Looking for easy, fun holiday gifts for friends and family? So was I! These garden whimsies are not only economical, but give you another way to use those hard earned wire wrangling skills from your jewelry making.
Supplies are annealed steel wire from the hardware store…I used 16 gauge for the flower frames and 19 gauge for the birdies. The bead wrapping was with 24 gauge. Note: the 16 gauge was actually used for wrapping rebar and came in a wax paper type wrapping. The 300 plus foot roll was less than 5 bucks! That makes a whole lot of flowers!
This black annealed wire is pliable even in the thicker gauges. I did use tools to manipulate it, but also used my fingers…the best tools I have! Two things to know about this wire. First it has a black and slightly oily coating. You’ll see it on your hands for sure. Second, this coating helps protect it from rust when wet. Since I want these to be used outside in the garden, I spray the finished piece with two coats of Permalac.
These are the tools I had handy.
Notice the nippers I used…DO NOT use your jewelry wire cutters. The steel is too strong and will ruin them. Yes, I did learn this the hard way.
And you’ll need some sparklies….These are from Michael’s this week. The red labels were half price and all regularly priced jewelry supplies were 50% off! They are all about 6mm and the flowers use maybe 30 plus each. It all depends on how big your flowers are and how closely you wrap the beads.
Score for the team!
For the flowers, I spiraled the wire right off the spool. It took about 5 feet of wire to get ten wraps. Bent the wire at 90 degrees and straightened the curve out with my wire straightening tool for a stem. Then, used pliers to create the leaf. Nipped off the end to leave the stem piece about 12 inches long. The length is up to you. The total wire length for the frame was about 7 feet. The flowers ended up being 4 to 5 inches in diameter.
Using the 24 gauge wire, I wired the bottom of the flower spiral to the stem and wrapped the beads around the outer spiral. Then wire wrapped the stem to add a touch more detail and stability. Expect to use about 6 feet of this wire.
Love how these are free flowing and a bit wonky…it adds to the charm! You can also fiddle with the spirals to suit your needs. Or push them out a little so they have some dimension.
I also played around with bird designs. These are for hanging in a window or a tree branch, but I think they would also be super cute on a wire stem and perched in a potted plant as well.