This post has been a stinker. I accidentally published it early and had to re-set its publish date to the end of March. But it still wasn’t ready when it posted again! Lesson learned. Next time just delete the old post and start a new one. :p Today we’re covering all the birds, from cockatoos to hummingbirds to roosters. Just looking at all these photos makes me itch to play with seed beads again. I need a time turner so I can keep up with all my hobbies. LOL
It has occurred to me that I should be including some information on the materials I use to make these.
My main supplies for all bead critters are 11/0 seed beads and 32-34 gauge wire. I make a note when I use additional materials. The 32-34 gauge wire is pretty common in craft stores and comes in silver, gold, and copper colors.
If your local store does not have any, I hear good things about ParaWire from the French beaded flower communities, and they do have lots of different gauges in different colors. I am not affiliated with them nor have I purchased from them before so please keep that in mind and do your own research. I have occasionally been able to salvage copper wire from old electronics (like an old flashlight you could “shake” to charge), but this wire tends to be softer which means your critters won’t hold their shape as well.
Bead stoppers are also really great. Nothing is sadder than having all your beads fall off your wire because you paused to take a sip from your drink.
As for seed beads, I prefer the slightly cheaper uneven beads at the 11/0 and up sizes because then you have a little variety in bead thickness to choose from which can really improve the shape of your critter. Using the more uniform Toho, Miyuki, etc. beads will give less character so I avoided them until I couldn’t find the color elsewhere. This does not apply at 15/0 because they are so small. Most of my beads are from old Blue Moon seed bead tubes that Michael’s discontinued and Hobby Lobby, which, I know :(, but they have the right amount of size variability. In general, I think Czech seed beads may be your best bet. They even come in hanks so they are pre-strung. Very convenient.
Also keep in mind that pearl/ceylon finishes are sprayed onto the bead after they are made and such beads will be slightly thicker than regular beads of the same size.
Avoid really cheap seed beads because they vary too much in size and shape and you will end up not being able to use a lot of them. This includes beads from Walmart or the really cheap hanks/tubes from bead shows since they are often painted and the color will come off. I speak from experience there…
Let’s get to the bead critters, eh?
Her site is old (2013), in frames (which means no direct links to the pattern page), and in French, but the patterns are all available for free.
A dear friend loves and owns Citron-crested Cockatoos and they are truly beautiful birds. I made one of these for her. Matte Toho beads were used for the crest. It’s a little hard to see since they are so light, but they are rather square in shape.
This little Mallard duck is very cute, but its legs just never worked for me. They do balance out his shape a little so he can stand, but I don’t really like their shape.
I love this pencil topper and it’s very sad that she only made one pencil topper pattern. I would not recommend this for a pencil that is going to be in and out of a pencil case or bag (the wire will eventually bend too many times and start breaking), but for a pencil that staysat your desk, this is adorable. It is possible you could make this with string/elastic so it’s more durable/usable, but I have not tried that. As I recall, I altered the pattern to make his base bigger so he’d fit on my pencils. Keep that in mind as you bead and have your pencil/pen on hand so you can test for fit.
I made a pencil topper dragon, but we haven’t gotten to that category yet. 😉
Given my previous experiences with getting things to stand up, I knew this flamingo wouldn’t be able to stand unless I made some changes. I stuck a thicker piece of wire up his legs and made them with stacked 10/0 beads instead of the usual seed bead weaving. I do wish I’d made his toes with 15/0 beads since that would be more aesthetic, but I probably did not have them at the time. He still doesn’t stand great because he’s top heavy. I also folded his beak under since Marilyne’s design has a long beak more in the line of a sand piper than a flamingo.
I had partially beaded this peacock before life moved me away from creating bead critters. Instead of following Marilyn’s pattern with seed beads, I used 3mm bugle beads on the shaft of the train feathers and made the feathers longer as they reached the middle of the bird. My intention was to add a second row of even longer train feathers. Marilyne’s pattern has eight strands that are two feathers long in all seed beads. This bird is almost as big as the swan (see further down), so it’s a little squishy given the materials, but very cute. I may yet go back and fill in the train more…
I don’t have a favorite bead bird, but this rooster tugs at my rainbow-loving heart strings the most. He’s so pretty! Marilyne’s pattern uses different colors, but as with all things you make yourself, you decide what the end result will be. Roosters are so pretty. If only they were more quiet!
This Scarlet Macaw is so pretty. I had a little debate with myself over using transparent or opaque red beads, but he’ll be pretty either way you make him. I always meant to put together a little palm tree stand for him to perch on, but I haven’t gotten to it yet. He’s still with me, so it’s still a possibility. Let me know in the comments if you’re interested in seeing that little project. I’m sure I’d document my process and share it. 🙂
Marilyne also had a cool, scarf-wearing penguin that I never made. She also has a pattern for a hen and an eagle whose head I stole to make a hippogryph (we’ll get to the fantasy category eventually).
Next Anja Freese’s book Lovable Beaded Creatures, which contains the patterns for the creatures below…
This swan is quite big and beautiful. And that’s part of the problem! It’s probably one of the largest bead critters I ever made and it suffers a lot from droop because it’s so heavy. I’d use a thicker wire whenever possible when making this one.
Anja’s book also has patterns for a cheesy duck, a Great Blue Turaco, a Marvelous Spatuletail, a (wise) owl, a penguin and its baby, and a song bird that I never made.
I found an image of a beaded rubber chicken over a decade ago. It had no watermark and I was unable to image search it back to the original designer. I loved it so much I made some of my own. However, I never wore these earrings because I knew they’d be torn into pieces by my long hair within a day. I really need to look into making these with string because I would love a rubber chicken bracelet…
Me (Lisa ;))
When it came to beading my first hummingbird, I had to make one that reminded me of home. My dad maintains two hummingbird feeders and we only get the ruby-throated hummingbirds in them (unless you count the occasional wasp). Since no one else had a pattern for my particular breed of hummer, I learned a little from their patterns and made my own with a lot more flare for the wings and tail. Then I ended up giving this little guy to my dad. I keep playing with the idea of making more patterns for other hummingbird breeds, but the time for that hasn’t come yet.
This is the third group of bead animals I’ve restored to the site (see: ocean/water and misc. mammals). We still have bugs/butterflies, fantasy/mythical, and my bead spiders to go! In case you were curious about my nail art, here are four favorites that include some of the animals we looked at today.
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