Friday, May 23, 2008

Beaded Crystal Heart

Use crystals, firepolish beads, pearls, or combinations of beads to make a stunning heart pendant or charm. You can weave a flat heart or make two and join them to make a three-dimensional or puffed heart.

Skill Level - Easy-Intermediate. It's easy if you're comfortable working two threads at once (cross weaving).

Time Required - 15 minutes - 1 hour, depending on complexity of heart.

Beads - I used 4-mm Czech firepolish beads, but Swarovski bicones or round pearls or even seed beads work nicely. Experiment using seed beads at the ends of crystals, both as a design element and to protect your stringing material.

Stringing Material - I used clear nylon fishing line. Colored wire looks cool with very sharp crystals. Powerpro is another good choice for sharp crystals. Nymo will work for pearls and other opaque beads.

You can create a lot of different looks based on this design depending on your choice of beads and stringing material and on whether you choose to use a single heart or combine two hearts. All of my beads are the same color, but it's easy to introduce color as a design element.

The heart shape is made using cross weaving, which is the technique used in my Hugs & Kisses Ring (string) and Autumn Leaves Necklace (wire) tutorials. Cut about 2 feet or half a meter of your stringing material. Thread three beads onto the cord or wire and allow them to slide toward the center of the line. The fourth bead is your crossover bead. One end of the thread passes through the hole of the bead from left to right (or top to bottom) and the other end of the thread goes into the bead from right to left (or bottom to top). If you study the thread path, you will see that you are working the heart on its diagonal, making a series of crosses. Then you pick up the top bead of the heart and work the downward diagonal. When you have completed the heart you can tie a knot and run the thread back through the pattern to hide the ends (or if you are using wire, simply run back through the pattern a ways). You can even make the heart using a single thread if you really prefer it.

The firepolish heart shown in my top photo is what you get if you weave the basic 2-dimensional heart. If you use tight tension, the tops of the heart will puff out a bit and the beads will turn toward each other. A looser tension will result in a flat heart. For a 3-dimensional flat heart, make two hearts, lay one on top of the other, and string them together at the edges. For a puffed heart, make two hearts using a relatively tight tension and then lace the two hearts together with edging beads, as shown in this diagram. If you lace two hearts together to make the puffed heart, you will have a single bead at the 'dip' in the top of the heart. It's easy to run a jump ring or make a loop of seeds beads through this bead so that you can make your heart into a pendant or charm.You could hang a single flat heart from its stringing material in the dip, but the connection will be more secure if you run wire or beads through the two 'dip' beads or the two top beads. For a bracelet or anklet, consider joining the heart to a beaded band using the two beads on each side of the heart. So pretty! Make them in crystal and red and pink and white pearls and crystal with contrasting cord... perfect for Valentine's Day or 'just because'.

No comments: