Information about beaded dragons, and other beading tips and resources.
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:
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!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!)
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
.Tips on wire dragons:www.artisticwire.com/
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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