Pony beads are an ideal medium with which to create handcrafted Valentine gifts and this article will outline and describe a few to get you started. A heart motif can be achieved with any size of pony bead on a thirteen by thirteen beaded square, using 169 beads: 138 white and 31 red. If you want to make the motif heart shaped, just taper the pattern symmetrically. It will use significantly fewer beads too, just 60 white and 31 red. This design can then be used for the following projects, in red and white, or any other colourway you prefer.
♣ Key Rings are one of the most popular items to be made using pony beads and if using large, easy to handle beads and large gauge thread which has had the ends stiffened with a couple of coats of PVA white glue, even quite young children can make this design up pretty quickly. After attaching your beading cord to a large split ring, use the basic pattern above to create an ideal gift for a teacher or other adult.
♣ Safety Pin Brooches - use long headpins or eye pins to thread the beads onto the bar of safety pins. You will need to check that the diameter of you bead is small enough to be accommodated by the length of the bar of your safety pin. To make sure the motif stays on the pin when the clasp is opened, you will need to use two pair of pliers to open the circular spring and then crimp it closed again.
♣ Pendants can be created with this pattern and then strung onto a ‘chain’ made of beads in complimentary colours. A large metal crimp bead makes a neater and less fiddly way of joining the two ends of your cord together, but before doing so, ensure the finished necklace is long enough to go over the head of the recipient comfortably.
♣ Valentine Bracelets can be created using pony beads by repeating the same heart motif onto elastic thread, or simply by threading a single row of beads onto elastic. Pastel coloured ones with messages written on them, like love heart sweets are great. It is much easier to tie elastic thread into a neat knot for finishing, although a helping hand from an adult can often save kids from the frustration of their beads falling off the thread.
♣ Book Thongs are a neat and original alternative to flat book marks made of paper leather or fabric. A Valentine book thong is basically created by crafting one of the motifs at either end of a single piece of cord that is slightly longer than the largest paperback on your bookshelf! The beads stick out at either end and the cord marks the place in the book. If time is short, Valentine book thongs can also be made more easily by simply threading red and white heart shaped beads onto the ends of the cord and knotting them into place.
A heart motif is great one to begin with when learning or teaching beading with pony beads. These ideas will provide many happy hours of crafting for Valentine Day gifts.