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Two wheelin

think I just did it to see if I could. I had an odd-shaped stone bead that looked like a bicycle seat and a piece of vintage plastic that reminded me of a chain guard. From those two random pieces an entire bicycle emerged. Since then Ive adapted the pattern to make it possible for anyone with access to seed beads and a few simple craft items to make her own bike.

Build a bicycle with seed beads

by Sharon Bateman
tight circle with a square knot and weave the end in later. Square stitch two beads at a time around the circle (see Basics and photo c). Work a second square-stitch row and leave the thread in place for making the spokes. With the hub centered in the tire, alternately string black 110 seed beads and silver 2-cuts to reach the bottom inside of the tire. Go through the beads around the outside of the tire and string a parallel spoke back to the other edge of the hub (photo d). These are the south spokes. Go around through half the hub edge beads to the north side and make the pair of north spokes. Add the east and west spokes in the same fashion (photo e). Then add a set of spokes between each compass point. Note: You may be tempted to run through the spokes to tighten them as you go. Dont. Make all the spokes first. If there are any gaps when you are done, run through them again. Complete the second wheel.

After beading the wheels and making assorted bicycle parts including the seat, chain guard, gear sprocket, axle, and head set, you assemble the bicycle body by lacing the parts together with seed beads on wire. Final steps include adding the pedals and handle bars.

wheels I prefer to use brass rings (sold as macram rings) because of their weight, but use what you can find in a local crafts or fabric store. If desired, cover the rings with black electrical tape, or let the metallic glint provide a natural wheel frame effect.

If using a white plastic ring, cover it with black electrical tape, burnishing it to the ring and trimming rough edges. Thread a needle with 2 yd. (1.8m) of thread and tie the end onto the ring tightly with a square knot and a few half hitches (see Basics). Transfer 3 strands of black 110 seed beads to the thread (about 60 in. / 1.5m). Run your needle through the last bead again to secure the strand temporarily and keep it snug as you work. Wrap the strand around and around the ring to cover it. When the end reaches the beginning, go through the first few beads (photo a). Then square stitch (see Basics) a few beads at the end and the beginning together to secure them (photo b). Knot with a few half hitches between beads, go through a few beads after the last knot, and cut off the thread. Note: If you havent strung enough beads to reach the beginning without gaps, add more; if you have too many, remove them. Make the second wheel. To make a hub for each wheel, string 8 black 110 beads on a 112-yd. (1.35m) thread. Tie the beads into a

assorted bicycle parts Trace, color with colored pencils,

cut out, and bake the Shrinky Dink chain guard and sprocket (figure 1 and 2a or b, shown full size), following manufacturers directions. (Different brands shrink to different percentages. If you use another brand, divide the desired finished size by the finished percentage after shrinking and make the template the resulting size.) You can cut the holes in the chain guard 34 in. (2cm) from the edge with a standard hole punch as shown on figure 1 before baking. Drill a hole in the center of the sprocket after baking. Use a bone bead for the head set at the base of the handle bars. Drill 3 holes all the way through both sides of the bead. Two are side by side placed vertically on the bead toward one end. Drill the third hole perpendicular to the first two and a little toward the other end of the bead (figure 3). Use a bone bead for the pedal axle. Drill two holes near the center, slightly offset and perpendicular to each other (figure 4). For the seat, cut a 20-in. (51cm) length of black 22-gauge wire. String 3 size 60 beads onto the wire and bend it in half. Run the opposite end of the wire through the last 2 beads (photo f). For the next row, string 3 beads on one wire and run the other wire through from the other side. Continue in this manner, following figure 5. When you have woven the last row, bow the middle of the seat up slightly. Twist the wires together 2-3 times right under the seat and leave the tails for later (photo g).

bike frame Using 20-gauge wire gives you a sturdier bike, but it will not go through bugles. The 22-gauge wire goes through bugles but not doubled. To build the bicycle frame, you can use any size or variety of beads you like as long as they go over the wire and allow you to reach the specified measurements. Cut two 20-in. lengths of 20- or 22gauge wire. Cut one 3-in. (7.6cm) length, one 4-in. (10cm) length, and one 6-in. (15cm) length. String a 60 bead, a wheel hub, and a 60 bead onto the center of both 20-in. wires. Pull one pair of wires forward and one back and ignore the back wires.

String 14 60 beads (112 in. / 3.8cm) on each of the front pair of wires. Run both ends through a 60 bead, the middle hole of the axle bone bead and a 60 bead (photo h). String 14 60 beads (112 in.) on each end of the wire. String a 60 bead, the other wheels hub, and a 60 bead on one wire end and cross the other wire end through the three elements. Pull tight (photo i). String 14 60 beads (112 in.) on each end of the wire. Run both ends through a 60 bead, the original hole of the bone head set bead, a 60 bead, and a crimp bead. Make sure all the beads are tight and even and crimp the crimp bead (photo j). Dont crimp it tightly enough to break the wire. Leave the tails for later. String 16 60 beads (134 in. / 4.3cm) onto both tail wires from the seat held together. Run the ends through the second hole of the axle bone bead (photo k). Add a crimp bead. Pull the beads tight and crimp carefully. String 14 60 beads (112 in.) onto each end of the second 20-in. wire. Run both ends through two 60 beads. Pass the ends of the wire forward on each side of the seat post wire 3 beads below the seat and string 16 more 60 beads (134 in.) onto both ends held together. Turn the head set bone bead so the pair of holes faces the seat. Run both wires through the top hole (photo l). Separate the wires and run one through the lower hole. String 20 60 beads (214 in. / 5.6cm). Wrap the end of the wire next to the axle bone bead (photo m). Trim the tail. To make the light, string the red bead on the wire tail left on the head set bone bead. Trim the wire to 14 - 38 in. (6mm-1cm) and make a small loop with the roundnose pliers (see Basics and photo n).

finishing touches To make the pedals, bend a small loop on one end of the 4-in. wire. String a pedal bead, 6 60 beads, the top hole of the large end of the chain guard and a 60 bead. Run through the original hole of the axle bone bead. String 6 60 beads and a pedal bead. Trim the wire and make a small loop (photo o).

1/4 in. finished

size from edge

1/4 in. finished

size from edge

3/4 in. 3/4 in.

2 in. finished size

figure 1
5/8 in. finished size

11/4 in. finished size

figure 2b

2 2-in. (5cm) or 112 in. (3.8cm) Rings Black electrical tape (optional) 1 Hank 110 seed beads, black 1 Package silver-lined craft store 2-cut beads or size 1 bugles 1 Spool 22-gauge craft wire, black 1 Spool 20-gauge craft wire, black (optional) 2 Crimp beads 10g 60 Seed beads, any colors 2 Flat, black pressed-glass beads for pedals (6-8mm long) 1 Red pressed-glass bead for front light 4 Cylindrical bone beads, approx. 12 in. (1.3cm) long 1 Sheet Shrinky Dink Colored pencils Beading needles, #12 Nymo D beading thread, black Tools: scissors, hole punch, wire cutter, roundand chainnose pliers, tape measure or ruler, drill with fine bit

figure 2a

figure 3

figure 4

figure 5

To add the sprocket, bend a small loop on the 3-in. wire. String a 60 bead and go through the hole on the small end of the chain guard. String a 60 bead, the sprocket, and 1-2 60 beads. Go through the hub of the back wheel. String a 60 bead, trim the wire, and make a small loop (photo p). Bend the pedal wire in opposite directions: up then out on one side, down then out on the other (photo q). To complete the handlebars, make a small loop on one end of the 6-in. wire. String a 60 bead, 1 plain bone bead, and 16 60 beads. Go through the last hole left on the bone head set bead (photo r). String 16 60 beads, a plain bone bead, and a 60 bead. Trim the wire and end it with a small loop. String 5 60 beads on each of the tail wires coming out of the head set crimp bead. Wrap the ends around the handlebars between the 5th and 6th beads from the bone head set bead (photo s). Trim close. Trim the seat post wire and roll the ends into a small loop. To add a kick stand, wrap the end of a 2-in. (5cm) wire around the wire in front of the axle bead and string 60 beads on it. Extend it at a slight angle to the side to meet the table and bend the end at a right angle. Trim any excess. w
Sharon has bicycle kits in various colors. Contact her at, or

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