Well my friends, another year has come and gone. If you remember way back in January, I started a new personal challenge to make one French Beaded flower or leaf every day, which would all then be combined into a wreath. I’ve been posting update pictures every month (or so), so I won’t re-post all of those here. But if you want to recap, I do have a page dedicated to my 2018 One-A-Day Project in my portfolio where you can view all of the pictures.
Here is a picture of the finished wreath! It measures 18 inches (~ 46 cm) wide and weighs 6 lbs.
And here is a little slideshow of closeups on the different color sections.
This was such a fun project. At the start of the month I would gather all the beads in the colors I was using and put them in a box along with other types of beads or crystals that I was using for flower centers, and the wire. The box was left near my work station (aka my couch), and whenever I sat down to work on my big project, I would quickly make my daily piece. That made it easy for me to remember to do it. Though I found the hardest part was making just one piece daily, so this project taught me patience.
I had so much fun experimenting with weird ways to use French Beading techniques. I’ll be sharing at least one of those experiments soon. For the last several months that I’ve been making leaves I did take it easy and just made something simple, but that’s only because they’ve been busy months.
I am in love with this wreath. Each piece is a day of my life. Some days have bigger and brighter flowers, while other have rushed simple flowers. Each flower has a story of it’s own to tell. Some where made with my daughter sitting right beside me, watching, and usually grabbing everything. Others were made while I was sitting there crying over some something or other that happened that day. Some of these flowers watched the same movies I watched while building them. Others were made while I sat in the parking lot at school waiting to pick up my two older kids from school. Some days didn’t quite turn out like I planned, but isn’t that exactly how life is? Look at the whole picture! Even if some flowers are smaller and less glorious, or if they had sad stories instead of happy ones, they still add to the whole story.
I know there were several of you who were following along with me with the colors, or who had started other types of one-a-day projects. If you finished yours, I would love to see it!
What I Learned
I want my blog to be a place of learning, just as much as a place of me sharing pictures of the cool stuff I make. So I thought it would be helpful for me to share some of the things I’ve learned, the mistakes I made, and what I would change if I remade it.
First, I didn’t go into this project with much of a plan. In some ways that was a good thing because it left the doors of creativity wide open, but it caused problems in other ways. For example, I may have had a similar number of flowers in each color, but the flowers were all different sizes, which means that each color may or may not take up the same amount of space. So while making leaves I had to assess how much space I had, and how much more space I needed the leaves to take up. Sometimes I had to make more flowers instead of leaves to help fill up space, but oh well. I didn’t really know how big this piece was going to be until after I had a couple sections finished. After mashing up the pieces together in sections I estimated how long each color section would be, and was able to calculate the finished size, and I was pretty close.
My second lesson is more of a lesson that I’ve re-learned. Normally I don’t like to assemble pieces like this until I have all the pieces made. That way I can make a layout and get the spacing right. I made an exception this time because each section took around 2 hours to assemble, and I really wanted a finished wreath at the end of the year, not a 14 hour assembly session. So I took a risk and started adding sections to the wreath as soon as I had the leaves for that color finished. I thought I’d done a pretty decent job measuring and marking boundaries for where each color needed to fit, but apparently I didn’t. If you look at the wreath, the yellow and blue sections look shorter than the others. That’s because they are. I squished my flowers too closely together, coupled with my errors in measurement, and voila. Some sections are shorter and some are longer. This caused some problems with the last section (pink). I wasn’t quite certain I’d be able to cover the space I had left. I did have to space those flowers out a little more than the others, and adding in those last pieces made me really nervous. I still had to do some creative bending of some of the flowers to get full coverage, but there was no way in heck I was going to remove them all the way back to the yellow section to even it all out. So that was just an error I accepted.
Third… some of my reds are too dark. This was the first section I made, before I had a good idea of what the rest was going to look like. And even though I used darker shades of each color in those sections, the red just looks so much darker and feels unbalanced compared to the rest. So if I had planned more ahead and picked out colors in each section before starting anything, I might have foreseen that issue.
The last lesson is one about colors and how I arranged them. If I were to do this again, I would make sure to use more “between” shades and specifically place them between the two different colors. The red and orange blend somewhat together, and the blue and purple. But I feel like the other sections could use a little more of the between colors to make a softer transition between colors. So some yellow-green and some more blue-green, and some darker pinkish reds… I did have a little bit of the between colors, but I wish I’d done more of them.
So, one day I’ll recreate this with all of my improvements. But even with all it’s imperfections, I still love my Rainbow Wreath! The point of this project wasn’t to plan ahead and make something perfect. I wanted it to be a crazy mix, and that’s exactly what I got. So, keeping all things in mind, I consider this to be a successful project. It will hang proudly on my wall for years and years to come.
I’ve already had a few people ask about how I assembled the wreath, so I took a couple pictures while working on the pink section to share with you.
The steps themselves are fairly simple in theory, but a pain while working.
- I wrapped the stems on each flower and leaf with floral tape, then used more floral tape to wrap them into bunches like this one. Each section had somewhere around 10 bunches.
2. I pre-wrapped the frame with floral tape. This makes the surface of the wire frame less slippery so the wire I used to assemble held more firm. I use this same method with most of my flowers.
3. I cut a length of 28 gauge (.315 mm) wire and wired one bunch made in step 1 to one of the frame wires. The wrapping must be tight! The bunch should not wiggle or move at all.
4. And then I covered over the same section again with floral tape to cover the wire.
5. Repeat over and over and over for each little bunch until the section is finished.
Sounds easy, but it’s kind of a pain to wrap floral tape and wire between each of those wires. Very time consuming. But also very secure!
2019 One-A-Day Project
I had so much fun with the last one that I’ve decided to do another one in 2019. My first idea was to do another project like my wreath with random flowers, but with just shades of white and blue to make a chandelier (or two if it got too big). But, then Christmas came around and I think we all know how much I love Christmas. So, instead I’m making a huge Christmas wreath. One piece at a time.
I’m going to do this one a little differently though. I won’t have a specific theme for each month, I’ll just keep going until I have enough of what I’m making to finish the number I think I need. But I might have to add in more later on… There will be big blue poinsettias with gold trim, pine cones, pine needles, holly, a big giant bow, other kinds of berries… silvery leaves… I’m so excited! Below I’ve pictured the first colors I’ll be working with to make the new Poinsettias – some pretty metallic blue Toho beads and some Czech metallic gold beads. Maybe the pale greens will be part of the centers? I’m not 100% sure how I’m going to do the centers on the Poinsettias, but I do know that I want them more decorative than realistic as I’ve done with my previous poinsettias. Something sparkly. So that’s why those other gold beads are in the picture. Anyway, the poinsettias will be the main focus of the Christmas wreath, so I figured I should start with those to get a better idea of the wreath as a whole. Then from there we’ll just see where the journey takes me! Hopefully it will turn out just as nicely as the Rainbow Wreath.
I hope the New Year brings all of you health, happiness, prosperity – and lots of beading. 🙂