idea how many beads would fit on a snowflake, so I bought 400 of each color, and two packets of the wires. I figured that if I ran out, I could use beads from around the house, and if I had too many beads…well, extra beads!
The project was a lot of fun. Kai did the stringing and I did the wire loops at the end. I used my favorite tool for making the loops. It’s not round-nose pliers, it’s this thing.
I’ve forgotten the technical term. (It’s been many years since my 20’s slacker job working the retail counter in a bead store.) Whatever its name, it makes creating pretty end loops easy.
Kai and I had fun making up new patterns for the snowflakes. Having only two colors let us focus on the pattern, not color choices, and thus spurred innovation. We came up with several variations, and could have come up with a whole lot more…but we ran out of wires. These are a few of our designs. (Click the thumbnails to enlarge.)
The limited color pallete also meant that they all look good together.
The only snowflake I wasn’t thrilled with was the one where I tried interleaving two different patterns. I think I like the hexagonal symmetry of using the same pattern on each wire better. It’s more like a real snowflake. This one just looks…wrong, somehow.
Overall, a fun day and a sucessful project, 16 snowflakes made for gifts and to decorate our tree!
And to make the day even more perfect…mother nature made snowflakes too! The first snow of the season happened while we were working!
After the project was done, the whole family went outside for a walk and to inaugurate winter with a snowball fight.
Project Details (So I won’t have to guess next year)
Beads: 5×7 mm czech glass oval with facets and an irridescent coating in dark blue and clear (item #s 34FC576 & 34FC512 at Shipwreck)
Beads per Snowflake: 30 of the 5x7mm oval beads fit perfectly on a snowflake
Snowflake Wire: 3.75″ wide Snowflake Ornament Wire Form from BeadSmith. (item # MS515), 8 wires per pack.