How to make a beaded headdress with safety pins

Beads, wire and safety pins are the only items you need to create a clever beaded headdress that mimics feathered headdresses worn by some Native American tribes. Safety pin beaded headdresses were popular tourist trade items in the American Southwest in the 1970s, and have become popular craft projects for Scout and other youth groups.

Open the safety pins. On each safety pin, thread in this order: one small black round bead, one small red round bead, one white round bead and one round turquoise bead. Close the pin.

Cut two pieces of wire, each about 3 inches long.

Curl one end of one piece of wire tightly to keep beads from sliding off the end. Slide one small, flat bead to the end of the wire. Alternate stringing safety pins and flat beads onto the wire, pushing the wire through the end of the pin opposite the opening. End with a flat bead. Clip the end of the wire if necessary, and curl it tightly to prevent beads from sliding off the end.

Curl one end of the second piece of wire. Thread the wire through the opening in the pin clasp, and slide the pin to the end. Alternate pins and black round beads on the wire, ending with a safety pin. Trim the end of the wire, if necessary, and curl the end to hold the pins and beads in place.

Curve the top and bottom wires into an arch, or war bonnet shape. If desired, add feathers and additional beads to the bottom edge of the headdress for decoration.


Thread a larger safety pin through the top of the headdress to wear it as a pin. Hang the headdress from a leather cord to wear it as a pendant, or hang it from a mirror.

Things You'll Need

  • 15 safety pins, size 2 (1 1/2 inches long)
  • 30 small black round beads
  • 15 small turquoise round beads
  • 15 white 1/2-inch long spaghetti beads
  • 15 small red round beads
  • 16 small flat turquoise beads
  • 24-gauge wire
  • Wire snips
  • Optional feathers and leather lacing
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About the Author

Deb Powers is an avid urban gardener who works with a community collective to promote sustainable urban agriculture and build partnerships between local business owners and community organizations. Powers serves as a social media and marketing consultant for local non-profits and businesses, and is collaborating with a coffee roaster to publish a cookbook highlighting coffee as a culinary ingredient.