Toho, Miyuki and Swarovski Beads in Beaded Flowers
Gorgeous beaded flowers can be made with a variety of types of beads. The kind of beads you choose for your project depends in part on whether you are making simple flowers or a more exotic bouquet.
Czech seed beads are perfect if you are going to make French beaded flowers, but possibly not if you are making Victorian style flowers. In French flowers, the wire passes through each bead only once. The hole through the center of Czech beads is small, so one pass of the wire presents no problem for almost all your beads.
Also, Czech beads are inexpensive, and they can be bought threaded on string hanks. Beads that come already strung can be much easier to transfer to wire for making flower elements. Czech beads can be a bit irregular in shape, but that doesn't have to be a disadvantage. You can make extremely pretty flowers with these beads; the flowers will have a very natural and "approachable" look.
Toho and Miyuki beads are Japanese beads. These beads have much larger holes through the middle. This is an advantage if you are making Victorian-style beaded flowers. In the Victorian techniques, the wire will need to pass through each bead up to three times.
If you're going Victorian, you will need a good knowledge of how to use beading wire for your project so that you don't create gaps and unnecessary loops in the wire. The larger hole in the Toho and Miyuki beads will easily accommodate the increased number of wires that must pass through.
Miyuki and Toho beads are very regular, as well. Their edges are uniformly smooth and nicely rounded. The flowers made with these beads look very polished and luxurious.
Then, there are the Swarovski crystal beads. The flowers you can make with these beads will be especially spectacular. These beads are available starting at 3 millimeters in size. They are also made with a number of finishes to make them sparkle. Working with these crystal beads is like working with diamonds.
If you make entire large flowers like roses, lilies or Cattleya orchids out of Swarovski beads, you'll see very quickly how to make a craft item into a real piece of art. This is partly because the beads are much larger than seed beads, but also because these beads are especially clear and sparkly.
For a different effect, you can use just a few Swarovski beads as the center of your flowers. An especially good use would be the "beehive" center, which is a rounded dome shape. This shape will take good advantage of all the reflective surfaces of the Swarovski beads, making your flowers really eye-catching.
As a side note: Take care that you know how to use beading wire correctly for each flower and each type of bead that you are using. For example, don't use spool wire that is too thick, especially if you're doing Victorian technique and a good bit of the wire will be visible. Thick wire will give your flowers a heavy, unprofessional look.
Also, use wire that will "disappear" as much as possible. For example, don't use black wire when you're making flowers out of transparent pastel-colored beads. This wire would show through and ruin your delicate effect. There are many wires available now that will suit your flowers perfectly. Some of the colors available now are white, antique white, buff, gold and silver. In general, you can't go too far wrong using a matte tone 24 or 26 gauge gold or silver wire for either French or Victorian beaded flowers.