Introduction: Beaded Pixel Art Jewelry

Pixel art is well suited to converting into beaded jewelry. As long as you have some patience, you can create some truly stunning pieces.

It is imperative to use uniformly shaped beads (Toho and Miyuki are popular brands) and strong thread. I used size 11/0 Miyuki Delica Beads and 100% silk thread to construct all of the jewelry featured in this instructable.


  • thread
  • uniformly-shaped beads
  • beading needle
  • earring hook

Step 1: Selecting and Preparing Your Pixel Art

There is a lot of wonderful pixel art out there. Here are a few tips that will help you to find a piece of art that will work for you:

  1. Capture a screenshot directly from a game you love. If that is not possible, then I recommend creating an internet search for a "sprite sheet" from said game.
  2. Make sure that you get a file that ends with .png or .bmp or .gif.

  3. Select an image where one pixel in the image is represented by one pixel in the file.

  4. For earrings, I recommend pixel art that is less than 20 pixels in width. Otherwise I have found that the finished piece will curl too much upon wearing.

I will be using GIMP(GNU Image Manipulation Program) for this tutorial, but feel free to use whatever image-editing software works for you.

I selected a sprite sheet for the character that I wanted to make. I cropped the image to focus on my subject.

Step 2: (OPTIONAL) Advanced Image Preperation

Sometimes an image has more colours than I want to work with. In that situation, I use the posterize function in GIMP to reduce the number of colours to an amount that works for the variety of beads I have on hand.

In advance of the next step, I used an extra colour to fill in any gaps unrelated to the pattern. Some types of pattern software have trouble assessing transparent stitches.

Step 3: Generate Your Pattern

There are many ways to turn your pixel art into a pattern. You can work directly from a zoomed-in version of the pixel art. You can use software or even a pencil and graph paper. I prefer to use cross stitching software to generate a pattern.

One option is to utilize to upload your cropped image into their generator. During set-up make sure that key variables are entered correctly:

  • The "Width (Number Of Stitches)" should be accurate
  • "Dithering Method" should be set to "None"
  • "Color Reduction" should be set to "RgbQuant"

You can also select your your preferred "Pattern Style". The options are "Colored Boxes", "Symbols With Colored Boxes", and "Symbols". You can see examples of these three styles in the third picture of this step.

Step 4: Box Beading: Secure the First Bead

"Box stitch" (also known as "flat square stitch) is the technique was used to craft the my beaded pixel art jewelry. The remaining steps will focus on this technique. Each step will feature cardboard cylinders and ribbon in place of actual beads and string to improve clarity.

Skip to "Step 10: Adding Findings" to view some of my other completed objects.

Cut a piece of thread the length of one arm and thread your needle. To secure the first bead you must pass the needle through the first bead. Gently pull the thread through while leaving a 10cm(4inch) tail (The tail will be woven-in later). Pass the needle up and over the bead. Pass the needle through the bead a second time in the same direction. Gently tug on the tail and the leading thread at the same time to snug the stitch. The first stitch is now secured.

Step 5: Box Beading: Starting the First Row

While this step is specifically related to the creating the first row of beadwork, it can be used at other points in the pattern when a line of beads need to be added in the direction that you are stitching.

You should already half one or more secured stitches on your thread. Pass the needle through the remaining beads required for this row as well as one additional bead which will eventually be placed above the last bead of the row.

Step 6: Box Beading: Stitch Basics

Now you will use box beading to secure beads to the next row.

With your needle and thread loaded with beads from the previous step, pass the needle above the second-last bead on your thread. Insert the needle from left to right through the second-last bead. Gently pull the thread through until the last bead is snugly attached to the second-last bead on the thread. Pass the needle from right to left through the last bead.

You have successfully completed your first boxed bead!

Step 7: Box Beading: But Wait, There's More

This step will show you how to continue to use box beading to add beads to your project. When you get to the end of a row, pivot your work so that the back of the work now faces you. Load one bead from the next row onto your needle and thread, then repeat the previous step.

Pick up the next bead for your pattern with your needle. Pass your needle from left to right through the bead that will be below your loaded bead. Gently pull to snug the beads together. Pass the needle from right to left through your newest bead. Gently pull the thread through. Repeat this step until the row is complete.

Step 8: Box Beading: Adding Beads to a Previous Row

Pixel art does not always flow in way that allows a crafter to simply go back and forth across a piece to add more beads. Sometimes you will have to add beads to a previous row.

In this example a new set of beads has been box-stitched into a 2 x 2 grid to facilitate the tutorial.

Use your needle to pick up the next bead on your current row and then use your needle to pick up the bead that will be placed on the row below it. Pass the needle from right to left through the first available bead on the previous row. Gently pull the thread snug. Pass the needle from right to left through the bead above the one that your thread is coming from as well as the bead to the left of it. Gently pull the thread snug. Pass the needle and thread through once more through the two beads you just added similarly to "Step 7: But Wait, There's More" without adding an additional bead.

Step 9: Securing Tails

You may have to use more than one piece of thread to construct your Beaded Pixel Art Jewelry. If so, then you will have multiple tails to secure. Do not fret! The same method can be used to secure the thread from the beginning or the end of your work

Place a tail on your beading needle. *Pass the needle through the beads on the row above or below the exit point of your tail. Gently pull the thread snug.
Repeat from * once more.

Clip the thread closely to the stitched beads

Step 10: Adding Findings

To turn this beaded pixel art into an earring, we will need to add a fish hook finding. We will use spare beads to protect the thread from the metal of the finding.

Pass a needle and thread through the beads on the top row and exit at the point where you wish to add the finding. Gently pull the yarn snug. Pick up at least five beads with your needle and the finding. Insert the needle into the next spot that you wanted to attach the finding on the top row. Gently pulls the thread snug. Secure the thread as shown in "Step 9: Securing Tails"

Clip all of the tails off of your finished object and enjoy!

Step 11: Make Even More and Enjoy

There are so many pixelated possibilities out there. Go forth and enhance your wardrobe with some geeky accessories.

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