I recently enjoyed a 2 week vacation to Alaska. Deciding what I liked best about my 14 days of midnight sunsets was difficult. Was it the whale-filled waters, the snow-covered mountains, the rain forests, or the always present crisp fresh air? As a city girl immune to long lines and parking lot freeways, I concluded that what I liked best was the people, or should I say the lack of people.
When I returned home to reality, I wanted to create something to celebrate my wonderful experiences in Alaska, so I created this beaded wreath. It sits on top of an oversized rustic wood frame and has a simple metal "Welcome" glued to the frame. The wreath form was made with steel wire that I shaped into a heart. Beads were attached to the frame using macrame. Each bead represents water, air, sky, and mountains. The colors, texture, and shine combine to make a beautiful indigo color.
Step 1: Gather Your Tools and Supplies
Here's what you'll need
- An assortment of beads with holes big enough to go through your cord.
- A cylinder 21 inches in diameter such as a kitchen canister (used to help form the wire wreath).
- 7 inch frame (I used an unfinished wood frame which I stained and embellished with metal accents).
- 24 gauge steel wire (any wire with a similar gauge will work).
- Chinese knotting cord (or similar).
- Clear nail polish
- Wire snips
- Tapestry needle
- Electric drill
- Metal blank to embellish frame
- Metal eyelets
Step 2: Make the Wreath Structure
Wrap the wire around the cylinder 15 times. Leave about a 10 inch tail. Carefully remove the wire. Neatly wrap the tail around the wire to secure. Snip the excess wire.
Leave round, or shape as desired. For my project, I bent the wire form into the shape of a heart.
Step 3: Prepare Cord
Cut a 3 yard length of cord. Paint clear nail polish on the ends and let dry. This will cause the ends to become stiff. Once dry, trim the ends. The stiff ends will allow us to thread the beads without a needle.
I used a nylon chinese knotting cord because it is easy to use in macrame. I choose a pretty plum color to blend with my blue beads to create a deep indigo color. Alternatively, you can use other strong cords or floss that you might have in your stash. Be sure to test the cord to make sure it is the right size for your beads.
If 3 yards is too long to work with, feel free to shorten the length. It is easy to end and begin new cord.
Step 4: Tie Cord to Wire Frame
Fold your cord in half. Tie the cord to the wire frame wreath using an overhand knot. Make sure the length of the cord on the left matches the length on the right.
Step 5: Thread Beads
Thread a bead on your left cord and move it to the center. Do the same for the bead on your right cord.
- For a uniform look, match the 2 beads.
- For a random look, choose different, but similar-sized beads
Step 6: Tie a Square Knot
To secure the beads to the wire wreath, we will be using a classic macrame square knot.
Starting with the cord on the left, bring the cord under the wreath and over the cord on the right. Next, take the cord on the right and move it over the wreath and under the cord on the left. Pull. This is the first half of the square knot. If the beads moved during this step, position them back into place.
Repeat the steps for the second half of the square knot to secure the beads to the wreath starting with the right cord instead of the left.
- When doing macrame, I use this mantra. "Under-Over. Over-Under".
Step 7: Continue Adding Beads
Continue the process until your wreath is covered in beads.
As a reminder, here's the process.
- Add the beads
- Tie a macrame square knot
If you begin to run out of cord stop when you have about 6 inches remaining. Start with an overhand knot again and continue the process.
Step 8: Weave Ends to Complete the Wreath
To complete the beaded wreath, use a tapestry needle to thread the cord through a few of the adjoining knots on the back of the wreath. Trim ends.
Step 9: Attach Wreath to Frame
Place your wreath on top of your frame and position as desired. Mark the wood frame with the desired placement. Use a small drill bit to drill through the wood of the frame. Cut a small piece of wire. Thread it through the holes from the front to the back. Coil the wire tightly to attach wreath to the frame securely.
Step 10: Embellish As Desired
If desired, add add embellishments to complete the look. For this project, I stamped a copper blank with "Welcome" and tarnished the copper using liver of sulfur to highlight the text. I used an industrial strength glue to attach to the wood frame. I also opted to use a chain to hang. First, I drilled small holes in the top of the frame and used eyelets to screw into the wood. Next, I attached the chain with a handmade s-hook.
Step 11: Other Ideas
This process to add beads to a form using macrame and cord has lots of possibilities. Here are 2 ideas. I made the beaded wreath with a distressed frame using hobby store rings. The rings are easy to find and offer a thicker, solid surface to macrame.
Another idea is to make a smaller version such as a napkin ring. This is a fun and fast project that has great results.