Make a thoughtful gift for someone special during the holidays! This post is going to be a long one–I wanted to show as much as I could of the step-by-step beading so I took plenty of pictures to show how each step goes. You can click on each of the photographs to see a much bigger version. I think this would make a fantastic project for kids to make when the holidays roll around! It’s a great idea for decorating the dinner table or giving as a gift. You could extend this project even further to make beaded holiday bracelets with string instead of pipe cleaners.
Click on each of the product names to get linked to our website where we have tons of fun bead products to choose from! Use a variety of different beads for this project–when you’ve created something new, send us a photo and tell us how you made it! We’d love to feature your craft idea in our blog!
• 2-3 pipe cleaners per ring
Try out this fun lesson in napkin folding before you start! This will help build children’s fine motor skills as they learn to go through a step-by-step process. Folding and rolling a napkin engages all the fingers with different types of finger movements. Fold up the napkin horizontally in half to make a rectangle. Fold the napkin vertically in half again to make a square. Fold two opposite corners in toward the center of the square. Roll the napkin into a tube-shape. Start rolling from one edge with a folded corner in towards the center. Next, wrap a length of pipe cleaner around the folded napkin to hold its shape. Cut off any excess pipe cleaner.
It’s time to start beading your festive napkin ring! Choose a combination of coordinating colors for the occasion. Children can spend some time deliberating what they would like to combine for the colors of the napkin ring. Reds, greens, whites and blues are great colors to use for holiday themes. Alternatively, mix up your selection with rainbow colors!
This beading activity will greatly help children develop their patterning and step-by-step management skills. Do not hesitate to help children wherever needed as the pattern I have used below may be more easier for some children than others.
To make a fuller beading arrangement, I’ve chosen to use the criss-cross pattern for the beaded ring. To start, you will need 2 pipe cleaners. Lay them out parallel to each other. Next, choose your selection of beads with all the shapes, sizes and colors arranged in the way you want to bead them. When you lay the beads out ahead of time, you get to visualize how the napkin ring will look like and it can help you keep track of where you are in your beading.
Tie up the ends of both pipe cleaners on one side and twist a few times to make sure that the ends are secured. Tuck the extended parts of the ends into the twisted part or cut off. Even though I’ve extended the length of the pipe cleaners by joining them, I will still keep them in a V-shape. This will allow me to criss-cross the beading as I go up along the length of the pipe cleaner.
As you can see, I’ve laid out 8 large Brilliant Beads and 16 Little Shape Beads in columns so that I can keep track of which beads I am using. I’ve decided to use one Brilliant Bead for every two Little Shape Beads. The number of beads I have in total is the approximate amount I will need to finish the entire napkin ring.
Thread through one Brilliant Bead to the center of the two joined pipe cleaners. Next, insert one Little Shape Bead through each end of the pipe cleaner and push down all the way to the bottom so that the Brilliant Bead is flanked on either side by the Little Shape Beads.
To start a new row of the pattern, place the next Brilliant Bead through an end of the pipe cleaner. Do not push the Brilliant Bead all the way down; instead, stop 1/3 of the way down. Take the other end of the pipe cleaner and thread it through the bead. Pull both ends of the pipe cleaner simultaneously to move the Brilliant Bead all the way down to the bottom row.
Insert the next two Little Shape Beads through each end of the pipe cleaners and push down so that they press beside the second row Brilliant Bead. Redo these steps all the way to the end of the pipe cleaner length.
Alternate the colors you use or follow the pattern you’ve laid out in order from start to finish.
This is a really simple pattern to use and you can manipulate it in many different ways to make new patterns. Once you have a grasp of how the criss-cross pattern works, you can use 3 pipe cleaners to combine the beads in other ways.
Your napkin ring should look something like this near the end!
Once you are finished threading all the beads, gently bend the entire length into a circle. Meet the pipe cleaner ends with the first Brilliant Bead you threaded. You can take the ends and criss-cross them through the Brilliant Bead, just as you had done for all the other Brilliant Beads in the length. Criss-cross the ends through the Brilliant Bead then tie off and twist to secure. This will hold the shape of the ring together.
This is a great exercise that uses both sides of a child’s brain. As they learn how to coordinate their little fingers to thread beads, wrap and twist the pipe cleaners and criss-cross the overall pattern while managing the order of the beads, children will build their fine motor skills while experiencing process AND result-based art!
Here are some more color combinations and ideas to inspire your creations! Use different colors and different types of beads. These will catch plenty of attention at the dinner table: