Friday, December 7, 2012

Wire and Bead Ornaments




I wanted some new decorations for our Christmas Tree this year, but really didn't want to pay for any. I had inherited a bunch of miss-match glass beads from a friend and decided it was time to put them to good use. Enter 'free' wire and bead ornaments!


 
One of the best parts about making these was that my 5 year old could help! Stringing beads on wire is really cool when you're 5. Especially when you can pick any crazy beads you want. I used similar colors for mine (all reds, greens or white...) but David liked to pick the 'cool' beads. He said I was missing out and in the end he may have been right. His looked pretty cool, especially on the tree.
 
So here's how to make your own...

1.String about 2 1/2 feet of beads onto wire.  Don't cut the wire at this time. I used 24 gauge painted floral wire. (I tried 22 gauge too and it worked but not as well.) It helps to have some beads that are a little bit bigger. They keep the wire slipping and uncoiling when it's done.
 

 2. blow-up a balloon and tie off to the size you want. Mine were a bit bigger than your average glass ball ornament. Leave a 3-4 inch tail and start wraping the balloon, moving the beads down the wire and placing them as you go. When you cross the top were your tail is, twist the wire together and continue wraping another direction. (Don't wrap so tight that you squish the balloon, but make sure it's snug.)
 
 3. continue wrapping, moving the beads into place and twisting when you cross the top every so often.
 
 4. When all your beads are on the balloon, cut your wire with about 3 feet extra. Continue wrapping the wire around the balloon, lacing it through some of the larger beads. This helps everything stay in place and not uncoil when you pop the balloon.
 
 5. Finish wrapping and loop the wire up and down a couple times to make a hook at the top. (I like to loop the tail end under the whole mess of wire at the top and twist to hook them together. If it still feels a little flimsy you can cut another few feet of wire and wrap some more.
 
 6. Pop the balloon and you're done!
 
 
Now just hang them on your tree and watch them sparkle!
 
Merry Christmas!





16 comments:

  1. Those are really pretty. Maybe we'll try to make some today. Dad's gone for the weekend, so it may be a long couple days for me...this would keep the kids entertained.

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  2. Those are AWESOME!!! Totally love them and want to make some. :) I have a real thing for beads I think. :) Good job.

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  3. I am with Jamie! AWESOME indeed! Tried this with string but wasn't that crazy about the results but THIS - OMG very, very pretty! Definitely making some!! thank you!

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  4. Whoa, those are BEAUTIFUL! What a smart idea - thanks for the fabulous tutorial!

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  5. Definitely making some for next christmas. Loved the tutorial.

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  6. Good Job!! I Love these. They turned out fabulous. I am going to try to make some a little bigger to see if they work.

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  7. Don't try this with a water balloon because there is not enough flex. Also I messed up and tried 21 gauge wire.. Not a good combination. Live and learn. I will try again tomorrow :)

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  8. Hi, I love your wire bead ball ornaments, even your tutorial is very good. So I tried making some. I'm just not having any luck, the wire keeps slipping and moving on the balloon. What's the secret? Thanks Jana

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  9. Jana- it is a little bit tricky. Having some larger beads helped because the crossing wires couldn't slip over the bigger beads. Also try wrapping a little bit snug so the beads stick in the balloon a little. Wrapping the whole thing with extra wire at the end and lacing it through random wire and beads helps hold it all together. Don't feel bad, you're not alone. I had to start more than one over. Good Luck!

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  10. How much wire is needed for this project? I need to pre-cut the wire for the Scouts.

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  11. scouterdeb- i didn't measure the wire, but i would guess about 3 yards.

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  12. Hi, thanks for the tutorial. I absolutely love these ornaments. I have been trying them for three nights, with no luck--so disappointing!
    Any helpful hints? I can't get the wire to stay on the balloon, or the beads to stay in place.

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  13. Just tried this with my boys, can you tell the difference you found between wire gauge? We used 22 gauge gold wire, from a bead store. I'm wondering if the floral wire is maybe less slippy? (I know slippy isn't a word, but it should be!;) )

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  14. I think this would be great even for summer! Making some for summer yard decorating.

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  15. I think this would be great even for summer! Making some for summer yard decorating.

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  16. I loved it! Christmas Ornaments Fair in Henley are looking for wire ornaments for their show this year!

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