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July 5, 2010
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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 ?
Reply
: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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