Saturday, December 3, 2011

DIY SNOWFLAKES: Easy, Solder-Free, Wire & Beads


It's December, and I can't get Christmas off my mind!  Everywhere I drive or walk, every time I turn the radio on, or even turn around in my own house, there are Christmas decorations!  My household is still fairly young, and we don't have that many decorations yet, so I always feel there is room for more around the holidays.

This year I decided to make some of my own beaded snowflakes to add to our collection for several reasons:

     1) My husband hates glitter.  Almost all snowflakes in stores have glitter galore!

     2) We, like most families, need to watch our finances and making snowflake ornaments (depending on  your materials) is cheaper.

     3) I enjoy making things and always like designing new patterns!

     4) I have tons of beads and wire already at home - just waiting to be turned into something awesome!

     5) I get exactly (well, maybe not exactly....) what I want when I make my own decorations!

     6) I love sharing!  What better tutorial to share around the holidays than how to make your own decorations for less?!?!?  These snowflakes are quick and easy to make - they can decorate trees, garlands, chandeliers, windows - you name it!  They also make nice additions to Christmas gift packages or as stocking stuffers!  you can even make them in your favorite sports team's colors!

So where did I start?  The awesome internet, of course!  I searched for patterns that were already out there, I admit.  I was looking for inspiration!  I found inspiration, but not a pattern I really liked.  Many beaded snowflake patterns ask for a premade wire armature that you just fill with beads.  I wasn't interested in that.

Next were patterns that required the use of a soldering iron and solder - I have access to these but didn't really want to fiddle with solder......Finally, ALL patterns were of the spoke variety (upper right snowflake in the image below) - where the snowflake arms radiate outwards from a center point.  These are pretty, but I was looking for something more inspired....and more accurate.  Snowflakes generally have 6 sides because of the shape of the water molecule - so I wanted mine to have 6 sides/arms too!

My First Snowflakes!

Above are my first attempts - these are made from antique chandelier beads.  I believe they are faceted glass instead of crystal, but don't really know for sure!  I was given the bunch by an aunt several years ago.  The largest snowflake (upper left) was my 1st.  It's pretty, but takes over an hour to make and I was looking for something a little quicker - I have plenty of time-consuming projects already on my plate!  The small ones were next, followed by my version of a spoke snowflake (upper right), and finally by the lower left one that is fully enclosed. 

After playing around with beads and wire for a couple days, I had "perfected" a simple, quick, and pretty snowflake pattern!  I was ready to make a bunch of snowflakes based primarily on one pattern, with some variations as I went along.  Here are some of my snowflakes made using the pattern provided here:

My 1st (repeatable) Snowflake Pattern!

And without further ado, here the pattern is for you to also enjoy!  Try other beads, other colors, and definitely other bead combinations to spice up your own snowflake collection with variety and fun!

You will probably need to download the above image/directions in order to see the images and read the directions.  Please feel free to distribute this pattern to friends and family - but DO NOT duplicate with the intent to sell.  If I wanted to see this pattern sold, I could do it myself!  I'd also appreciate it if you'd credit me for the design, should anyone ask.  Thank you so much for understanding and being respectful of me and my designs - I try to do the same for every other artist and crafter out there!

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy Creating Everyone!
~PZ

4 comments:

  1. These are super fun! Thanks for sharing!!!

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