How to Make an Elegant Beaded Wire Tiara

Design a regal tiara for a special occasion using beads and hardware cloth.

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Materials and Tools:

1/2" aluminum hardware cloth
18- and 24-gauge silver (or gold enamel coated copper wire)
Celtic lace pattern drawn on paper
beads, sized for 18- and 24-gauge wire
cotton batting
two 21" lengths of 1-1/4" wide decorative ribbon
6" length of open link silver or gold chain to match tiara
paper
black marker
clear acrylic jig with 10 steel pegs
round-nose pliers
flush cutters
chain-nose pliers
nylon jaw pliers
straight pins
sewing machine
needle and thread
crown pattern (create or purchase) 

Steps:

  1. Cut a 19-inch length of hardware cloth 1/2 inch wide. Trim vertical pieces flush to horizontal pieces to minimize sharp parts with flush cutters. 
  2. Draw a Celtic lace pattern on paper and place under the jig as a guide.
  3. Wind five feet of 18-gauge wire through the pegs on the jig. Repeat the pattern 11 times to create a continuous length of jigged wire to serve as structure for the crown. Add beads between each repeated pattern.
  4. Wind an end of the jigged piece around an end of the trimmed hardware cloth. Repeat on the other end of the hardware cloth with the other end of the jigged piece.
  5. Wrap the tallest section of each jigged pattern onto the hardware cloth with 24-gauge wire. Repeat for all 11 patterns.
  6. Wind 2-1/2 feet of 18-gauge wire through the pegs on the jig, repeating the pattern five times. This will create two lengths of jigged wire for a decorative element above the wire jigged in step 2. Add beads between each repeated pattern.
  7. Form two spirals with 6-inch tails with round-nose pliers.
  8. Mount large beads on the spirals. Thread them through the center of the jigged wire at an angle, winding the wire back and forth through the open loops to create stability.
  9. Wind a five-foot length of the 24-gauge wire horizontally through the jigged base to add stability. Wind the wire at each crossing of the 18-gauge wire, adding beads in between.
  10. Mount the jigged pieces created in step 5, adding more beads.
  11. Cut a 19-1/2" x 6." section of cotton batting.
  12. Fold the cotton batting three times lengthwise until the batting measures 19-1/2" x 1". Pin in place. 
  13. Baste the cotton batting to the hardware cloth to wrap the base and make the tiara comfortable to wear. 
  14. Machine-sew the ribbon to the bottom length of the tiara with right sides together. Machine-sew the ends together so that the length fits the tiara snugly.
  15. Pin the ribbon onto the crown base. Hand-stitch the top, working around the areas where the wire meets the base.
  16. Attach a decorative button on each side of the open back of the tiara. Form a hook with round-nose pliers and 3 inches of 18-gauge wire.
  17. Attach the hook at the base of one button and an open link chain to the base of the other button.

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