Introduction: Morse Code Woven Beaded Keychain

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Morse code was named after Samuel Morse who crated the telegraph around 1847. It is comprised of dots and dashes that represent letters and numbers. Often Morse code is transmitted an electric medium that goes on and off such as electric current, radio waves, visible light, or sound waves.

In an emergency, it is possible for Morse code to be generated by turning a light on and off, tapping objects to create sound, whistling or blowing on horns. It is one of the simplest and most versatile methods of telecommunication.

It's a very useful form of communication to know and can help you if you are ever in an emergency situation. The classic S.O.S is often used today which looks like this ...---... it's used when someone is in distress, lost, or in need of aid.

For this project you'll also be learning how to weave using beads. Weaving is a a form of textile production. One uses two sets of threads which are interlaced to create fabric or cloth.

Bead weaving was perfected by ancient peoples in which used the patterns to tell story and represent social status and importance in their communities.


  • Embroidery, Beading, or Craft Thread - Anything that is stronger than normal thread should be strong enough for this project. Beading thread is the best and strongest but embroidery thread is much more available.
  • Keychain Ring - There are lots of options out there. Feel free to use whatever you have.
  • Fuse Beads - Any brand or size of fuse beads can work. These are better than beads because they are more uniform and will make a nice tight weave of your beads.
  • Nail Polish or Glue - This is used on the thread to keep it from fraying.
  • Morse Code Print Out Sheet - Download the provided Morse Code sheet to help you keep track of your beads while you work.

Step 1: Cut and Prepare Thread

For a simple four letter two word design 3 feet of thread is sufficient. For longer and more complex words expect to add at least another 2 feet so you don't run out of thread.

If you realize you didn't cut enough to begin with simply add more length by knotting it as you work. You shouldn't have to undo all of your hard work to finish.

After you have cut your thread you will notice it can easily fray.

Add a little nail polish to the ends to keep it stiff and not so easily frayed while you work. If you don't have any nail polish using a drop of glue and rubbing it between your fingers to get a tight point is also possible.

Step 2: Add Keyring

Bring both ends of your thread together.

Slip those two threads into the keyring.

Pull those two thread ends back through the loop of the back of your thread.

Continue to pull the two threads tight which attaches the thread to the ring. Each photos shows this whole procedure if you've never done it before.

Step 3: Choose Three Bead Colors

You will need to pick three colors to complete your keychain.

The first color will be for the "dots".

The second color are for the "dashes"

The third color is for the empty spacer to use when completed the code for each letter, and to make the separation spacer between words.

Step 4: Plan Out the First Word

For our example we are making "Stay Safe". Each word is four letters long making this an easy design.

For these Morse Code keychains think of "rows" and "columns".

  • Rows go left to right in a straight flat line across.
  • Columns go up and down in a straight line.

You can see from the photo the bright pink are for the dots, and the turquoise are for the dashes.

The black is used as the spacer letters that have already finished their dots or dashes. Not every letter will need as many beads as the others so the third color is used a filler until you finish each letter.

Step 5: Starting First Line

Thinking in rows and columns place the first bead of each letter through one side of the threads.

So for S it's a dot, T is the first bead for a dash, A is a dot, and Y is the first bead for a dash.

With your second thread, push it through those 4 beads so that it looks like the 4th image.

Now that both sides are threaded through the same 4 beads you can pull them apart and watch the beads climb to the top near the keychain ring.

Step 6: Continuing First Word

Moving onto the second row of beads it would continue just like the first line.

S has another dot, the T is the second bead for the dash, A is the first bead for a dash, and Y is the second bead for a dash.

Pull them up just like the first row and see them start to stack. What you are actually doing is weaving which is the practice of passing threads over and through each other to create intricate patterns.

As you move on you will reach a point that a column no longer has dots or dashes to complete your letter while other letters need to continue for much longer.

When that happens you will use your third color as a spacer bead. For our example that color is black and you can see it start to happen in the 5th image in this step as the T is only one dash it has completed by the time the third row has started.

Continue until you finish the whole word. You can see that the Y has beads needed than any other letter so all the other letters have spacers now until we have reached the last bead for the Y.

Step 7: Space Between Each Word

To make it easier to read with no chance of running each word together we are adding a row of our spacer color black.
Thread it exactly as you have for the previous steps and pull it up tight against the others.

Step 8: Second Word

Lay out the beads needed for your second word on the provided Morse Code sheet. This ensures you have enough beads and you don't get lost during the beading process.

Continue the next word exactly as you had for the first word doing each row at a time placing the dots and dashes as shown.

Step 9: Finish the Keychain

When you reach the end of your last word you will need to make a knot at the bottom to ensure it doesn't unravel when you wear it.

Simply look your threads once and then a second time making a tight knot up against the bottom of your last row of beads.

Now you've finished!

Step 10: What Can I Do Now?

Now that you are comfortable bead weaving what else can you do with that?

What would happen if you didn't make a keychain but actually turned it into a bracelet?

What kinds of patterns can you create instead of using Morse Code?

Once you understand how to do basic weaving the sky is the limit to your creativity. Never give up and try to push your designs to the next level.

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