Quick Wire-and-Bead Fireflies

Beaders and Bugs

I've been searching for a delicate way to ask this, but I can't find one, so I'll just be blunt:  What's up with beaders and bugs?  Does everyone else who beads have the compulsion to make beaded insects?  (Take a look at the "Bead a Bug" gallery from the June/July 2006 issue of Beadwork and see what I mean.)  Butterflies, I understand, and well, ladybugs are cute.  But everything else?  Well . . . I just don't get it. 

But I'm willing to learn.  Beading Daily is about stretching yourself and learning new things–not just for you, but for me too!  When I saw the new project from Step by Step Wire Jewelry, I thought I would try to get over my beaded bug phobia.  Fireflies by Char Jorgensen is one of those tiny, 10-minute projects that you can fit into the odd corners of your day in front of the TV in the evening or at lunch.  (I'd add "while waiting in line at the bank", but somehow I think bank security would take a dim view of a customer armed with pointy wire cutters.  "No, really, officer, I'm making a firefly!")

Meet My Firefly

I decided to give myself the extra challenge of using only beads in my stash, which meant no glow-in-the-dark beads for my version.  Instead, I chose some feminine rose, burgundy, and white pearls and 26-gauge silver wire, the only size wire that I could fit doubled through the beads.  (Apparently, glow-in-the-dark beads have larger holes, so gauge won't be an issue if you use those.)  Instead using a 1/4" dowel to form the antennae, I used the barrel of a pen, roughly the same diameter.  I also did not trim my wire for the eyes as instructed, so those coils are a bit larger than the original.

Even though I still don't love bugs, I do think this turned out rather cute.  I added a pin to the back and stuck it on my bulletin board at work.  Maybe this beaded bug will grow on me.  Maybe.

But Wait, There's More! 

After I finished writing this post, I showed my firefly to Sara Graham, the ever cheerful and energetic assistant editor at Step by Step Wire Jewerly who said,  "I want to make those too!"  And make them she did!  Sara used 24-gauge Parawire, 6mm onyx beads, Czech glass daggers, black size 11 seed beads, and 6mm plastic faceted beads to make a whole swarm.  She also turned a few of them into earrings. 

So even if you manage to control yourself and only create one firefly, chances are if you show this project to another beader, then he or she will want to make one too.  Consider yourself warned!

Now it's your turn!  Feel free to post links to photos of your beaded bugs in the reader showcase forum.

New Free Project

by Char Jorgensen

Make cute firefly pieces using glow-in-the-dark beads and some scrap wire.  Incorporate them into pendants, earrings, or anything else you can dream up!  This project is from Step by Step Wire Jewelry.


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Create 6 stunning wire jewelry projects (2 wire necklaces, a wire bracelet, 2 pairs of wire earrings, and a wire ring) with this free eBook that contains step by step wire jewelry instructions for each project.  Jewelry designs range in difficulty from beginner to intermediate and use a variety of wire work techniques, including spirals, coiling, wirewrapping, hammering, and twisting wire.  Download Making Wire Jewelry:  6 Free Wire Designs from Beading Daily

 Michelle Mach shares free projects every Friday on Beading Daily. If you have comments or questions for Michelle, please post them on the website.

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