Lesson One: Beehive
Before you can learn the Beehive French Beading technique you will need to know the Basic Frame, taught in my Beginner Course.
The Beehive French Beading technique (aka Beehive Basic Frame or BBF) is a simple modification of the Basic Frame technique that allows you to make dome or cup shaped pieces. It is especially helpful with making flower centers.
To modify a Basic Frame to make it a Beehive, simply bend the top and/or bottom wires backwards, then wrap rows underneath each other down the frame wires. In most patterns that use Beehives you will bend both frame wires back to make a dome. However, some patterns may use a beehive at just the top or bottom wire to make a cup in just one end of a petal.
Make 1: 9 row BBF, 1 bead BR, RB RT
- Bend the Top and Bottom Wires back 90 degrees after row 5.
- Reduce to one Bottom Wire.
Translation: Make one piece. You will need 9 rows of beads in the beehive technique. The basic row is 1 bead. The shape is Round Bottom, Round Top. The piece will be a regular Basic Frame until row 5 is complete, then bend the wire back to make a beehive. Reduce to one bottom wire after completing the piece.
For this exercise use 26 gauge (0.4 mm) copper core wire and size 11/0 seed beads. I find it’s best to use thinner wire for beehives whenever possible to minimize the amount of wire that shows at the “seams”.
- String the beads onto the wire, leaving the wire attached to the spool.
- Construct a Basic Frame using 1 bead for the Basic Row. When using a beehive to make a dome for a flower center, you will want to make the Top Wire longer than normal. It will become part of the unit stem wire. (Photo 1)
- Wrap rows 2-5 with a Round Bottom and Round Top (Photo 2).
- Bend the Top and Bottom Wires toward the back of the piece 90 degrees (Photo 3 shows the side view of the frame).
5. Wrap the next row of beads underneath the previous row instead of beside it (Photo 4). This builds the “walls” of the dome.
TIP: I find with beehives that it’s easier to get a nice wrap if I use my thumbnail to hold the Working Wire in place on the far side of the Top or Bottom Wire (Photo 5). Then, instead of wrapping the wire, spin the beehive itself one full rotation clockwise with your other hand while holding your thumbnail in place as an anchor (Photo 6). Your thumbnail, and the working wire, will spin around the frame wire, forcing the working wire into a neat and tight wrap without disturbing the rows of beads.
6. Continue wrapping rows underneath until you have 9 rows total (7 rows on each side of the Basic Row), keeping the Top and Bottom wire bent back at the same angle for every wrap, then “tie off” the Working Wire by wrapping it twice around the Bottom Wire. Photo 7 shows the side of the dome and Photo 8 shows the underside.
7. Reduce to one Bottom Wire by removing the Working Wire and one of the wires in the bottom loop.
8. When a beehive is used for a flower center, do not clip the Top Wire. Instead, bring both the Top and Bottom Wires together in the center beneath the unit. Then twist them together to make the unit stem wire. (Photo 9).
Sometimes you may come across a pattern that tells you to bend the Top and Bottom Wires back 45 degrees, which produces a dome with more tapered edges as shown in Photos 10 and 11.
© 2018 Lauren Harpster from Bead & Blossom. The written instructions and photographs in this tutorial have been published for personal use only. This tutorial may not be used for teaching classes, or printed off in mass for personal gain. The images may not be uploaded onto other websites or used to create your own tutorials. If you would like to share this tutorial, please do so with a link!