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How to Make Your Own Bead Animal Keychain

Updated on January 6, 2015
Completed blue, green and yellow bead lizard key chain.
Completed blue, green and yellow bead lizard key chain. | Source

Making bead animals was one of my favorite craft projects growing up (and I loved crafts). Though I was fond of making lizards in particular, you could pick any animal and decide which color, shape and size it would be. Plus, you got to work with those awesome little multi-colored pony beads. What wasn't to love?

And believe it or not, these little guys are useful for much more than little landmines of pain in the carpeting. P.s. Sorry, Mom and Dad).
And believe it or not, these little guys are useful for much more than little landmines of pain in the carpeting. P.s. Sorry, Mom and Dad). | Source

With the skills taught in this hub and a bit of imagination, you'll be able to make any animal you like!

Like a penguin, for example!

Penguin beaded key chain next to US quarter to show size.
Penguin beaded key chain next to US quarter to show size. | Source

Have you ever...

...done a bead craft project before?

See results

Important note:

While this is a great project to do with any children in your general vicinity, it's important to note that you'll be working with a lot of very small pieces that are not safe for tinier children. They tend to try to eat those sorts of things.

Materials

Pony beads, plastic lacing, scissors, tape and key ring / lanyard snap / carabiner.
Pony beads, plastic lacing, scissors, tape and key ring / lanyard snap / carabiner. | Source
Item
Why?
Quantity?
Cost
Pony beads
These will be the building blocks for the animal you choose.
Varies (depending on which animal you pick. A safe bet is to get a 1 lb. bag of assorted pony beads you know has the colors you'll need.)
Between $2 - $6 (I recommend looking on sites such as Amazon.com for lower prices - see the link below for an example!)
Plastic lacing
This will be used to string together the beads to form the animal.
6 ft / 1.8 m
Roughly $2 - $5 (though you can typically buy about 100 yd / 91 m for a couple dollars at most craft supply stores)
Key ring / lanyard clip / carabiner
This will be the starting point of your bead animal.
1
Less than $0.99
Scissors
We'll use these to cut the plastic lacing when needed.
1
$1 - $3 (I suggest checking out your local dollar store)
Tape
This will be used to secure the key ring / lanyard clip / carabiner to the table before you begin working
2 small pieces
$1 - $2 (Again, your local dollar store is perfect for this)
Measuring tape / ruler (not pictured)
This will be used to measure out the length of lacing you will use.
1
$1 - $3 (Two words: Dollar. Store.)

You can find pony beads and everything else you need for this project on Amazon.com? Fantastic!

Points to consider before we begin...

  1. Which animal will you be making? I recommend planning in advance which creature you'll make and how many colored beads you will need.
  2. What color(s) do you want your animal to be? Make sure these colors are included in the package of pony beads you buy.
  3. Do you want to use plastic lacing? Although this hub will teach you how to make a lizard using plastic craft lacing, any type of thick string would do the trick. It's important to keep in consideration how durable the string will be over time and with wear and tear.
  4. Will you be using a key ring, lanyard clip, or a carabiner for this project? Remember, this will serve as the base for your key chain.

Making your bead lizard

  1. Take your measuring tape / ruler and measure out 6 ft (1.8 m) of plastic lacing. This measurement does not need to be exact. Once measured, cut the length of plastic lacing and set the spool aside.
  2. Thread the lacing through the lanyard clip (or key ring or carabiner - whichever you chose).
  3. Pull the lacing through the lanyard clip until you're holding both ends of the strand in one hand and the lanyard clip with the lacing caught in it in your other hand. Keeping both strands together, make a knot in the lacing and move it up as close as you can to the lanyard clip.
  4. Take a piece of tape and secure the lanyard clip to the table or whichever flat surface you have. Be careful that the tape won't be removing any paint from that surface.
  5. Once you've decided which colors you want your lizard to be, pick up one bead of the main color. This is the color the majority of your lizard will be (i.e., the head, legs, tail and most of the body). Put this bead onto the left strand of lacing.
  6. Take the right strand of lacing and thread it through the same bead, but in the opposite direction as the left strand.
  7. Pull both strands of lacing until the bead is pushed upward toward the lanyard clip.
  8. Pull both strands tightly, pushing the bead snugly against the knot beneath the lanyard clip.
  9. Now to start the second row. Take two more main color beads and string them onto the left lacing strand.
  10. Take the right strand and thread it through both beads, but in the opposite direction as the first strand. Just as you did with the first bead, take a lacing strand in each hand and pull until the two beads are snug against the single bead in the row above them.
  11. Take three beads of the main color and thread them onto the left lacing strand. Repeat the process until these three beads are snug against the two beads in the row above them. Be sure to keep them in a straight line.
  12. Next, decide which color you want the lizard's eyes to be. Take one eye bead and thread it onto the left lacing strand. Then take two main color beads and thread them onto the same strand. Finally, take one more eye bead and add it on to the strand. Repeat the steps above until these four beads are snug against the three in the row above them.
  13. To complete the head, add three more rows of main color beads - four, three, and then two, in that order - all the while making sure the rows are kept as closely together as possible.
  14. Take eight of the main color beads and string them onto the left strand of lacing.
  15. Slide the beads to the middle of the strand. Take the end of the strand and, skipping the three beads closest to the end, thread it back through the final five beads.
  16. Keeping a hold on the end of the strand, move those last five beads toward the head you just made.
  17. Keeping the group of five beads in a horizontal line with the last row of the lizard's head, use your other hand to pull the end of the strand so that the three loose beads are pulled closer to the group of five beads.
  18. Continue pulling the strand's end until the three beads on the end are tight against the row of five.
  19. Take another eight main color beads and repeat steps 14 through 18 using the right strand of lacing.
  20. Going back to the first set of procedures, take three main color beads and string them onto the left strand of lacing. Then thread the right strand of lacing back through the entire row of beads as you did before. Continue until the row of three beads is flat against the two beads at the bottom of the head.
  21. Now add five more rows, each with three beads in it. However, if you would like a stripe down the lizard's back, replace the center bead in each row with a new color. If you want the lizard's body to be a solid color, use only main color beads for each row.

Steps 1 through 21 of making a beaded lizard key chain.
Steps 1 through 21 of making a beaded lizard key chain. | Source

22. Finish the body by adding a final row of three beads, all of the main color. Next, repeat the steps from above to create a left and right leg using eight main color beads for each limb.

23. Once both legs are completed, add a row of two main color beads, pulling it snugly against the last row of the body above it. Now, add 10 rows, each with a single main color bead in them. This forms the tail.

24. Make a knot tight against the bottom bead of the tail.

25. Keeping the two strands of plastic lacing together, make a knot and move it as close to the last bead as you can before pulling it tight. Feel free to double knot the lacing to make sure it doesn't come undone.

26. Once you're confident the knots are nice and tight, cut the loose the extra lengths of lacing.

27. Last but not least, peel off the tape and pat yourself on the back! You just made a lizard out of beads!


Steps 22 through 27 of creating a beaded lizard key chain.
Steps 22 through 27 of creating a beaded lizard key chain. | Source

Voilà!

Finished beaded lizard key chain next to US quarter to show scale.
Finished beaded lizard key chain next to US quarter to show scale. | Source

Comments

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    • Ana Koulouris profile image
      Author

      Ana Koulouris 2 years ago from Chicago, IL

      The penguin is one of my favorites!

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 2 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      i would like to try the penguin, have too many real geckos at home

    • Ana Koulouris profile image
      Author

      Ana Koulouris 2 years ago from Chicago, IL

      Thank you! I'm glad you liked it!

    • Ana Koulouris profile image
      Author

      Ana Koulouris 2 years ago from Chicago, IL

      Haha A lizard wasn't my idea of a pet, either, until very recently! They can be pretty interesting! Thank you!

    • Ana Koulouris profile image
      Author

      Ana Koulouris 2 years ago from Chicago, IL

      Thanks!

    • Ana Koulouris profile image
      Author

      Ana Koulouris 2 years ago from Chicago, IL

      Thank you!

    • Ana Koulouris profile image
      Author

      Ana Koulouris 2 years ago from Chicago, IL

      Thank you so much for your kind words!

    • Krysanthe profile image

      Kathy Hull 2 years ago from Bloomington, Illinois

      Love this project. I think it is something my tiny son would like to do. Thanks for the well written instructions.

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 2 years ago from Oakley, CA

      Great instructions and photos! I just may have to try making a couple of these for my daughter and her kids; they have a pet lizard! (ugh--not my idea of a pet..lol)

      Voted up, interesting, useful and awesome.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 2 years ago

      What a great project!

    • CatherineGiordano profile image

      Catherine Giordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

      I've done some beaded jewelry. This looks like something interesting to try. Your instructions are very clear and should be easy to follow.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 2 years ago from New Delhi, India

      This is beautiful and so well written and illustrated!

      I would like to try this out. Voted up and pinned!

      Thanks for sharing your creativity.