Over two decades ago, my mom and I were browsing in a little boutique garden shop in San Diego. It was right around Halloween, and there was a display in front covered in these little beaded spiders. I fell in love with their spindly legs, and their teeter-tottery nature. My mom saw my fascination and bought me one, and I’ve kept it ever since.
This year, I figured I’d attempt to make one for my own daughter. I dug around in my bead stash and found enough bugle beads for six legs…so instead of a spider, I decided to go the beetle route. Figured I’d turn it into a teaching lesson: head, thorax, abdomen, six legs, antennae. But then the antennae did not work out. In fact, they were a source of frustration, and crafting is supposed to be meditative!!! *deep breath*
Anyway, you’ll need an eye pin for the main body, and some 24 gauge wire (preferably aluminum as it’s easily malleable) for the legs. Then you’ll need a bead for the body and the head; and some bugle beads and seed beads for the legs.
I followed this tutorial from Beadiful Nights on YouTube, and added my own spin. The trickiest part for me, was creating the leg armature. You can see the details in the YouTube tutorial, but you basically cut three 5-inch lengths of 24-gauge wire, fold them in half collectively, and add a couple twists. It wasn’t hard to do, but the wires are wobbly until you pull them apart. Next time, I’d also make a much smaller loop at the top.
Next, you string your beads and legs onto your eye pin, and loop the end to keep the beads from falling off.
Because I made the loop in my leg armature too big, the piece had quite a bit of movement when I added it to the eye pin. This ended up not being a problem, because once you add the seed and bugle beads, the legs start working like legs and you can bend them to support the beetle’s body.
One trick my mom taught me many years ago, was to use a larger bead as a guide for consistent trimming. As you can see below, I used an 8mm bead to gauge where to trim the leg wires. That was just the right amount to make a closing loop.
And that’s it! Although there’s a significant age difference between the two, both spider and beetle seem to be getting along just fine!