A couple of weeks ago I made a beaded wreath, the kind of large, elaborate project that I'd always admired on Pinterest and in magazines, but felt a bit intimidated about creating myself.
In part, I hesitated because I thought I wouldn't have the patience for it. But I discovered that even though it takes several hours, it's the kind of project that doesn't require much concentration once you get started. You can drift in and out to work on it in between other activities. There's none of that "losing your place" aggravation that happens when I'm interrupted making jewelry.
This is a good project for kids if you supervise the use of the hot glue gun. I own a low-temperature glue gun, the kind that doesn't get quite as hot as the regular kind and would recommend that for kids.
You can find the instructions for Holiday Sparkle Wreath at the Halcraft website, along with lots of other holiday decor and gift wrap ideas using beads.
Tips for Making a Beaded Wreath
Before You Begin
- Wreath Size: The wreath I used is a 12-inch circle, the smallest available at my Michaels. I worried that it might be too small, but in the end I was glad I chose it. It's easy to get too ambitious, especially during the holidays. If this is your first wreath, start small. Next year's wreath can be bigger.
- Beads: Shop the bead sales and dig through your bead stash for beads. This project requires hundreds of beads. The good news is that the beads you think aren't quite perfect for your jewelry—too irregular in shape, a little off in color—can be just right for a mosaic type project.
- Colors: You can choose a narrow or wide range of colors. If you go for the colorful look like I did, you'll still want to choose a few main colors for most of the sliders (purple and gold) and for the small filler beads (mainly pearls and gold iris beads) to make the wreath appear unified.
- Display Ideas: Before you begin, decide how you're going to display your wreath. You could place it on a tabletop easel, prop it up on the mantel, or place it around a vase of flowers for a table centerpiece. If you're planning on hanging it on a door, decide if you can hang it on a wide hook or if you need to create a loop of ribbon for hanging on the back. If the latter, you'll want to create that loop while the wreath is still plain.
- Ribbon: Choose a neutral color of ribbon (ivory, gold, silver) if you're using colorful beads.
- Begin with the Sliders and Large Beads: Attach the largest sliders first, spacing them apart 1-3".
Remember to bead the sides of the wreath, not just the top.
Turn the wreath occasionally while you work, rather than always keeping the top in the same place. This will help ensure that all sides of the wreath are beaded in an interesting manner.
- Using Small Beads: When placing the filler beads in between the main large beads,
experiment with adding single beads or smaller 3-bead clusters. Those
smaller clusters can look like tiny flowers and have a big impact.
- Security Check: Occasionally lift the wreath up to make sure all the beads are firmly attached. The heavy metal sliders will require more glue than the tiny, lightweight pearls.
- Ignore the Back: Leave the back of the wreath unadorned, unless you are creating a reversible piece. Having a flat side will help the wreath hang properly against the wall and it will keep the cost down.
And finally . . .
- Have Fun: Put on some music, an audio book, or a podcast while you work. I found this project surprisingly meditative, especially once I was at the fill-in stage, just adding beads randomly wherever there was a blank space. It reminded me how fun it is to play with color without having to think about all the other decisions that making jewelry requires.