When I was in the third grade or so, someone learned how to make animals out of pony beads and this craft exploded. Using a pattern and plastic beads you could make every kind of critter imaginable and more often than not they ended up as key chains. Most people didn’t have the patience to makes these but really liked the idea behind them, so knowing the skills of the trade could easily make you popular.
It was hard to find anything about these on the web so I’m not really sure of their history or how long they’ve been around for, but it’s silly to think that such a silly craft could be so popular. I admit that I share Matthew’s memory of:
“people brought boxes of beads to school to makes them.“
Mostly because I was one of those people…
I feel like the most common or traditional animal was the Gecko/Lizzard. I guess it was because of how basic they were to make and how cool they looked in the end. Another benefit was that you could make the tails as long as you wanted which added to their overall value; it looked more impressive if the tail was 2 feet long!
If you wanted to move up to the next level of critter making, you could buy kits at the store.
These not only came with all the materials you needed, but the instructions as well. But like all good things in life, these were expensive. I remember paying anywhere from 5 to 10 dollars for a kit which looking back on it was extremely useless once assembled. I guess it was a good alternative to watching TV. Eventually my mom got a huge bucket with a variety of beads and cord with a bunch of different patterns to choose from. That bucket was like heaven because you could use whatever colors you wanted.
I feel like I’ve made a ton of different ones in my life time, but the only thing I can remember making is a bee, since it was so unique. I still have it as a matter of fact! The Gecko, however, will always be a personal favorite.
I wonder if I even remember how to make these. If I’ve inspired you to (re)take up this hobby here’s a website with a ton of patterns. I also found some basic instructions to refresh your memory. And of course here’s the classic Gecko pattern.
What bead critters did you make?
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