My favorite thing to make out of beads is a purse. Yes, you can make yourself a fully functional bag using pony beads and fishing line! It’s actually very simple. Sizes can range from small to large, and the design possibilities are endless. And unlike something you can get from Walmart, a purse like this will be special since you were able to make it yourself.
For this tutorial, I’m going to be using a simple chevron design I made using a design tool on www.kandipatterns.com. If you’re interested in making your own designs or seeing designs other users have cooked up, I recommend this web site highly. Here is the design I will be following:
This purse will end up being medium size. I’m using glow in the dark beads I found by the bag at Michaels. If you’d like to use another design, or you would like to substitute the colors I am using, feel free.
So let’s get started!
Things you’ll need:
1. Pony beads (Enough of each color for the design you have chosen. If you’ve chosen to follow along with the design I am using, the pattern calls for 357 clear beads, 227 blue beads, and 216 pink beads)
2. Fishing line (I recommend 25 lb tested)
You will end up needing more supplies, but for now, while we construct our purse panels, we will focus just on that.
Step One: Cut a very long piece of fishing line. I can’t tell you an exact measurement, because I generally eyeball it, but I would say at least 3 feet of line. Once your line is cut, bring both ends together so on one side, you have two ends, and on the other, you have a loop.
Step Two: Take a look at the pattern design above. To create this panel, we’ll start from the bottom and work our way up. What we will be creating to start is the skeleton. At the bottom right of this design you will see two pink beads on top of each other. So string one pink bead on each end of your fishing line. Now next to the two stacked pink beads to their left, situated at the very center of where they are stacked, there is a single pink bead. Take a pink bead and slip it on BOTH ends of the string. Repeat this pattern of 2-1-2-1-2-1, et cetera, until you have strung on the last bead on this row. That bead would be the single blue bead on the bottom left of the design. What you will have will look like this:
As a side note, don’t be alarmed if your skeleton is curved like this one. As you continue to string rows of beads on your panel, it will straighten out.
Step Three: Once your skeleton is complete, push the beads down so they fit snugly together, and then take both ends of string and tie a knot three times.
Step Four: Now choose a piece of fishing line you want to use. At this point, it doesn’t matter which one. We are on the far left side of the pattern. The last bead you strung on was the bottom blue one. And right next to it, sticking up a little, will be another blue one. Look at the pattern. Above the bottom blue bead is a clear bead. So take that clear bead, string it on your string, and then take the string and slip it through that blue bead that was sticking up a little.
What we are doing is essentially filling the gaps between each bead with other beads. After you’ve strung on that clear bead, check the pattern to see which color bead will fill in the next gap. That would be a blue bead. And so on, until you have this row completed.
When you have finished this row, you will notice that the string you are using is on the right side, and there will be a gap above the two pink beads you strung on to create the skeleton.
So look at the pattern, and deduce what color belongs on top of them. That would be a blue bead. This blue bead begins the next row, and you will be filling in gaps with beads while working back toward the left.
Step Five: Continue to work this way, stringing on row after row of beads. As you work, you’ll quickly see the chevron pattern coming to life.
Now, after a while, unless you cut off a LOT of fishing line, you will realize you no longer have enough string to make another row. I’m going to touch on how to tie this end off and start using the other piece of fishing line that’s hanging down on the bottom of your panel in the next article.
If you have any questions, please feel free to ask, as I know this is a project that can be a little confusing at first.