Learn French Beading >> Intermediate Course Lesson Four: Loop-Back

Intermediate Course

Lesson Four: Loop-Back

This lesson is now available as a free downloadable PDF in the shop! 

TERMS TO REMEMBER: 

  • Loop-Back
  • Re-position the working wire

Before, you can fully understand the Loop-Back French Beading technique, you will need to know Basic Frame, Continuous Loops, Continuous Wraparound Loops, and Continuous Basic Frame. Lacing will also be helpful to know. 

Loop-Backs are a fun little add-on technique that builds loops beside petals. They can be added on top of any base technique, and they are very easy to make. 

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

A sample pattern that uses Loop-Backs will look something like this: 

Make 1: 7 row Basic Frame, 10 bead Basic Row, Pointed Bottom – Round Top. 

  • Add a 2 1/2″ (6.45 cm) loop-back on each side of the petal. 
  • Add a 2 3/4″ (6.98 cm) loop-back on each side of the petal. 
  • Reduce to two bottom wires
  • Lace across the petal, approximately 1/2″ (1.27 cm) down from the tops of the petal and loop-backs. 
  1. Construct a Basic Frame using 10 beads for the Basic Row. Wrap rows 2-6 with a Round Top and Pointed Bottom. (Photo 1)
  2. On the working wire, measure out 2 1/2 inches (6.35 cm) of beads. Instead of wrapping an 8th row, fold the measured beads toward the outside and back down to the Bottom Wire. (Photo 2)
  3. Wrap the working wire around the Bottom Wire at a 45 degree angle – to continue the pointed bottom shape. Pinch the sides of the loop-back close together so there is no gap in the loop. The loop-back should be molded nicely against the side of the petal. This means that the tip of the loop-back may not necessarily be the exact middle of the loop. (Photo 3
french beading technique tutorial - Loop-Back
PHOTO 1
french beading technique tutorial - Loop-Back
PHOTO 2
french beading technique tutorial - Loop-Back
PHOTO 3

Notice that there are two rows of beads on the same side of the bottom wire. Normally rows alternate sides. Traditionally,, with loop-backs French Beaders would simply fold the next loop back up the other side, but as you can see in Photo 4 this sometimes leaves an awkward gap between rows. I’m going to share with you a little tip that was passed to me by my friend Suzanne Steffenson, which eliminates this gap. 

4. Measure the working wire to approximately 1 1/2 ft (45 cm) and cut from the spool. There should be no beads on this wire. 

5. Make another half-wrap around the bottom wire, then insert the end of the working wire into the back of the petal, between the two rows in the first loop-back. (Photo 5)

6. Pull the working wire all the way through and fold it to the right side of the petal. It should now be exiting between those two rows instead of beneath them. (Photo 6) This process is called Re-positioning the working wire. 

french beading technique tutorial - Loop-Back
PHOTO 4
french beading technique tutorial - Loop-Back
PHOTO 5
french beading technique tutorial - Loop-Back
PHOTO 6

NOTE: Sometimes you will need to alter the number of beads for the matching loop-back on the right side of the petal in order to make a loop-back of the same size. This is because the second loop-back is starting at a lower position than the first one. 

7. To make the matching loop-back on the right side of the petal, Add approximately 2 1/2″ (6.35 cm) of beads to the working wire to make the loop-back on the opposite side of the petal. Measure the beads by looping back to the bottom wire and pinch the loop closed. Check to see if the loop-back is the same height as the first loop-back. If it is, wrap it at the bottom wire. If not, add a few more beads as necessary until the loop-backs are somewhat even. (Photo 7)

Notice that there are not two rows of beads on the same side of the bottom wire after the second loop-back. You will NOT need to re-position the working wire. You will only need to re-position after loop-backs on the first side. 

8. Add 2 3/4″ (6.98 cm) of beads to the working wire and make the next loop-back on the left side of the petal.  (Photo 8)

 

french beading technique tutorial - Loop-Back
PHOTO 7
french beading technique tutorial - Loop-Back
PHOTO 8

9. Notice that this time there are two rows of beads on the same side of the bottom wire. If there are any beads on the working wire, remove them. Then re-position the working wire. Then add approximately 2 3/4″ of beads and make the matching loop-back on the right-side of the petal. Add extra beads if needed. (Photo 9)

10. Tie off the working wire and remove it from the petal. Clip the top wire short and fold it to the back of the petal. 

11. Cut a 30-32 gauge lacing wire that is approximately 2 1/2 times the width of the petal. Lace across the petal as shown in red in Photo 10

The finished petal is shown in Photo 11

french beading technique tutorial - Loop-Back
PHOTO 9
french beading technique tutorial - Loop-Back
PHOTO 10
french beading technique tutorial - Loop-Back
PHOTO 11

Using Loop-Backs With Other Base Techniques

Now that you know the basics of making Loop-Backs, let’s take a look at how to use them with other base techniques. Let’s start with Continuous Loops. 

Make 1: 2x 25 bead CL with two 25 bead Loop-Backs on each side. 

  1. Leave a 3 inch (7.6 cm) tail wire before making a 25 bead loop. (Photo 12)
  2. Count out another 25 beads and make a loop-back on one side. (Photo 13)
Notice that I’m starting on the right side here. I start right because I twisted my CL so my working wire ended up crossing over the front pointing to the right side. It does not matter which side you start on. Just make sure that all the petals are made the same way. If you start right on one, start right on all of them. 
 

3. Cut the working wire to 10 inches (25.4 cm), removing all beads. Re-position the working wire. Then make a matching loop-back on the opposite side of the first loop. Add extra beads if necessary. (Mine ended up needing 27 beads). (Photo 14)

french beading technique tutorial - Loop-Back
PHOTO 12
french beading technique tutorial - Loop-Back
PHOTO 13
french beading technique tutorial - Loop-Back
PHOTO 14

4. Make a second set of 25 bead loop-backs below, then wrap the working wire twice tightly below the petal. (Photo 15)

5. Leave enough space in the working wire for the loop-backs beneath the second petal. (You can use a ruler to measure the distance below the first loop in the first petal if a pattern doesn’t tell you an exact measurement, but always add a tiny bit extra to that measurement.) In this case it will be approximately 1/2″ (1.27 cm). (Photo 16

6. Repeat all the steps to make the second petal. (Photo 17)

french beading technique tutorial - Loop-Back
PHOTO 15
french beading technique tutorial - Loop-Back
PHOTO 16
french beading technique tutorial - Loop-Back
PHOTO 17

Pictured below are two more examples of using loop-backs with other base techniques. You will use the exact same method as the Continuous Loops above, just with a different starting unit. 

Photo 18 – Continuous Wraparound Loops with Loop-Backs

Photo 19 – Continuous Basic Frame with Loop-Backs

french beading technique tutorial - Loop-Back
PHOTO 18
french beading technique tutorial - Loop-Back
PHOTO 19

After you’ve mastered the Loop-Back French Beading technique, move on to Lesson Three: Scallops

Practice the Loop-Back technique with my Small Split-Tip Dahlia pattern – available in the shop

© 2018 Lauren Harpster / Bead & Blossom. 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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