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How to Make a Standard Handflower
(& Beading Primer)
Article © MAIL User: Mari

In this tutorial, I will demonstrate how to make a beaded handflower commonly found at renaissance festivals.

Shown here:

Image: finishedhfon.jpg

Finished Japanese 6 in 1 Handflower

Tools needed (available online or at a local hobby store - like Hobby Lobby, Joanne Fabrics or Michael's):

1. Round nose pliers

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2. Wire cutters

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3. A strip of chainmail to fit around the wrist (optional)

Image: chainmail.jpg

Shown with 16 ga. 1/4" ID Brass Rings

4. Fifteen open chainmail rings

5. Chain for the ring of the handflower. This can be a simple one-in-one chain made from small gauge & diameter rings, or store-bought chain. I usually use the latter, curb chain from hobby lobby.

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Finger loop of gold-tone curb chain

6. Clasp. Most any handmade or store-bought clasp could be used, but I don't recommend barrel clasps or anything that requires two hands to close.

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Two hooks and a toggle clasp

7. Thin gauge wire for the beading. Either 22 or 24 gauge is recommended for this use. In my opinion and past experience, anything thicker than 22 gauge is too big and bulky looking on the piece, while a higher gauge than 24 gauge is too thin and likely to break for these size beads. I would recommend 22 gauge for 6mm beads, but in this example I'm using 24 gauge.

8. 30 6mm Beads. Despite some appearances, all beads are not created equal. You'll find many different grades of possible beads at bead and craft stores. A few of these are plastic, glass, gemstone or crystal.

Image: mybeads.jpg

The beads I've used in this example - 6mm
Siam AB Swarovski Crystals

The plastic beads are the cheapest of these that you will find, costing about $.50 for 100 to 200. They look and feel cheap but for the starting out bead-worker these will probably be the best choice.

Image: blackplastic.jpg

6mm Black Plastic Faceted Beads

The next step up from plastic beads are glass, usually Czech or Austrian. These are more expensive, typically around $.10 each for 6mm at a craft store. These look nice and are excellent for a more professional-looking piece.

Image: blackczech.jpg

6mm Black Czech Glass Faceted Beads

Crystals are another choice - these come in different grades. Czech would be the lowest grade crystal, then Austrian. Swarovski Austrian crystals are touted as being the best crystals available, although they are expensive (up to $.80 each at craft stores - so purchase online!). Crystals look elegant on a piece and as their name implies, they act as tiny prisms in the light, full of sparkles.

Image: blackcrystals.jpg

6mm Black Swarovski Crystals

Gemstones are often requested from customers. You can get a range of them at craft stores, hematite (silvery-grey) is probably the most popular. These aren't faceted beads (meaning they will be smooth and round).

Image: hematite.jpg

6mm Hematite Beads

There are also some other neat types of beads available at craft stores, one of my favorite other ones would be the fiber-optic, or cat's eye kind. These beads look like they have a glowing line through the middle.

Image: fiberoptic.jpg

6mm Black/Grey Fiberoptic Beads

OK, now on to making the piece!
1. First of all, you will need to cut the wire pieces until you find a size suitable for the beads. This a trial and error process. Just make a gander at a size that you think will be able to fit two loops and the bead. I usually cut it around 7/8". Be sure you cut two at the exact same size so in case you find a good size, you'll have a second one to use as the 'default' size.

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2. Using your round nose pliers, loop one end of the wire piece around. You'll want to make sure that the loop is large enough around so the chainmail ring will fit in it.

Image: bentwire.jpg

I also press the loop over with my nails so it looks a bit more professional, like this:

Image: startwire.jpg

3. Slip the bead on to the wire.

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4. Now loop the other end around, hopefully making it the same size as the other loop. If you're still trying to find a good wire size, this is where you'll realize if you screwed up. If so, throw that piece away, go back to number 1 and adjust your next pieces accordingly.

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5. Once you found that good size, keep that piece of wire prized. Now you'll need to cut over 30 pieces that are exactly the same size as that one. Notice I bolded the word 'exactly'. This is because you can't be over a hair off or the entire piece will look like total crap and you may as well end your life now! OK, sorry about my bad attempt at humor, but if you have too many beaded pieces that aren't the exact size, the handflower just won't look as pretty. Now you'll have to repeat numbers 2-4 until you have 30 beaded pieces.

Image: finishedbeads.jpg

6. Done making the beaded pieces? Good. This is the fun part - but you'll need to have a picture of a handflower in front of you or you will go batty. Now we're going to place the beads on the chainmail rings and make it into the beaded triangle. You can start this by either doing the middle or the sides. I usually just try to make one side by looking at a corner and then adding the number of beaded pieces needed to that corner. It's hard to explain, you can figure it out much better by just looking at a picture.

Image: almostfinishedtriangle.jpg

7. Once you're done with the triangle you can attach the chainmail strip to the handflower (if you have one). You can do this in any way that looks best - by attaching the rings in the triangle directly to the chainmail strip or by using smaller rings that attach the two together.

8. The same goes for the chain, if you are using store bought chain, you'll probably need to use jump rings (I use 4mm) to attach the chain to the chainmail ring. If you're using a handmade chain, you'll probably be able to just attach the chain directly to the chainmail ring.

9. Now just attach the clasp to the chainmail (or the corner of the triangle) and you are completely finished!

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One is the Four in One Beaded Handflower, using 20 beads instead of 30.

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Another variation is made with smaller 4mm Beads and 4mm Jump rings as the

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