Free Butterfly Wire Beading Frame Tutorial

Butterflies abound around here! Karen Parker’s Brick Stitching Nature book is filled with butterfly beading patterns and the collection, Wings and Things: Butterflies and Flutterbys, (which includes Karen’s book) is also chock-full of beadweaving patterns and instructions for beaded butterflies and beaded winged creatures.

Wings & Things Butterflies and Flutterbys collection

Wings & Things Butterflies and Flutterbys collection

In looking over all the amazing beaded butterfly designs in the Wings & Things collection, I was inspired and wanted to share this new tutorial on making wire beading frames.

Butterfly Wire Beading Frames, by Tammy Honaman

Butterfly Wire Beading Frames, by Tammy Honaman

Here’s what you’ll need:
Metal shape for the center of the butterfly
24” 18 or 19-gauge wire
16″ 22 or 24-gauge wire
Hole punch (1.8mm or 2.0mm)
Jig for shaping the wire
Flat- or chain-nose pliers
Round-nose pliers
OPTIONAL:
Ball peen hammer (or similar)
Bench block

1. Set up your jig pegs to create the shape of your butterfly.

Now That's  Jig! with pegs in place for weaving the butterfly.

Now That’s Jig! with pegs in place for weaving the butterfly.

2. Mark, then drill or punch holes in the metal used for the center of your frame.

Copper blank used for the center of the butterfly.

Copper blank used for the center of the butterfly.

Note: The copper shape I used was purchased with holes on each end. If your blank doesn’t have holes, you really only need a hole on one end. I then placed two marks for drilling along the centerline that runs the length of the blank, one just a little above center and one just a little below.

3. Place the end of the wire through the top hole of the blank and bend the wire about 2” from the end. Anchor the top of the blank in the bend of the wire then begin to work the wire around the pegs for the upper right wing.

Anchor the wire in the top hole of the copper blank then begin to work the wire around the pegs.

Anchor the wire in the top hole of the copper blank then begin to work the wire around the pegs.

4. Put the wire through the “just above center” hole then work the wire around the pegs for the lower right wing.

Wire formed around pegs for first and second wings.

Wire formed around pegs for first and second wings.

Tip: I removed the form to work the wire through the holes in the copper blank. I reshaped the wire around the pegs when I placed the wire assembly back onto the jig bed.

5. Put the wire through the “just below center” hole then work the wire around the pegs for the lower left wing. Put the wire through the “just above center” hole so it’s in position for the upper left wing.

Wire is placed through the lower hole then worked around the pegs for the lower left wing.

Wire is placed through the lower hole then worked around the pegs for the lower left wing.

6. Work the wire around the pegs for the upper left wing. Put the wire through the top hole then bend to anchor the wire to the blank.

Wire is worked around the pegs to complete the upper left wing then put through the top hole to finish.

Wire is worked around the pegs to complete the upper left wing then put through the top hole to finish.

7. Remove the formed wire. Trim then twist the two wire ends together to secure the butterfly shape.

Twist the wire ends together to secure the shape.

Twist the wire ends together to secure the shape.

8. If you’d like, form a loop on each wire (below the ends) and so the formed loops match up. You can use this loop to hang the butterfly.

Trim the wire ends then form a loop on each wire, below the end.

Trim the wire ends then form a loop on each wire, below the end.

Optional:
Place the form onto a steel block. Using a ball peen or similar hammer, strike the wire to flatten, adding some character. Try not to hit the wire in areas where it overlaps as you will cause metal fatigue quickly and run the risk of having the wire break.

Place the butterfly onto a bench block then strike the wire with a hammer.

Place the butterfly onto a bench block then strike the wire with a hammer.

9. Cut a 3-4″ length of wire. Anchor it at the joint between two wings, closest to the center of the butterfly.

Wrap a 3-4" length of wire around the intersection of two wings, near the center "body."

Wrap a 3-4″ length of wire around the intersection of two wings, near the center “body.”

10. Wrap the wire around a few times then trim the ends. Compress the ends of the wire coil using chain- or flat-nose pliers to keep the wire coil in place. The coil will give the butterfly some structure as well as offers a little accent. Repeat for the other pair of wings and around the twist at the top.
steel_butterfly
Now that you have the pattern and instructions for this wire beading frame, you can make as many butterflies as you’d like. Embellish them or fill with fibers, beads, crystals – anything! Then please, share your creations with us at BeadingDaily.com – we’d love to see what you dream up!

happy beading~
blue_tammy

 

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