Here's an idea for the beaders out there, or for anyone interested in learning a basic beading technique. It's a Halloween decoration, using a string of Jack-o-lantern beads from Michaels Craft Supply store, and some ribbon.
These pumpkins caught my eye way back in March, as, although they're definitely seasonal they hang on the bead racks all year long. So, I kept seeing them and kept liking them, however wasn't sure what I'd do with 8 large (as far as beads go) bright orange pumpkins. Sure, I could envision one used as a pendant to wear during the last week of October, however, I could not see myself needing and using all 8 of them, and it seemed wasteful buying them all if I only needed one.
Then, recently during one of Michaels relatively frequent "all beads on for 60% off sales" and the pumpkins ended up in my basket. I go to the store at Richmond and John in Toronto, but I imagine they have these at all their locations. Here's what you're looking for on Michaels' website : Pumpkin Beads. Each bead is 1 inch across and is made of reconstituted stone.
The added feature of this garland is that each pumpkin bead is a fully functional pendant, made with the addition of small black beads, gold coloured headpins (50mm), and jump-rings (6mm), all also available at Michaels, however I'd gotten mine from one of the bead stores on Queen Street West (written about in this post.)
Then, those pendants are simply strung onto a length of ribbon to create a garland. I used purple ribbon with a black sparkly edging, specifically meant for Halloween projects, but any ribbon of your choice would work, as long at it fits through the ring, with enough width to make it tight-ish, so the pumpkins stay where you want them and don't all slide to the middle.
A bonus lies in the ability to easily pull one pendant off the end of the ribbon, and sting it onto a chain and wear it as a necklace. Or, if you used the garland to decorate for a party, you can give them away to friends as they leave. Or, you can scrap the whole garland idea, and invite seven friends over and host a Halloween jewellery making party!
I have pliers specifically meant for jewellery making, however you can do a pretty decent job of with regular needle-nose pliers and wire cutters from the tool box. If you are interested in going further with beading though, the round-nose pliers are something you'll want to pick-up. They made it easy to bend the wire in a smooth circle.
The technique used to create these pumpkin dangles is called "making a single loop" or "making a bead dangle". Basically, you thread the head-pin through the beads and cut the excess wire, leaving about 1/4 inch beyond the end of your beads. Then you bend the wire (most instructions say to bend it all the way to a 90 degree angle, but I find a 45 degree angle works better). Using your needle-nose or round-nose pliers, bend the wire into a small circle. Leave it open enough to slip your ring on, and then close it up.
Here's a short Youtube video, demonstrating how it's done : Making a Simple Loop.
With 8 pumpkin dangles, each spaced about 3 inches apart, and some length on either end for hanging, the finished garland is about 45 inches long. It looks good from either side and you can see right through the eyes, nose and mouth. It would be cute hung on the frame of a mirror or over doorway.
Used as a necklace pendant ...
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