When You Can’t Find Beaded Wedding Jewelry You Love, Make it Yourself!
After reading Joni’s post about making jewelry for her daughter’s wedding, I decided to do something like this for my sister. I didn’t know what my sister would want though, so I asked. She told me she wanted to wear a hair comb but hadn’t found one she liked. I had an idea, but I didn’t have any clue where to start.
In Search of a Pattern
My coworker, Lavon suggested I look through books in the Interweave store. One she offered specifically is Beaded Weddings, by Jean (Campbell) Cox. This book has several projects for beaded wedding jewelry and I found an entire section on hair accessories. The front of the book had plenty of information on techniques, so I wasn’t completely lost. I looked over many designs and sent pictures to my sister to get an idea of what she was thinking.
My sister sent me several DIY wedding hair accessory ideas via Pinterest. I sent photos of ideas from Beaded Weddings. My sister ended up liking Karen’s Comb by Nancy Dale the best and suggested she might want more branches to flow out of the comb.
I also asked her about color. Since her wedding colors were wine and blush pink with a little gray mixed in, I wondered if she wanted the comb to be all white or if I should add a little color! She chose all white, just in case the colors in the comb didn’t quite match up to the rest of the items in the wedding. So I took a note of the materials and headed to the local bead store!
To the Bead Store
When I entered Bead Cache in Fort Collins, I was amazed by all of the beautiful beads and accessories! I hadn’t been into an actual bead store before and immediately was drawn to a wall of Swarovski crystals. I knew I needed some for my project, but couldn’t find the size I needed. The woman working in the store came over and asked what I needed. It felt nice to know what I wanted so I didn’t feel like a lost beginner; turns out I didn’t need to worry about this at all.
The woman who works at the store was actually helping another woman who had brought in a necklace her friend had made. She wanted to replicate the design and I overheard them talking about the difference between the Swarovski crystals and other bicones as well as a few other helpful (to her and to me!) pieces of info. This gave me comfort as a beginning beader, because at first it was intimidating for me to enter the store as I really had no idea what I was doing. It turned out to be all in my head and I realized we all start at the beginning! So I headed out of the store with all of my materials and the confidence to tackle this project!
Making the Project
The nice thing about using a pattern from Beaded Weddings is that I could mix and match techniques from other handmade bridal jewelry projects and incorporate them into the design for the hair comb to suit what my sister wanted. The basic pattern gave me a materials list and a jumping off point, but because the book included many patterns, it was easy to steal parts from other projects as well.
I purchased two hair combs, in case I really messed up on the first try and didn’t want to start completely over, and a smaller gauge wire than what was originally called for in case I wanted to use different size beads. Both of these choices actually came in handy!
I started the hair comb using the guidelines provided by Nancy Dale in her pattern, but soon found myself questioning if this was exactly what my sister was thinking. For this reason I decided to make two options to show her, one from the hair comb pattern, and another using a technique from a design for a tiara.
I texted my sister some photos of the two different starts (thank goodness I had gotten two hair combs!) and waited for her feedback. After what seemed like forever, my sister finally responded saying she liked the long branches better. I started to continue in that line of design, but then found a design for a pearl flower in a different hair piece pattern in the book. I created the flower and took a picture to send to my sister.
I was able to continuing getting feedback from my sister as time went on: add more branches here; could there be more beads there? It all worked out really smoothly for being my first wire project! When I was almost done I sent one more photo for inspection and realized I probably didn’t need her approval for the rest, but it was nice to know I was almost finished!
Adding the last beads, I sent the finished product to my mother and my sister for any last comments and felt pretty great about finishing the project and making it to fit my sister’s style.
The Big Day
When the wedding weekend finally came, I double-checked to make sure I had the hair comb in my luggage and hopped on a flight, excited to see my family. I arrived for the rehearsal and gave my sister the comb and she was stunned. It looked so much prettier in person than in the photos I’d been sending! It went perfectly with her dress and made her veil sparkle the next day as she walked down the aisle.
It was such an amazing experience to be able to work with my sister to make her the beaded wedding jewelry she wanted, not something she had to settle on from the store. It was also great to know that I was able to help her out on her big day with the new skills I am learning at my job, and be able to make things for the people I love!
Find something to make for someone you love at the Interweave Store!