French Beading Glossary

I’m working on a collection of terms used in French Beading. So I’ve created this glossary as an easy reference for techniques with a short description of the terms, abbreviations (if any), and which of my tutorials teach them. 

A

  • Add-on Techniques – Techniques that cannot be used alone. They must be added on top of a base technique. Example: Scallops are added on top of a Basic Frame or Continuous Wraparound Loop base.
  • Antique Venetian Frame – This is a rarely used technique that involves beginning with an outer frame of beads, with inner rows added inside the frame. Free tutorial here. 

B

  • Base Techniques – A technique that can be used by itself, or that can be used as a base for add-on techniques. 
  • Basic Frame – A base technique abbreviated as BF. The most commonly used French Beading technique. The Basic Frame begins with a center row called the Basic Row. Free Basic Frame tutorial
  • Basic Row – The center row in a Basic Frame. Sometimes abbreviated as BR, and often referred to as just “the basic”. When counting rows, this is row number 1, and all following rows will wrap around it. See my lesson on the Basic Frame. 
  • Bead Spinner – A special tool used to string loose beads onto wire. Learn about bead spinners on my blog. 
  • Beehive Basic Frame – Abbreviated as BBF, and sometimes just referred to as “beehive”. It is a modification of the Basic Frame that creates dome or cupped shapes by bending the top and bottom wires of the frame backward or forward. Free Beehive tutorial
  • Bottom Wire – This is the wire below the Basic Row on a Basic Frame, or the starting loop on a Continuous Wraparound Loop or Continuous Cross-over Loop. See my lesson on the Basic Frame. 

C

  • Continuous – Whenever you see this word paired with a technique it refers to making multiple petals/sepals/leaves on the same length of wire. You make one, and then continue on making more. 
  • Continuous Basic Frame – A base technique abbreviated as CBF. This technique was invented by myself (Lauren Harpster) and allows for creating multiple Basic Frame pieces all made on the same wire. Free Continuous Basic Frame tutorial
  • Continuous Cross-over Loops – A base technique abbreviated as CCL. It is sometimes referred to as just Cross-over loops. It is a series of loops made from a starting loop and another loop crossing over the top of the starting loop. Can be 4 rows or 6 rows (Double Crossover). Free CCL Tutorial.  
  • Continuous Loops – A base technique abbreviated as CL. A series of simple loops all made on the same wire. Free CL tutorial. 
  • Copper Core Wire – Craft wire made from copper, often with a colored coating. This is the wire used to make the actual flower components. Learn all about the wire used to make French Beaded Flowers in my lesson on Materials and Supplies. 

D

  • Double Cross-over – A rare variation of the Cross-over loop technique where rows of beads cross over the starting loop twice instead of just once. 

E

  • Extensions – An add-on technique that involves adding extra beads to the top or bottom wire after rows have already been added around the original starting loop or basic row. The effect is an elongated tip. Free Extensions tutorial

F

  • Filigree – This is a relatively new technique adaptation that allows for making leaves and petals that resemble the openness of filigree carvings and metalwork. Taught in my Christmas Collection book. 
  • Flossing the Stem – This refers to wrapping flower stems with embroidery floss for a nicer-looking finish. Free tutorial here.
  • French Beading – The term used to describe a specific method of beading that is usually used to make flowers out of seed beads and wire. It is called French Beading because the method may have been developed in France, and because of the popularity of Immortelles, which were mostly made in France. Also called French Flower Beading or French Beaded Flowers. 
  • Fringe – The Fringe technique refers to two different styles of making fringe-like flower pieces, such as stamen. One style is a variation of the Continuous Loop technique, that has a longer twisted wire stem below a bead or loop of beads. The second is the wire-back fringe, which involves feeding the wire through beads twice to make a single column of beads. Free Fringe tutorial

H

  • Hank – A bundle of threads strung with beads. A full sized hank of Czech seed beads is made up of 12x 20 inch long strands of beads and contains somewhere between 30 and 40 grams of beads, depending on the finish and cut of the beads. 

I

  • Immortelles – A French word that roughly means “everlasting”. This term is often used in reference to the French Beaded funeral – or mourning – wreaths that were popular in the 1800’s. 

L

  • Lacing – Sewing across a petal or leaf with thin wire to help hold rows together and add additional support. Free lacing tutorial
  • Lace-as-you-go – Refers to lacing a petal and leaf while you make it rather than after the rows are completed. Taught in my lesson on lacing.  

P

  • Pointed Bottom – Sometimes abbreviated in patterns as PB. Seeing these words in a pattern tells you to wrap at the Bottom Wire at a 45 degree angle to make a point at the bottom of a leaf or petal. You will see this used most with the Basic Frame, and modified basic frame techniques, along with Continuous Wraparound Loops. Taught in my Basic Frame lesson
  • Pointed Top – Abbreviated in patterns as PT. Seeing these words in a pattern tells you to wrap at the top wire on a Basic Frame at a 45 degree angle to make a point at the top of a leaf or petal. Taught in my Basic Frame lesson

R

  • Reverse Wrap – A way to modify the Basic Frame by wrapping at the top or bottom wires (sometimes both) backwards so the wire wraps show on the opposite side of the petal. Taught in my Basic Frame lesson
  • Round Bottom – Abbreviated as RB. Seeing these words in a pattern tells you to wrap at the Bottom Wire at a 90 degree angle to make the bottom of a leaf or petal rounded. You will see this used most often with the Basic Frame, and modified basic frame techniques, along with Continuous Wraparound loops. Taught in my Basic Frame lesson
  • Round Top – Abbreviated as RT. Seeing these words in a pattern tells you to wrap at the Top Wire at a 90 degree angle to make the top of a petal or leaf rounded. Taught in my Basic Frame lesson

S

  • Scallops – An add-on technique that creates a scalloped edge around a petal or leaf. Free Scallop Tutorial
  • Seed Beads – Tiny glass beads, shaped similar to a doughnut. These are the bead that will be used most often in French Beading. See my lesson on Materials
  • Spacer Beads – Sometimes abbreviated as SB. Simply put, these are beads that are strung between continuous units. Taught in my Continuous Loop lesson
  • Split Basic Frame – A base technique that modifies the Basic Frame to make up to three Basic Frame components on a single length of wire. 
  • Split-Loop – An add-on technique that modifies the Basic Frame by opening up the Bottom Loop to create two bottom wires, which results in a wedge-shaped split in the top or bottom of a petal or leaf. Free Split-loop tutorial. 
  • Spokes – An add-on technique that allows for making multiple points along the edges of a petal or leaf. Free spokes tutorial
  • Spoke Frame – Abbreviated as SF. Not to be confused with Spokes, Spoke Frame is a Base Technique that uses multiple wire spokes in place of Basic Rows. Also called the “basket weave” technique. Taught in my book, Christmas Collection.
  • Starting Loop – The beginning loop for the CWL and CCL techniques. Also called the beginning loop or center loop. See my lesson on Continuous Cross-over Loops. 
  • Stem Wire – There are several different “stem wires” that will be referenced in patterns. There is the flower’s stem wire, which is usually made of galvanized steel, and will be the main support for the flower. There is also a petal/leaf stem wire, which is the wires sticking out of the bottom of the petal or leaf, and that are used to attach the petals and leaves to the flower stem. I also use the term Unit Stem Wire, when referring to the stem wires on continuous techniques. 

T

  • Tail Wire – The beginning or ending bit of wire on a Continuous technique that is used to make the unit’s stem wire. See my lesson on Continuous Loops. 
  • Top Wire – A part of the Basic Frame. The wire located above the Basic Row. Also called the Basic Wire. See my lesson on the Basic Frame technique

U

  • Unit Support Wires – Also called stem strengthening wires. These are extra stem wires added in to individual petals and leaves to give them a little extra support. Learn the various ways to add these wires in my free tutorial here

W

  • Working Wire – The end of the wire that is strung with beads and used to wrap rows. 
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