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Bead caps can often make pretty flowers. I enjoy mixing together caps and beads for different types of flowers. The simplest kind is the one you just thread straight on to your cord or jewellery wire when stringing bracelets or necklaces (see these instructions), but it's also easy to make flower charms, like my copper anemones above.
Making these charms, I was partially inspired by Melinda Barta's Open Blossom from here lovely book Custom Cool Jewelry (Interweave Press). Unlike her flowers, though, I wanted to make more naturalistic charms with stamens and sepals. The result can be seen above, a solid copper charm reminding of wood anemones.
Instructions include step-by-step pictures of how to make wrapped loops. Click on photos for enlarged pictures.
Supplies for one charm:
1 "petal-shaped" cupped bead cap, 8 mm
1 skinny bead cap, not cast 6 mm
1 donut-shaped bead, 3 mm*
1 soft headpin*
* = can be substituted with a fancy headpin (bali-style)
Tools: (bent) chain-nose pliers, round-nose pliers, cutter
Technique: wrapped loop/wire wrapping
1. To make the smaller bead cap fit over the larger, flatten it by pushing it down a bit. Place the cap on the table, "sepals" facing down, place your finger centred on the cap, and push down. Do not press too hard. It is better to push a little, check how well the cap fits on the larger bead cap and then press a bit more if not widened enough.
2. Assemble the parts as shown in the photo above.
3. Wrapped loop: Hold the headpin, flower down, and grab a hold with the tip of your chain-nose pliers as close to the bead caps as you can. Bend the pin 90 degrees to the side.
4. Grab the protruding part of the headpin with your round-nose pliers. For a small loop, keep the pin closer to the tip of the jaws. For a larger loop, keep the pin further in, towards the joint. Bend the headpin over the "upper" jaw of the pliers (left). When you have bent the pin beyond the point where a semi-circle is made, you reposition the pliers (right) -- this is the most important step in making a perfect loop. You may have to reposition the pliers several times. Complete the circle by bending the pin.
5. To make the wrap, fixate the loop by holding it with your chain-nose pliers in your non-dominant hand. Begin to wrap the wire around the "stem", starting close to the loop and working your way downwards. Wrap slowly for a neat and even wrap. I usually hold the end of the pin with another pair of chain-nose pliers for more force, even if it is not normally recommended. Keep wrapping the wire until it pushes against the bead caps -- you don't want the caps to be too loose as it will make the flower wobbly. You can use a bit of force, but don't overdo it as it risks deforming the loop.
6. Cut of the excess wire as close to the wrap as possible. Squeeze around the wrap with chain-nose pliers to push the end into the wrap. If you don't do this last step, the protruding bit of wire can scratch the skin or snag clothes so it is an important detail for a professional result.
7. Adjust the loop if it has become a bit skewed during the wrapping. Your charm is now finished.
This basic flower can be varied in many ways. Using fancy headpins, as above, is just one example. The choice of bead caps also have a great significance for the look of the finished flower. You will find a wide range of bead caps to choose from in the bead shops. Just make sure not to use cast bead caps as they often are a bit too chunky to make delicate flowers of -- and you can't manipulate them as was done with the smaller bead cap used in the copper anemones. Mix different colours and/or materials for greater contrasts.
Omit the second, smaller bead cap for a simpler flower without sepal. Use a tiny bead cap, preferrably "crown-shaped", inside the large bead cap for more complex stamens.
I use wrapped loops as they are more secure, but also to stabilize the bead caps and keep them from moving around as the wrap pushes on the caps. You can make simple loops if you prefer it. In that case, bend the headpin at an angle directly above the bead cap, with no gap as in step 3. Follow instructions for loop in step 4, but skip step 5.