Sunday, February 17, 2013

How to Make a South-African Style Beaded Animal (Platypus Edition)


-         Medium-thickness wire (~20 gauge)
-         Floral wire (30 gauge)
-         Wire cutters/Pliers
-         Seed beads
-         Optional: 2 buttons (for eyes)

Time Commitment

 ~4-5 hours for an approx. 6” long platypus

How to Make it Happen:

Step 1 - Wire up a skeleton

1) Use the medium-thickness wire to make an outline of the animal shape (these instructions are for a platypus). Using pliers (or a Leatherman) makes working with the wire easier, but remember that wire ends will be sharp!

Step 2 - More wire action

2) There will be a total of four floral wire pieces used to make the animal – one wire will wrap around each of the outline wires, and the last one will be used to string the beads. Cut the outline wires about 2 times longer than the length of the outline.Wrap the wires for the outlines around the wires (about 2-3 times to hold them in place). Next, cut a long piece (~5 feet long) for the bead wire. Wrap this wire a few times around one of the outline wires.

Step 3 - Beads and Eyes

 3) Now, string a few beads on the bead wire. Choose a direction to wrap the wire around the outline form (you can’t change your mind on this one) and stick with it. Every time you cross an outline wire, wrap the thin outline wire around the thick outline wire and the bead wire. The thin outline wires will hold the bead wire to the form, so you don’t need to wrap the bead wire around any of the thick outline wires. After you get about half of the head covered, it’s time to add the eyes. Use small pieces of wire to attach buttons around the bead wire. The pliers will come in handy to grab the wires.

Step 4 - Making legs the easy way

4) Since beading the legs would be extremely difficult, take long pieces of wire and wrap them around the legs. Wrap the wire around the outline wire a few times to keep it in place.

Step 5 - The body is done!
 5) If you need to change bead wire while working on the animal, simply wrap the end of the current bead wire a few times around the thick outline wire. Start a new bead wire by wrapping one end a few times around the same thick outline wire you ended on, and continue beading. At the end of the animal, wrap the thin outline and bead wires a few times around the back legs and trim flush. The picture shows new thin outline wires that will be used for beading the tail.

Step 6 - Bead some more

 6) Bead the tail the same way as the body.

Step 7 - Almost there

 7) Since the beak is basically straight across at the front (instead of tapering like the body and tail), wrap the thin outline wire across the front before beading in the same fashion as the tail.

Step 8 - Your new indestructible (more or less) platypus!

8) Wrap and trim the wires, and your platypus is done!


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