How to Bead 3-D Animals

Written by f.r.r. mallory
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How to Bead 3-D Animals
Beaded animals are fun to make. (Bead Frog image by MrGreenBug from Fotolia.com)

Three-dimensional beaded animals are cute little charms that eventually most beaders experiment with. There are a lot of free patterns available online which can be helpful, particularly the photographs of the animals. Often the patterns seem very complicated when really the trick to beading animals is a fairly simple basic technique. It is best to start with a simple animal like a fish and to make your first example a little bigger so you can understand it more easily.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Seed beads
  • Fish line
  • Cutters
  • Glue

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Place three colours of beads in dishes so that you can find them easily. You will need a blue colour for the body of the fish, some white for the under body and face and black for the eyes. You can have many blues mixed together if you have a lot of spare beads.

  2. 2

    Cut fishing line or a similar type beading cord to 36 inches long. Pick up one black bead and bring it to the centre of the cord. This will be your fish nose. Take one end of the cord back through the bead in the opposite direction. This will secure the bead. Pick up two blue beads. Bring the cord without the beads back through the last bead and the black bead on the other cord and pull tight. Pick up two blue beads and bring the cord without the beads through the last bead. You should have a nose with two beads on each side.

  3. 3

    Pick up two blues, one black and one blue. Thread your loose cord through the last blue bead going the opposite direction (thread wise). Thread your loose cord to the other side of the nose and through one of the two blue beads on that side of the nose. Pick up two blues, one black and one blue. Thread your loose cord through the last blue bead. You should see that you have added an eye to each side. Adjust your beads until they look the way you want.

  4. 4

    Pick up four blue beads and thread the loose cord back through the last bead. Pull tight. Thread through a bead on the animal, pick up four blue beads and thread the loose cord back through the last bead. Pull tight. This is the basic technique. Shape the fish with your fingers as you work. Add white beads along the fish belly and flatten out the fins and tail by threading back through the same number of beads that you pick up.

  5. 5

    Pick up fewer beads when you are closing the body, this will make your loops of beads smaller. For animals with legs, use bugle shaped beads and larger scale beads for foot pads. Remember to balance what you do on one side of the 3-D animal for the other side.

Tips and warnings

  • Tie off your 3-D beaded animal with a secure knot and a drop of glue. Most animal shapes can be done using the same simple technique. It is often easiest to start with the animal face, then the main body, then the legs and tail. Wire will make your animals more flat and shapeless, but it may be good for some claw feet and you can mix wire in for just the feet if you want to.

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