Beginner Course

Lesson Five: Fringe

TERMS TO REMEMBER:

  • Wire Back
  • Twisted Fringe

I highly recommend that you work through Lesson Two: Continuous Loops before learning Fringe. While Continuous Loops are not required for this technique, some of the terms and skills used are explained in that tutorial. 

There are two basic types of Fringes – Wire-Back Fringe and Twisted Fringe. (Though I should note that most designers do not call them by these names. They are both generally just called Fringe, or nothing at all.)

Twisted Fringe

The Twisted Fringe variety is very simply a bead or a loop of beads on a long twisted stem of wire. These can be continuous or single. 

Sample Pattern

Make 1: 6x 1/2″ (1.3 cm) Twisted Fringes with 3 beads at the tip. 

Translation: Make one unit. The unit will have six Twisted Fringes. Each fringe will be 1/2″ long. And there should be 3 beads at the tip of each fringe. 

For this exercise, we will use 28 gauge (0.315 mm) wire because it’s easier to twist. The beads are size 11/0. You will also need a ruler! 

  1. String 18 beads onto the 28 gauge wire. You can leave the wire attached to the spool. 
  2. Leave a 2 inch (5 cm) tail wire, which will be the unit stem wire after the piece is complete. 
  3. Measure out another 1 inch (2.5 cm) of wire. Use your fingernail to make a little notch at the beginning and end of the 1 inch section of wire. This will help match up the two sides later. Slide 3 of the beads from the spool onto this section of wire. (Photo 1)
    NOTE: Notice that the wire we measure out is 1 inch long. When we fold it in half to twist it, the result is a 1/2 inch fringe. Some patterns will tell you how much wire to measure out, and others will tell you the finished length of the fringe. 
  4.  Fold the wire exactly in half, matching up the notches in the wire. Make sure the 3 beads are caught in the middle. Twist the two wires below, starting at the notches and moving up to the beads (Photos 2 & 3). This completes the first fringe. 
french beading tutorial - fringe technique
PHOTO 1
french beading tutorial - fringe technique
PHOTO 2
french beading tutorial - fringe technique
PHOTO 3

5. Measure another 1 inch (2.5 cm) of wire and make a notch on the working end at the 1 inch mark. Slide 3 more beads down from the spool. (Photo 3)

6. Match the notch in the wire with the base of the first fringe and make sure the 3 beads are positioned in the center. Twist the two wires below the beads together tightly against the base of the first fringe. (Photo 4)

7. Repeat until you have 6 total twisted fringes. (Photo 5)

french beading tutorial - fringe technique
PHOTO 3
french beading tutorial - fringe technique
PHOTO 4
french beading tutorial - fringe technique
PHOTO 5

8. Close the unit into a circle by wrapping the working wire around the first fringe once. (Photo 6

9. Measure out 2 inches (5 cm) of working wire and clip from the spool. 

10. Twist the tail wire and working wire together below the unit. 

The finished unit is shown in Photo 7

french beading tutorial - fringe technique
PHOTO 6
french beading tutorial - fringe technique
PHOTO 7

Just like with other continuous techniques, if the unit has a larger number of fringes, simply twisting the two wires together on the side of the unit will make it harder to center it on the flower stem wire. Center the unit stem wire by looping the working wire around one fringe on the opposite side of the unit. Then bring both wires together in the center and twist. 

Wire-Back Fringe

There is an old rule in French Beading that says the wire can only pass through the beads once to qualify as the French method. The Wire-Back Fringe breaks that rule, since the wire will have to pass through the beads twice. Perhaps it wasn’t originally considered a true French Beading technique, but I believe it’s far too useful to pass up due to a technicality.  It allows you to make fringes that are made entirely of beads, instead of exposed twists of wire. 

Because the wire passes through the beads twice, you will need to make sure the wire you are using will fit through the beads twice. For size 11/0 it’s usually a 28 gauge (0.3 mm) wire. 

Sample Pattern:

Make 1: 8x 10 bead Fringes

Translation: Make 1 unit. Each unit will have 8 fringes. Each fringe will be 10 beads long. 

For this exercise, use 28 gauge wire and size 11/0 seed beads. 

  1. Cut a 14″ (35.6 cm) length of wire from the spool. 
  2. String 10 beads onto the wire and slide them down approximately 2 inches (5 cm) from one end. 
  3. Skipping the top bead, insert the working end of the wire back down through the bottom 9 beads (Photo 8). You should be going back down the way the wire came out. The first bead will act as a stopper at the tip of the fringe so the wire won’t just slide all the way out. 
  4. Hold the beads in place so they don’t move around on the wire. Pull the working wire all the way through to tighten the fringe (Photo 9). 
  5. Add 10 more beads to the working wire for the second fringe. Turn them at a 90 degree angle from the first fringe, this shortens the wire that is between the fringes to keep them close together. Skip the top bead and insert the working wire into the 9 beads below (Photo 10).
PHOTO 8
french beading tutorial - fringe technique
PHOTO 9
french beading tutorial - fringe technique
PHOTO 10

6. Pinch the first and second fringe between your thumb and forefinger on one hand to hold them in place. Then pull the working wire through to tighten the second fringe (Photo 11). 

7. Continue making 10 bead fringes until there are 8 total on the wire (Photo 12). 

8. Close the unit the same way you would close a CL unit with a larger amount of petals. Wrap the working wire around the first fringe and bring it to the bottom. To center the unit stem wire, cross the working wire over the bottom of the unit and loop it around one of the fringes directly opposite. Then bring both the tail and working wire together below and twist them together to make the unit stem wire. 

The finished unit is shown in Photo 13. 

french beading tutorial - fringe technique
PHOTO 11
french beading tutorial - fringe technique
PHOTO 12
PHOTO 13

Next I want to show you a few creative ways to use these wire-back fringes. 

Loop-Tipped Fringe

Loop-Tipped Fringes are another great way to make a different style of stamen. You only need to make one simple alteration to a regular Wire-Back Fringe. 

Instead of skipping one bead at the tip of the fringe, skip as many as you want to include in the loop. I like odd numbers so a bead ends up in the middle instead of a bare spot of wire. In Photos 14 & 15 below I made a 7 bead loop at the tip of a 15 bead fringe. 

french beading tutorial - fringe technique
PHOTO 14
french beading tutorial - fringe technique
PHOTO 15

A Loop Within a Fringe

This is a great way to make sepals for tiny flowers. Basically, it’s a fringe at the tip of a loop, which is on a fringe. The photos below show a 4 bead fringe at the tip of a 14 bead fringe, which sits on top of a 1 bead fringe.  

  1. Add 12 beads to the wire. 
  2. Skip the top bead and wire back through 3 beads (making a 4 bead fringe) (Photo 16). You will have 8 beads left on the tail wire. 7 for the loop and 1 for the fringe at the base.
  3. Add 7 beads to the working end of the wire to make the second half of the loop. Then wire back through the bottom bead on the first side of the loop, making a 1 bead fringe (Photo 17). 
  4. Pull the working wire tightly and you’ve completed one part (sepal or petal) (Photo 18).

Because this is a continuous technique, you can make as many on one wire as you need. Just note that you will not be able to leave the wire attached to the spool. You will have to measure and cut as much as you need. 

french beading tutorial - fringe technique
PHOTO 16
french beading tutorial - fringe technique
PHOTO 17
french beading tutorial - fringe technique
PHOTO 18

Fringe Within a Fringe

Yet another way to use wire-back fringes is to make one fringe inside of another fringe to make branching fringes. 

  1. Measure and cut the wire from the spool. 
  2. String 14 beads onto the wire. Skip the top bead and wire-back through 6 beads below (Photo 19). You will have 7 more beads on the tail wire, leave them alone for now. 
  3. Add 7 more beads to the working wire and make a second fringe beside the first one (Photo 20). 
  4. Wire-back through the 7 beads that were leftover in step 2 (Photo 21). You will end up with a Y-shaped fringe. 
french beading tutorial - fringe technique
PHOTO 19
french beading tutorial - fringe technique
PHOTO 20
french beading tutorial - fringe technique
PHOTO 21

5. Add 14 more beads to the working wire to start the second Y. Complete the first 7 bead fringe by wiring back through 6 beads. You will need to keep this second Y very close to the first Y to prevent gaps in the wire between them (Photo 22). 

6. Make the second 7 bead fringe, then wire back through the 7 beads below to complete the second Y (Photos 23 & 24). 

french beading tutorial - fringe technique
PHOTO 22
french beading tutorial - fringe technique
PHOTO 23
french beading tutorial - fringe technique
PHOTO 24

What other creative ways can you think of use to fringes? Practice making fringes until you are comfortable with them. Then move on to Lesson Six: Basic Frame

© 2018 Lauren Harpster / Bead & Blossom. All rights reserved. The images and written instructions are copyright protected. This tutorial may not be printed and distributed for personal gain or teaching classes, but feel free to print a copy for personal use. The images may not be uploaded onto other websites. If you would like to share the tutorial, please do so with a link! 

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