Introduction: Beaded Initial Tags

These pretty beaded tags look like beautiful jewels! I came up with this idea to make a wedding table look pretty, it helps each person know which is their seat (you can write table numbers or names onto the tags as well if you like) and it doubles as a favour for them to take home with them. I made these for napkin rings but they would look lovely as gift tags as well. And they are not just for weddings! You can use these for all sorts of occasions, and to create all sorts of things. This is how to make the basic tag.

Step 1: Gather Materials and Equipment

You will need:

  • Seed beads in your chosen colour(s). I had a big mix to choose from. A little bit of variation between colours looks better than a single solid colour.
  • Hobby wire - ours was 30 gauge but 20 or 22 gauge is better if you have it. Ours was cut into lengths but reels are fine as well!
  • Patterned paper to co-ordinate with your chosen colour scheme
  • White card - ours was 160gsm which was ideal
  • Glue stick and / or all purpose glue
  • Ribbon in your chosen colour

You will need the following equipment:

  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Side cutters
  • 3 inch Tag punch, if you have one. If you don't, there are plenty of templates online you could download instead
  • Hole punch

That's it! Let's go!

Step 2: Create a Template

The first thing you need to do is create a stencil for each initial you are using. You can find a font that you like and print out the letters to size, or you can draw one freehand. I looked at fonts to get an idea of what I wanted, then drew my letter by hand. Your letter should be to actual size, as this is what you will use as a template to shape your wire.

Step 3: Secure Your Wire and Begin Beading

Next, you need to cut a length of wire to work with. The wire I used was precut to 7 inch lengths, which was manageable to work with, but you may need to use longer lengths depending on the letter you are creating and the way that you form your letter. Cut with side cutters rather than scissors as this is safer (and cutting wire is not good for scissors!)

Most letters will be formed using more than one length of wire, but you will use the same process (most) of the time:

Once you have cut your length of wire, you need to secure the end so that beads don't fall off. To do this, create a tight loop in the very end of the wire using needle-nose pliers. Simply wrap the wire tightly around one end of the pliers, and pull tight.

After, you can start to thread your beads! The wire is stiff enough that you won't need a beading needle. Although I am using predominently pink beads for my letter, I find that the finished project looks best if you include a variety of shades, a few silver and clear beads, and even just one or two that are a completely different colour - but be very sparing with those!

Keep beading until you have the required length for your letter, or one part of it (I am forming my 'H' in three parts).

Step 4: Finishing

Once you have beaded the length of wire that you require, you will need to finish it off. You finish by creating a loop in the wire the same way that you did when you started. Once you have done that, you can use the side cutters to cut away the excess wire.

Step 5: Joining Parts

Almost all letters will need to be beaded in at least two wire lengths. To attach, you can, instead of finishing a lenghth with a loop, finish it by wrapping the end of the wire around another section then cutting away the excess. For smaller sections, such as the bar of my 'H', it can be easier to bead the section in situ. To start, wrap the wire around the correct place on the first part of the letter. Fold the excess up so that it wraps around the longer length of wire. Thread beads so that they thread onto both ends of the wire. Finish by wrapping the wire around the other part of the letter several times. Cut away the excess and thread any loose tail back down the beads.

Keep repeating this until you have completed your letter!

Step 6: Creating the Tag

To create a tag, punch a tag shape from a sheet of card and a sheet of your chosen paper and glue together (if you glue together first, you may find it is too thick to punch properly).

If you don't have a tag punch, you can download a tag shape and cut the shapes by hand.

Then, punch a hole in your tag for the ribbon.

Step 7: Complete the Tag

Next, glue the letter to the tag.I used all-purpose glue, you can use others but make sure they dry clear!

After the glue has dried, thread some pretty ribbon through and your tag is complete!

I used these to create napkin rings, but they make great gift tags, or even brooches and garlands! I can think of so many things to do with them - hopefully you can too! If you do, please post your creations below. Happy making!

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