Bead animals are a simple craft that I learned at summer camp. Most beaded animals are formed following a simple design grid. These patterns can be found online, by searching “bead animals”, or in craft booklets. You can also design your own pattern and create a unique creature.
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Step 1: Materials & Techniques
You will need:
62 yellow beads
59 brown beads (I use orange)
1 black bead
1 keychain ring
8ft of plastic lanyard string
All of these materials can be found at any craft store. My beads came from a bulk bucket of mulitcolors beads.
If you want a stiffer frame for your animal, you can substitute the plastic string for 20 gague wire. It takes a bit more force and deft to manipulate the wire, but the resulting creation has much more backbone to it.
When working with bead animals, it is easiest to keep the working craft flat on the table. As you tighten each row or extremity, make sure to use enough force to keep the beads together but leave enough slack that your creation lays flat on the table/surface. If you pull too tight, then your animal will bunch up and contort.
Step 2: Starting the Giraffe
1. Tie the keychain at the midpoint of the string (Fig 1a)
2. Thread row 1 onto left string (Fig 1b)
3. Thread same row with second string, going through the opposite direction (Fig 1c)
4. Pull tight
Step 3: Making the Ear
1. Thread the beads onto the left string, following the order given by the diagram on the left
2. Run the same string back through beads 2-4, starting with 2 (Fig 2a)
3. Pull the string through bead 1 (Fig 2b)
4. Tighten (Fig 2c)
Step 4: Working on the Body
1. Always thread the beads in the diagram from left to right, using the current left-hand string
2. Thread the right-hand string through the same row but going in the opposite direction as the left (Fig. 3a)
3. Always pull tight after each row (Fig 3b)
4. Between rows 10 & 11, go to step 4 for the tail
Step 5: Adding the Tail
1. Thread 8 brown beads onto the left-hand string
2. Thread back through the first five beads going in the opposite direction and using the same string (Fig 4a)
3. Pull tight (Fig 4b)
Step 6: Forming the Legs
1. Thread the beads onto one string following the numbered switchback order given in the top figure. Each leg uses only the indicated string side.
2. Follow the arrows in the second image to build up the legs. All but the last two beads will be threaded through twice
3. Pull the legs tight up to the body
Step 7: Finishing Up
1. Tie both strings into a knot at the bottom of the giraffe’s belly.
2. Cut the excess string
3. You are finished!