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On Beading...

Mon Jul 5, 2010, 10:23 PM
Dragon Colors by Line-of-Birds

Information about beaded dragons, and other beading tips and resources.
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I guess I really should have titled this - "On Beading", but when I wrote it I was only thinking of the dragons.

I updated to give you some info about using wire instead of thread and needle.

I've been browsing the beaded dragons created by other fans of ChimeraDragonfang using the tutorial she wrote: Bead Dragon Instructions by ChimeraDragonfang
I noticed that many others attempting the dragons are struggling, due mostly to their choice in tools and materials. Instead of just helping one at a time I thought I'd share some of my beady knowledge and resources here!
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First a note on suppliers:
I've recommended ordering from Fire Mountain Gems because I've found their customer service and prices to be excellent, and their selection is VAST, though there are a few essential they don't carry. Shipwreck Beads does a great job as well, but I don't see Japanese seed beads on their site.

I've worked with everything from fishing line (do NOT be tempted to use fishing line, it is designed to deteriorate over time, I can't count how many times I've been hired to repair work that fell apart because of this) to dental floss. Living in bush Alaska limited my resources for years. It's so great to be able to order from online catalogs now, I wish I'd had that ability then- I'd have been doing a lot more beading. Back then we only had an ancient tattered copy of a black and white catalog from Grey Owl Indian Crafts to order from. I just found them again on the internet. It's good to know some things endure.

I do buy a lot of my materials locally. Alaska has some great bead stores, like Aurora Beads in Wasilla, (no web site yet)   Black Elk Leather (no online catalog yet, though they do have an extensive mail order catalog), and Alaska Bead Company (Their site is new and growing fast), in Anchorage, and Pristine's Beads  - in Fairbanks, who has the best online bead catalog I've found, so far, in Alaska. they also are the only suppliers I know of online who carry the extremely tiny and very rare antique seeds in sizes as small as 24!!! (they are so fine they look like sand!)

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All of the materials listed below can be ordered through any supplier inexpensively. It should cost less than 20 dollars to get you started, shipping included, with enough supplies to make several dragons - unless you get hooked on collecting beads! Keep in mind that the fancier finishes like metallics and lusters tend to be quite a bit more expensive, though they look great on a dragon!
BEWARE, addiction to bead collecting is a REAL danger. I will admit am an addict. Once you start perusing the online catalogs, all hope of avoiding the "Need For Beads" may be lost.

If this is your first time working with beads, I highly recommend making a big dragon out of plastic pony beads which you can find in most department stores. It is great practice, and will build your confidence greatly! Construction will be much simpler, and you can use yarn or heavy thread with sewing or embroidery needles, or craft wire so your dragon can be poseable.

Materials and tools I recommend for creating beaded dragons with thread:

High quality Japanese seed beads are the best by far, as the holes are disproportionately large. Try Matsuno size 6s or size 8s to start with, or Dyna Mites size 11s if you're brave (I do NOT recommend using Delica beads for dragons, as the squared off cylindrical shape doesn't suit the dragon bodies well at all).
Nymo brand thread which is specifically designed for beading will certainly help you in your struggles - it is a very strong synthetic, so you can trust even the very thin stuff. Size "B" should work fine for size 6 or 8 seed beads even with the multiple passes needed in making the dragons. If you plan to try size 11 beads, I would recommend using a size 0 or 00 Nymo thread.
Sliding your thread through beeswax helps keep it from tangling, preserves it, helps it slide through beads, and also makes a big difference in threading those tiny beading needles (paraffin wax or blends won't work, as they don't stick to the thread).
Beading needles are so thin they will drastically decrease your bead breakage. Try  this assortment.
I use size twelve sharps (they're very short) for almost all of my beading, and they should work for even the size eleven beads, but tend to buy them locally. Unfortunately Fire Mountain doesn't carry them at this time, though Shipwreck Beads does here.

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Tips on wire dragons:www.artisticwire.com/

Suppliers;
Artistic Wire is the brand I have come to prefer, and they have their OWN webstore with 28 gauge wire here: 28 gauge
and here: 28 gauge Silver Platedw

And 26 gauge here: 26 gauge
and here: 26 gauge Silver Plated

For the size eight seed bead dragons I use 28 gauge craft wire, mostly in black & silver, with some gold (colored) or dark green.
For size six seed beads, I use 26 gauge wire. I can make them with 24 gauge, and love the way they pose with it, but it's very hard to finish the wing spikes the way I make them with wire that heavy. The holes on Czech sixes are just way too small, and most of my solid colored sixes are Czechoslovakian. I have enough size sixes that are Japanese made now to try making a 24 gauge dragon in my own style with them. I'll post pictures if it works out OK.


I am sure I will edit this as more tips come to me, but this information should help you all a bunch for now!

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Add a Comment:
 
:icondragonqueen101271:
DRAGONQUEEN101271 Featured By Owner Oct 22, 2011
I make these smaller they are seed bead and wire, they are earrings or you can put them on a chain for a necklace too alot of work goes in to my dragons and I am looking for different colors of beads. Any ideas ?
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:iconline-of-birds:
Line-of-Birds Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2011  Hobbyist Photographer
What size beads do you use? My dragons are usually made from size 8 beads.
There are a lot of great suppliers out there. Have you tried Fire Mountain? They've got a pretty nice range of colors in many sizes.
Reply
:icondragonqueen101271:
DRAGONQUEEN101271 Featured By Owner Nov 1, 2011
Seed bead very small
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:iconline-of-birds:
Line-of-Birds Featured By Owner Nov 3, 2011  Hobbyist Photographer
LOL - Most seed beads are very small. I have some so tiny they look like dust. They only go as big as Pony beads, which are usually size 3 or 4.
The most commonly used sizes are 10 or 11. Elevens are normally only available in bead specialty stores, though some general craft stores carry them. Most all purpose craft stores carry size tens. Where did you purchase yours? If you can upload a photo with, say a dime or a penny next to them, I think I could probably tell what size they are or at least give a close estimate.
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:icondoglate:
doglate Featured By Owner Mar 14, 2011  Student General Artist
Soooooo how do you make the dragon thingies?
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:iconline-of-birds:
Line-of-Birds Featured By Owner Mar 14, 2011  Hobbyist Photographer
OH - Thank you for reminding me to include a link to the beaded dragon tutorial by =ChimeraDragonfang in my "Dragon Journal"!!!
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:icondoglate:
doglate Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2011  Student General Artist
lol ;P
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:iconindustrial-pop:
Industrial-Pop Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2011  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Revised tut! Thanks for the stock image :) [link]
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:iconindustrial-pop:
Industrial-Pop Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2011  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
I'm batting 1000 today...*sigh* 3rd times the charm tho right? [link]
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:iconindustrial-pop:
Industrial-Pop Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2011  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
oops sry that was meant for CFD.... lolz but still...I hope this one is easy to understand :)
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:iconline-of-birds:
Line-of-Birds Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2011  Hobbyist Photographer
LOL I was wondering if I had forgotten posting a stock image... :laughing:
Reply
:iconindustrial-pop:
Industrial-Pop Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2011  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
[link] This is a link to a tut I made for making the wings with wire. I STRONGLY recommend 32G wire, but 28 works IF you use size 6 or bigger beads.
Reply
:iconline-of-birds:
Line-of-Birds Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2011  Hobbyist Photographer
Thank you for sharing this!
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:iconindustrial-pop:
Industrial-Pop Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2011  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
I'm always willing to promote such an inspirational artist!!
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:iconline-of-birds:
Line-of-Birds Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2011  Hobbyist Photographer
LOL - I meant thank you for sharing YOUR tutorial!!!
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:icondavincipoppalag:
davincipoppalag Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
Nice to offer them help=D
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:iconline-of-birds:
Line-of-Birds Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2010  Hobbyist Photographer
I used to teach bead work classes. LOVED it, but had to give it up when I developed carpal tunnel syndrome... :(
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:icondavincipoppalag:
davincipoppalag Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
Always somethin gettin in the way of stuff we love ain' t there!
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:iconline-of-birds:
Line-of-Birds Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2010  Hobbyist Photographer
Sigh it sure does seem that way sometimes. At least I can handle doing bead work again.
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:iconline-of-birds:
Line-of-Birds Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2010  Hobbyist Photographer
Me TOO!!!
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:icondavincipoppalag:
davincipoppalag Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
Glad you can!
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:iconmonkeybananafling:
monkeybananafling Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2010  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Where do you get wire? Could I get it on amazon or ebay? I use the same kind of beads as in the tutorial, btw.
Reply
:iconline-of-birds:
Line-of-Birds Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2010  Hobbyist Photographer
I actually by a lot of it locally, but try [link] - Artistic Wire is the brand I use!
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:iconmonkeybananafling:
monkeybananafling Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2010  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
What stores?
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:iconline-of-birds:
Line-of-Birds Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2010  Hobbyist Photographer
Locally? I usually buy at Aurora Bead and Crafts, in Wasilla, or Joann's Fabric for basics, and in Anchorage I shop at Black Elk Leather and Beads, or Alaska Bead Company - they do have a website and I think they'll have their wire available to order from their webstore by now.
I think I'll probably be trying the selection here [link] though, since I won't have to worry as much about them being out of stock on colors (crosses fingers) as happens often when I buy locally.
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:iconmonkeybananafling:
monkeybananafling Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2010  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Ok, thanks!
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:iconline-of-birds:
Line-of-Birds Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2010  Hobbyist Photographer
You're welcome!!! Happy beading!
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:iconmonkeybananafling:
monkeybananafling Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2010  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
:iconkermityayplz:
Reply
:iconline-of-birds:
Line-of-Birds Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2010  Hobbyist Photographer
:rofl:
Reply
(1 Reply)
:iconindustrial-pop:
Industrial-Pop Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2010  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Omigosh! Thanks so much! As I stated in a comment, I'm having issues with the body being too floppy and the wings being too heavy with thread, but I can't weave the wings with the wire I have currently. Attaching the wings is a pain all it's own. Thankyouthankyouthankyou! This post will definitely be a great big help!
Reply
:iconline-of-birds:
Line-of-Birds Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2010  Hobbyist Photographer
Let me know how it goes!
Reply
:iconindustrial-pop:
Industrial-Pop Featured By Owner May 9, 2010  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
If I make them with wire, can I follow ChimeraDragonFang's pattern directly, or do I need to play with it and kind of build my own pattern? Right now I have 24 and 26 gauge wire but only size 8 beads to work with. Suggestions?
Reply
:iconline-of-birds:
Line-of-Birds Featured By Owner May 10, 2010  Hobbyist Photographer
You won't be able to reinforce your joints - like the wings and legs because the 26g is heavier. It will work though, with the size 8 beads, especially if they're Japanese beads, since the holes are bigger and more uniform than most.
Chimera's instructions call for a lot of weaving that is unnecessary for wire dragons. You'll probably only be able to go through the weaving once, because the wire will fit only two or three times in a bead before you run out of room. It's OK though, because the nature of the wire is to hold it's shape, which is what the re-weaving on a thread dragon accomplishes.
I would leave out details such as the points I put on my wings, and the spade tail, as those things call for a lot of extra weaving. Claws shouldn't pose a problem though.
Remember when you're creating your dragon that you will need room when you're finished, to weave the ends of the wire back in to hide them, and that you will need room in the body to attach both wings and then hide the ends of THOSE wires as well. This substitutes for tying off the thread ends.
I use 28 gauge to build my dragons, because it is fine enough to weave in those details, usually. Sometimes I still run into problems. I also reweave much like Chimera does though, to strengthen the fine wire, or my dragons are too limp. I just don't re-weave as much.
Good luck and keep the questions coming! I love to help.
Reply
:iconindustrial-pop:
Industrial-Pop Featured By Owner May 10, 2010  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Thanks so much! MOST of my issues are the result of a learning disability due to Aspergers Syndrome, IE, I just can't comprehend unless I'm actually shown. I guess what I am specifically trying to figure out is which steps in CDF's tutorial I NEED to follow with wire, and which to leave OUT. I mostly need help with the wings, as I have just last night designed my own new method for the body. It will be more full, truly 3D (I hope). I plan on crediting you and her in my finished work, b/c without you both, it would not have been possible! BTW, one other request if it's OK, will you please submit your "dragon beading FAQ" journal entry as a deviation so that I can fave it? It REALLY helps! Thanks again :D
Reply
:iconline-of-birds:
Line-of-Birds Featured By Owner May 10, 2010  Hobbyist Photographer
I will rewrite the FAQ and submit it - And thank you ahead of time for the +fav LOL!!!
The best way to describe the method I use for my wings is that I build them starting at the "point" of the "fan", and then increase by adding another bead to each web section of the wings as I fan out. I also anchor each web spine by going through the previous row. That's the best I can describe it without actually being in the process of creating one.
I hope it helps!
I'll see if I can find the time to photograph and write up a wire tutorial as well. Summer is a very busy time for me so it might take a little while to finish.
Reply
:iconindustrial-pop:
Industrial-Pop Featured By Owner May 10, 2010  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
NP! I just wanna share the wealth ;) Take your time, I appreciate every bit of help you have already offered!! Here is a page I found, that inspired my new design for the bodies..... This isn't my work.

[link]
Reply
:iconline-of-birds:
Line-of-Birds Featured By Owner May 13, 2010  Hobbyist Photographer
Can't wait to see the results!
Reply
:iconekuhikaarme:
Ekuhikaarme Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
agh beading is so complex when you say all that x.x I say just gather some beads and try to fit string through it. if it can't fit, get thinner string ._.
for those of us rookies anyway lol.
I need to get me some beads and strings..... ._.
Reply
:iconline-of-birds:
Line-of-Birds Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2009  Hobbyist Photographer
LOL Try ebay, usually some pretty good deals on there, from folks who've decided they don't have the patience for it after all...
Reply
:iconekuhikaarme:
Ekuhikaarme Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
it isn't the patience.
I have a good bit of that when it comes to beads, it's just your terminology really lost me ^^; I never heard most the stuff you mentioned...is why I had said what I did
Reply
:iconline-of-birds:
Line-of-Birds Featured By Owner Aug 11, 2009  Hobbyist Photographer
Oh no! I was NOT implying that you didn't have the patience, I am so sorry if it sounded like I was! I meant some of the folks who sell their stuff on Ebay - not you! I've found some great bargains from people who told me exactly that.

As far as my journal goes, your confusion is completely understandable. I taught beadwork for a long time, but it's been a while since I did, so I forget that others may not have heard all of these terms. My students always reminded me. I guess I'm fluent in beadgeek - lol!

Please, would you tell me what I should "translate"? I'd appreciate it. I want anyone who's interested in bead weaving to easily understand, but I don't want it so over worded that it bores an advanced beader. My problem is finding that balance - that's where your perspective could really help!
Reply
:iconekuhikaarme:
Ekuhikaarme Featured By Owner Aug 11, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
describe the beads/give google links to the beads in question?
same for the string? or take photos of them next to other objects/etc?

sorry if I came off harsh, I get easily frustrated sometimes with people and it isn't your fault D:

I never knew there were such terms for beads o_O I always thought it was just kid-folly lol |D nothing too serious. but whoa am I wrong o.o;;

I know a few tricks (like the old-school bead lizards) but I was looking into it more and found this and ...*headdesk* good gawd. ._. so yea, hope I helped you D:
Reply
:iconline-of-birds:
Line-of-Birds Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2009  Hobbyist Photographer
:laughing:
No worries. Thanks for the "critique"!
Reply
:iconekuhikaarme:
Ekuhikaarme Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
hahah no prob :D
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:icondavincipoppalag:
davincipoppalag Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
I got an ! in front of mine..its a stupid April fool thing
Reply
:iconline-of-birds:
Line-of-Birds Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2009  Hobbyist Photographer
I guess mine IS a snowman.
Yours means "you're banned", lol.
Reply
:icondavincipoppalag:
davincipoppalag Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
I know!
Reply
:iconline-of-birds:
Line-of-Birds Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2009  Hobbyist Photographer
Too funny!
Reply
:icondavincipoppalag:
davincipoppalag Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
Hehehhe
Reply
:iconanabiyeni:
Anabiyeni Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2009  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Thanks for keeping me posted. I used to use beading wire all the time, but had trouble with holes filling too soon, especially with size 11 beads, which I prefer (Matsuno of course).

Later, I switched to beading thread (don't know what kind, I bought it on a whim at a bead store in Wisconsin and love it, but it's unlabelled) and just put wire in the parts I wanted to be poseable.

Now that I've been reunited with my Matsunos, I will try making a dragon from them and get back to you, but it may take a while.

For buying beads, I find eBay to have good deals if you know exactly what you are looking for. I agree beads are addictive; I have shelves and tins full of them.

Good wishes to your friend.
Reply
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July 5, 2010
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