Learn French Beading >> Intermediate Course Lesson Three: Extensions

Intermediate Course​

Lesson Three: Extensions

TERMS TO REMEMBER:

  • Top Wire Extension
  • Bottom Wire Extension

An Extension can be used with multiple Base Techniques, like Basic Frame, Continuous Wraparound Loops, and Continuous Basic Frame. It is most often seen with the Basic Frame. 

An Extension is an add-on technique that extends the Basic Row or Starting Loop after rows have already been added on. This makes a section at the top or bottom tip of a petal or leaf that is thinner than the rest of the piece, or it can elongate the pointed tip of a piece. 

There are two basic types of Extensions: Top Wire Extensions and Bottom Wire Extensions. But there are also variations on each type that will be more suitable for specific base techniques. There are also other variations that I won’t show here, but we’ll go over the basics well enough that you’ll be able to follow a pattern. So buckle up and let’s go for a ride.

For these exercises use 26 or 24 gauge (0.4 – 0.5 mm) copper core wire and size 11/0 beads. 

Top Wire Extensions

Top Wire Extensions are the easiest type to pull off. They are added on to a Basic Frame unit. A pattern that uses Top Wire Extensions will look something like this:

Make 1: 11 row BF, 10 bead BR, RB PT. 

  • After row 7, add 6 beads to the top wire, then wrap rows 8-11. 
  • Reduce to 2 bottom wires
 
  1. Construct a Basic Frame using 10 beads for the Basic Row. 
  2. Wrap rows 2-7 with a round bottom and pointed top (Photo 1).
  3. If you made a little wire loop at the end of the top wire, undo it. Then string 6 beads onto the top wire and re-make the loop to prevent the beads from sliding off. (Photo 2)
  4. Mold the next row (row 8) of beads around the edge of the petal, pinching it inward around the extension. Carefully measure the beads needed to reach the top wire above the 6-bead extension and wrap at a 45 degree angle. Then wrap the next row (row 9) down the other side to the bottom wire, molding the row around the extension. Wrap at a 90 degree angle at the bottom wire. (Photo 3)
french beading tutorials - extensions
PHOTO 1
french beading tutorials - extensions
PHOTO 2
french beading tutorials - extensions
PHOTO 3

5. Wrap the remaining two rows of beads around the petal, remembering to pinch the rows inward to mold them around the extension (Photo 4). 

6. Tie off the working wire as usual, then use wire cutters to remove it from the petal. Cut the top wire to approximately 1/4″ (6.4 mm) and fold it to the back of the petal. 

french beading tutorials - extensions
PHOTO 4

You may also see multiple Top Wire Extensions used on the same petal. A sample pattern using multiple extensions will look something like this: 

Make 1: 11 row Basic Frame, 10 bead Basic Row, Round Bottom – Pointed Top. 

  • Add 2 beads to the Top Wire after rows 5, 7, and 9. 
  • Reduce to 2 bottom wires.
 
  1. Construct a Basic Frame using 10 beads for the Basic Row. 
  2. Wrap rows 2-5 with a round bottom and pointed top.
  3. After row 5, undo the loop in the top wire and add 6 beads to the top wire. Slide 2 of them down against the top of the petal, and keep the other 4 up and out of the way. (Photo 6).
  4.  Wrap row 6 at the top wire above the 2-bead extension. Then wrap row 7 at the bottom wire. You may need to pinch the rows in a little bit around the extension. Slide 2 more beads down the top wire. (Photo 7).
  5. Wrap rows 8 and 9 around the second 2-bead extension, pinching them inward as needed to prevent gaps. Then slide the last 2 beads down the top wire. (Photo 8)
french beading tutorials - extensions
PHOTO 6
french beading tutorials - extensions
PHOTO 7
french beading tutorials - extensions
PHOTO 8

 

6. Wrap the final rows (10 and 11) around the third 2-bead extension. Then finish the petal by removing the working wire then clipping and folding the top wire to the back. 

Photo 9 shows the finished petal. 

french beading tutorials - extensions
PHOTO 9

Bottom Wire Extensions

Bottom Wire Extensions are a tiny bit harder and there are two ways to make them on a Basic Frame. They are used when you need a thinner point at the bottom of a petal or leaf. However, they can be used with Basic Frame, Continuous Wraparound Loops, and Continuous Basic Frame. 

The first way to make a Bottom Wire Extension requires you remove the working wire, split the bottom loop, then reattach the working wire. 

Make 1: 11 row BF, 8 bead BR, PB RT. 

  • After row 7, add 5 beads to the bottom wire, then wrap rows 8-11. 
  • Reduce to 2 bottom wires. 
  1. Construct a Basic Frame using 8 beads for the Basic Row. Wrap rows 2-7 with a Pointed Bottom and Round Top. After row 7 we need to tie off the working wire and remove it from the petal. But we will tie off a little differently (by weaving it upward between rows) to avoid a thick wire coil from showing in the middle of the petal. Cut the working wire to about an inch long (2.5 cm – doesn’t need to be exact!). (Photo 10)
  2.  Wrap the working wire stub another halfway around the bottom wire, as though you were going to tie off the wire. Instead of completing the wrap, insert the end of the working wire between the bottom two rows on the frame. (Photo 11)
  3.  Pull the wire all the way through and fold it to the back of the petal. (Photo 12
french beading tutorials - extensions
PHOTO 10
french beading tutorials - extensions
PHOTO 11
french beading tutorials - extensions
PHOTO 12 - back of petal

4. Use wire cutters to carefully clip the wire very close to the bottom wire on the back side of the petal. (Photo 13)

5. If there are any twists in the bottom wire, untwist them to separate the two wires in the bottom loop. Then use wire cutters to very carefully cut just one of the wires directly below the last wire wrap on the bottom wire. This will turn the bottom loop into one long wire. (Photo 14)

TIP: Look at the wires in the bottom loop carefully before cutting one. If there is one wire that is in front of the other, or closer to the front side of the petal, leave that wire. Clip the wire behind it instead. This will ensure that any tiny tails of wire left over after cutting won’t show in the finished petal. 

6. Straighten the wire and string 5 beads onto it. (Photo 15)

french beading tutorials - extensions
PHOTO 13
french beading tutorials - extensions
PHOTO 14
french beading tutorials - extensions
PHOTO 15

7. Reattach the spool wire by twisting it into the single wire below the 5-bead extension. Make sure this twist is tight against the beads to avoid any gaps between beads. (Photo 16

8. Wrap row 8 around the petal, carefully molding the row by pinching it inward around the extension before wrapping it on to make sure you have the correct amount of beads in the rows. (Photos 17 & 18)

 

french beading tutorials - extensions
PHOTO 16
french beading tutorials - extensions
PHOTO 17
french beading tutorials - extensions
PHOTO 18

9. Wrap the final 2 rows around the outside of the petal, pinching them in as needed around the extension. Tie off the working wire normally and remove it from the petal. Clip and fold the top wire down to the back of the petal. 

Photo 19 shows the finished petal. 

french beading tutorials - extensions
PHOTO 19

NOTE: One important thing to note about the above type of Bottom Wire Extension is that you generally don’t want to use it for tiny petals. If you don’t have at least 5 rows of beads before cutting the bottom loop open, it might fall apart. This is because there are not enough twists in the bottom wire between the basic row and the bottom of the petal.

There exists a second way to make a Bottom Wire Extension on a Basic Frame without cutting and reattaching any wires. Because you don’t cut any wires, you can use it for very small petals and leaves as well as large ones. 

Make 1: 9 row Basic Frame, 10 bead Basic Row, Pointed Bottom – Round Top. 

  • While constructing your frame, feed 5 beads into the Bottom Loop.
  • After row 6, add 5 beads to the bottom wire, then wrap rows 7-9. 
  • Reduce to 2 bottom wires.
  1. Construct the Basic Frame using 10 beads for the Basic Row. Before twisting the Bottom Wire, add 5 beads to the bottom loop. (Photos 20 and 21)
  2. Wrap rows 2-6. The working wire should be positioned at the top wire at this point. (Photo 22)
french beading tutorials - extensions
PHOTO 20
french beading tutorials - extensions
PHOTO 21
french beading tutorials - extensions
PHOTO 22

3. If there are any twists in the bottom wires, untwist them. Then move the 5 beads in the bottom loop up one side of the loop. Preferably onto the wire that is positioned in front of the other. (Photo 23)

 

french beading tutorials - extensions
PHOTO 23

4. Position the second wire in the loop (the one that is closer to the back) behind the 5 beads. Twist the two wires below the 5 beads tightly. Make sure the second wire stays behind the beads. (Photos 24 & 25)

5. Wrap row 7 at the bottom wire below the 5-bead extension, carefully molding the row around the extension before wrapping to ensure you have the proper amount of beads. (Photo 26)

french beading tutorials - extensions
PHOTO 24
french beading tutorials - extensions
PHOTO 25
french beading tutorials - extensions
PHOTO 26

6. Wrap rows 8 and 9 around the petal, carefully molding the rows and pinching them in where necessary around the extensions to avoid any gaps between rows. 

7. Tie off the working wire and remove it from the petal. Clip and fold the top wire. 

The finished petal is shown in Photo 27.

french beading tutorials - extensions
PHOTO 27

Bottom Wire Extension with Continuous Wraparound Loops

To use a Bottom Wire Extension with Continuous Wraparound Loops, you do not need to cut any wires, or fold any wires behind the extension beads. You just have to plan ahead. 

Make 1: 2x 4 row CWL using 15 beads for the staring loop.

  • After the second row in each petal, add 3 beads to the Bottom Wire
  1. Feed 3 beads onto the tail wire before making the 15 bead Starting Loop. 
  2. Wrap 1 more row of beads around the starting loop, and start wrapping row 3, but do not complete it. (Photo 28)
  3. Slide the 3 beads on the tail wire up against the bottom of the petal, then finish wrapping row 3 at the bottom wire, molding the row of beads around the extension. (Photo 29)
  4. Wrap the final row of beads around, pinching it in around the extension. Then tie off the working wire by wrapping twice below the petal. (Photo 30)
  5. To begin the second (and all following petals, if any) first add the 3 beads for the extension onto the wire between loops. Then form the 15 bead starting loop. (Photo 30)
french beading tutorials - extensions
PHOTO 28
french beading tutorials - extensions
PHOTO 29
french beading tutorials - extensions
PHOTO 30

6. Then complete the petal following the same steps as the first. (Photo 31)

french beading tutorials - extensions
PHOTO 31

Bottom Wire Extensions with Continuous Basic Frame

Using Bottom Wire extensions in conjunction with Continuous Basic Frame follows the same method as with CWL. You just have to plan ahead. 

Make 1: 2x 8 row CBF, 8 bead BR, PB PT. 

  • After row 5 on each petal, add 3 beads to the bottom wire, then wrap rows 6-8. 
  1. Feed 3 beads for the extension onto the tail wire, then construct the frame using 8 beads for the Basic Row. 
  2. Wrap rows 2-5 with a pointed top and bottom. The working wire should be positioned at the top wire. (Photo 32)
  3. Slide the 3 beads in the tail wire up right against the bottom of the petal. Then wrap the remaining rows, pinching them inward around the extensions as necessary. (Photo 33)
french beading tutorials - extensions
PHOTO 32
french beading tutorials - extensions
PHOTO 33

4. To begin the second petal, first feed 3 beads onto the wire between petals, then construct the frame. (Photo 34)

5. Repeat steps 2 and 3 to complete the second petal. (Photo 35)

french beading tutorials - extensions
PHOTO 34
french beading tutorials - extensions
PHOTO 35

©  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! 

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