Making Bead People

The first time I experienced bead people, it was at a booth at our local farmer’s market with my youngest daughter.  Not only were they selling them, but they let people sit down and learn how to make one.  You could buy the one you made, or leave it there and they would sell it, giving a percentage of the sale to a good cause.  The bead people booth at the farmers market is always very busy and popular, the lady that runs it is super gracious and her kids are great at walking through the process of how to make a bead person.

  My daughter had a great time making a bead person, and that very day we ran to Walmart to buy supplies to make our own at home.  Boy, am I glad I did!  It is amazing how many hours my kids have spent making these this summer.  It is a quiet project that takes some concentration, but even my 7 year old can do it with no help.  We have had every neighbour kid we know come over and make one, and even my adult friends are drawn to the table when the supplies are sitting out, and start making one.

I had to laugh when my sister, Kathy, started to make a bead person one evening when visiting.  She is so NOT the crafty type, but there she sat making a bead person.  The minute I saw her pick up a bead, I knew her person would have some sort of funny twist, and I also knew there was a good chance that twist would be in questionable taste, especially when she would not show anyone until she was finished.  I was right.  She somehow figured out how to make “bead bosom’s” on her bead person, which made my girls giggle.  Hmm, I wonder what she did with it…it is probably on her key chain.:)

We have done all  kinds of things with these little bead people.  We have made necklaces with chain or ribbon.  We have made key chains, bookmarks, and bead people earrings.  They are cute sitting on top of a gift box that is wrapped in brown kraft paper, and embellished with a bead person tied on with raffia.

How To Make A Bead Person
Here is what you will need:
~Large, medium and small beads
~Findings (see below)
~Round nosed pliers

These beads are at Walmart and cost $9.99.  They are the perfect size for bead people bodies and heads. 
These are at Walmart in the jewelry making/craft area.  They are $1.99.
This tool is a must.  You can also find it in the same section at Walmart for $9.99. 
You will need 3 of these findings per bead person, one with a loop at the top and two that look like straight pins.  Both types come in the package above.
On To The “How To” Part:
This particular tool has a wire cutter feature.  You will need to take that little flat head off the 2 findings that look like straight pins.  You could just use scissors.
Take one of the straight findings, hold it in the center with the round nose pliers, and use fingers to gently push down, making an upside down “v” for the legs.
For the arms, take the other straight finding, hold it a bit off center with the pliers, and loop it once around pliers to make a loop.

Now you have all wire parts prepared for you bead person
Now it is time to choose your beads.  The amount you need depends on the size of the beads, but you will need 2 medium or one large bead for the torso, a medium bead for the head, a medium bead for the hat (if making a hat), and 3-4 small beads for each limb.
Put torso beads onto the finding with the loop, pointing the loop downward.  Put “v” shaped finding through the loop.  Add arms on top of torso beads.

 Add small neck bead (not pictured above), head and hat bead above the arms.
Using the round nosed pliers, bend a loop above the hat.
Squeeze it closed with the pliers.
Add beads for leg and foot/shoe.  Make a loop with pliers to hold the beads on.  Repeat with other leg.

Add the arm beads, make loops to hold them on.

Then say hello to your new bead person!

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  • Gigi
    November 18, 2011 at 4:47 am

    Made 3 of these tonight. Adorable, will give to my grandkids to use as a necklace, bookmark, ???? thanks it was fun, and I used my stash of old costume jewelry

  • Jamie Lee
    November 14, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    Hi Amy,
    My name is Jamie Lee and I am actually the “grandmother” of this project. The woman you met at the Farmers Market is my daughter.

    I love that you are all enjoying the Bead People. It is actually an international Peace project–so far over 7000 Bead People have carried their message to 35 nations. The Bead People are not only cute but meaningful, and I hope you will direct people to our site so they can read the story. We ask people making them to please include the story book and to help us spread a message of peace and tolerance. If you want to purchase the little books wholesale to include with your give aways, you can reach me at or visit our site at I hope you will join us in making the Bead People a symbol of peace worldwide. Jamie

  • Lenetta @ Nettacow
    August 22, 2010 at 3:11 am

    Very fun! I linked to these on my weekly roundup – thanks for sharing!

    PS – I live in NE too. :>)

  • Steph @ somewhatsimple
    August 21, 2010 at 6:13 am

    I love this idea! I will be featuring it on on Tuesday, Aug 24th. Thanks for sharing!

  • Erin
    August 10, 2010 at 2:21 am

    These are so dang cute! I can’t wait to shwo my kids these. They will flip!

  • Melissa
    August 5, 2010 at 9:17 pm

    These are super cute and I know my girls would spend hours making them!!

  • ★All Thingz Related★
    August 4, 2010 at 6:06 pm

    Nice to have you join us for Anything Related! ~Bridgette

  • Kelly Morris
    August 3, 2010 at 2:21 am

    Totally cute! I’m like your sister, so NOT crafty, but I have daughters who are. I might pick up the supplies this week at Walmart.

    Thanks for the cute idea!

  • Megan
    August 3, 2010 at 2:32 am

    those are so super cute!

    and I *heart* your sister for making one with “bead bosoms” hahahahahahaaa!!!!

  • Annesphamily
    August 3, 2010 at 12:57 am

    What a cute bead person! Thanks for the tutorial. I need to give this to my daughter Hannah. She is the crafty one here. Anne

  • Marie @ Chocolate-Covered Chaos
    August 3, 2010 at 12:52 am

    These are so cute! Thanks for sharing this craft…I think my kiddos will enjoy it!

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