During the summer months, my neighborhood grocery store had a large display of wooden patio accessories. Every time I passed by while shopping, I had to stop and look at the interesting selection of large wooden napkin rings. Something about them made me think of jewelry whenever I saw them, and I eventually got up the nerve to buy a few and see what could be done with them.
As soon as I had the napkins in my beading stash, I got out a scrap of paper to begin sketching some ideas. I wanted to cover at least one of the rings with beadwork and use it as a focal piece, so I started there.
The very first necklace design I drew looked more like a Christmas wreath, so I decided to transform a wooden napkin ring into a pine cone.
I started with some gold lustered rusty orange 11/0 Tohos, which have a nice rich brown color, with a hint of gold and red. I also grabbed some jade green and transparent brown root beer seed beads, as well as some emerald green Toho triangles. These four colors together really capture the beauty of an evergreen tree in winter.
To make the napkin ring look like a pine cone, I made two strips of right angle weave circles - one for the outside and one for the inside - then attached them with a few loops spaced as evenly as possible around the edges of the ring. I had originally thought of using tubular netting, but I wanted something rounder, to mimic the little petals on a large pine cone.
I attached the pine cone to two lengths of branched fringe in brown and green. The sprigs of jade and emerald seed beads look so much like the real thing, that I could almost smell a Christmas tree as I stitched. With all of the components together, the napkin ring underneath is almost invisible - it wouldn’t look nearly as much like a pine cone without the green fringe. The straps of the necklace really trick the eye into seeing the whole piece as it’s meant to be.
Copyright 2009 Inspirational Beading