I finally finished my November project! If you remember from my last post I was working on an arrangement of French Beaded Paperwhites. I actually grew some paperwhites to study them. These flowers are traditionally grown indoors around the holidays, so it was easy to find some bulbs at a local nursery. After reading several sources for how to grow them, I forced them in some pebbles. There were two varieties, one a normal single variety, and the other was a double variety with a more creamy color. My normal ones didn’t do as well as the doubles. Only one bulb flowered, but only after the leaves died, so I didn’t get very good pictures of them. 🙁 It was a little disappointing because all of these experts said that forcing Paperwhites was fool-proof. I guess they haven’t met me. But oh well. They smell terrible anyways. I got enough information from the plant to be able to recreate them.
It took longer to finish than I anticipated. Mostly because it required some decisions to be made but I wasn’t getting enough sleep to make good decisions (toddlers are crazy people). The most trouble I had was with the leaves and trying to decide how to best attach them and give them enough support. They aren’t very heavy, but they are long – the longest is 12 inches. However, the leaves are very thin and both sides of the leaves are visible in the finished arrangement, so adding in support wires would be very obvious. I almost used a thin steel stem wire with size 8 seed beads for the basic row, but they looked too chunky. Then I considered wrapping a stem wire with embroidery floss for the basic row, but when I did that for my Amaryllis, people didn’t like the idea, so I stuck with just beads to provide a design that would be enjoyable. But I did use 22 gauge Zebra Wire from Fire Mountain Gems. I find this brand of 22 gauge wire to be a little stiffer than other brands.
There were other difficult decisions that I had to make, but I won’t go into detail on those here. Just know that there was a great deal of trial and error, and much thought and study going into this design.
I will warn you that I used size 15 beads for the flowers on mine. Not everyone likes to work with the smaller beads. They just look more sweet and delicate for tiny flowers. I haven’t tested it, but I do believe you could switch to size 11 without much difficulty. The flowers would be a little larger, but some paperwhites do have larger flowers. I would recommend still using 26 gauge wire for the flowers though, as 24 gauge will make the stems thicker.
Here are my finished French Beaded Paperwhites! The finished arrangement is almost 20 inches tall (including the pot).
The pattern is also now available!
It feels so nice to be able to finally finish something. Up next I’m making some Roses (I just have leaves left to make), and I’ll be finishing up the last of my 2018 One-A-Day Project. Hopefully 2018 will end on the right track.
2 thoughts on “French Beaded Paperwhites”
I so much enjoy your newsletters. Your work is soooooooooo beautiful & mine isn’t. Yet, I scold myself not to get discouraged for I have made progress in my skills. Your work inspires me to keep trying. I was so glad all my friends & family were busy elsewhere & I was glad they would be away & I could have 2 whole weeks of un-interrupted beading!!! Nope, didn’t work out. Their plans failed so they were back in town & wanting to go here & there & do things with them. I refused as many as I safely could (friends & family need attention just like a garden or the whole thing goes to weeds & stickers)Now I’m sorely tempted not to answer my phone for a couple of weeks. Thank you, Lauren, for all the beauty you create & make it possible for folks like me to create such beauty, too. May 2019 be so very good to you.
Hello Kathleen! Thank you very much! I’m sorry you weren’t able to find more time to practice your french beading skills. Darn friends and family! Don’t get discouraged. It takes time, and with enough practice you’ll get where you want to be. Enjoy the journey! And keep your early flowers! You’ll want them later.
Happy New Year!