November 22, 2011

DIY Beaded Christmas Spider



The Story:

Why Every Christmas Tree Needs a Spider:


A long time ago in Germany, a mother was busily cleaning for Christmas. The spiders fled to the attic to escape the broom. When the house became quiet the spiders slowly crept downstairs for a peek.

Oh what a beautiful Christmas tree!

In their excitement they scurried up the trunk and out along each branch. They were filled with happiness as they climbed all over the glittering tree. As they climbed, the tree became completely shrouded in their dusty grey spider webs.

When St. Nicholas came with the gifts for the children and saw the tree covered with spider webs, he smiled because saw how happy the spiders were, but he knew how heartbroken the mother would be if she saw the tree covered with the dusty webs.

So he turned the webs to silver and gold. The tree sparkled and shimmered and was even more beautiful than before.
That's why we have tinsel on our tree and every tree should have a Christmas spider in it's branches!

~Author Unknown (and the story varies - sometimes Santa Claus is the leading man)

The Supplies:

1. 4 pieces of 24 gauge wire (approx. 8" long each)
2. 1 eye pin (approx. 2" long)
3. 1 bead cap
4. 1 large bead (for the body)
5. 1 small bead (for the head)
6. Seed beads
7. Bugle beads




The Tools:

1. Needle nose pliers
2. (Optional) Wire cutters

The Time Required:

Once you get the hang of it, no more than 15 minutes per spider.

The Instructions:

First, cut the wire for the spider legs (I recommend doing a bunch at one time).

Wrap all four wires gently around your finger.  Keep them as neat & lined up as possible:

Make a gentle loop, not a kink or bend.

Thread the larger bead onto your eye pin, followed by the wire you've made a loop in, then the bead cap and finally the smaller bead (this will be the spider's body):


Hold the spider body together tightly and adjust the wires so they come out of the bead cap similar to a real spider's legs.  Holding the spider together tightly, trim excess wire from the eye pin (using either your needle nose pliers or wire cutters) leaving enough to create a loop:


To create a loop, use the same steps I outlined in this post about DIY earrings & this post about my DIY pearl & chain necklace.  Bend the wire in one direction then, using your needle nose pliers, gently bend the wire to create a loop in the opposite direction:


Once your spider's body is nice and tight (not wibbly-wobbly), move on to beading the legs.  Thread on one seed bead, then a bugle, then a seed bead . . . until the legs are the "right" length (this is purely subjective).  For this spider, I used one short bugle and three longer bugles.  You can mix it up with size and colour but don't ditch the seed beads because they act as "joints".  When you've threaded a leg, trim the excess wire and close with a loop.  Make sure not to make the legs too tight, or beads might break when you bend the the legs.  But not too loose, either, because you might see gaps.  You'll get the feel for it!  Finish beading all of the legs.


Your spider might look a bit octopus-like when you're done.  Take some time to bend and shape the legs the legs.  It will take some fiddling, but that's the fun part!



And that's it!



Note:

For one-of-a-kind and environmentally friendly-ish spiders, I use some reclaimed beads.  I scour yards sales and flea markets for funky necklaces to take apart and mix those beads with supplies from local bead shops, big box craft stores - even dollar stores.  Click here to see more colour combinations!

24 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing the tutorial Tanya. I look forward to making some of these for my own tree:)

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  2. I hope you post photos of your spiders! I'd love to see how you re-interpret this project :)

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  3. This is great. Thank you for such a great tutorial.

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  4. From the link party page this spider looked real! cool and fun-and never knew the story behind them before this-thanks for sharing :)

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  5. So cool!!! I hope I can squeeze in a little DIY time soon.

    Happy Thanksgiving :) xoxo

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  6. Thanks everyone! Glad you enjoyed this tutorial :)

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  7. Those are too too cute! Thanks for linking them up!

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  8. Thanks Cassie! Glad you hosted such a fabulous linky party ;)

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  9. Wow! You are a Christmas crafting genius! So glad I found your project via Centsational Girl.

    Please stop by for a visit to my blog. I am currently in the midst of a Gifts to Make series.

    Be Merry and Bright!

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  10. I can happily vouch for how insanely gorgeous these are. The attention to detail on the one you posted out to me is spectacular. Thanks again Tanya xx

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  11. Tamsyn, I'm so pleased you like yours! It was so lucky for me that you posted about Christmas decor inspiration, because I used that post to create a spider in colours I hoped would suit.

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  12. wow great looking spider! thanks to Sova beads I got luck b/c of lots of bugle beads I can make these lovely spiders.

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  13. So glad I came across this tutorial! I was looking for some crafts for my family to do after we eat our Thanksgiving meal. My great aunts used to make Christmas spiders in the 70's - now I will start the tradition for my family. :)

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    1. Oh, that sounds like such a fun thing to do with the family! I hope you all have a lovely time!

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  14. Just finished mine! http://i.imgur.com/MPsB3.jpg

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    1. At first as I wasn't able to open the link but this time it worked (yay)! Your spider looks GREAT! I love the pretty colours you chose. I'm so excited that this tutorial was helpful. Are you addicted and planning on making a zillion more? (It starts with one . . . ) CONGRATS!

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  15. Wow looks great! I love the legend too! :)

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  16. what a lovely project! i actually collect antique christmas spiders. they get a tree of their very own and a special place in the foyer each year. so lovely!

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    1. I didn't realize there were antique Christmas spiders to collect. They must look so gorgeous en masse!!

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  17. Thank you for this! My three year old daughter wrote her letter to Santa tonight and the first thing she said is she wants a spider...what kid asks for a spider?! LOL...down to our last week and currently living in Germany I don't have time to order one already made, all I could think of was to make her one of these Christmas Spiders and your DIY is the most thorough I have seen! I will be using your instructions - thank you so much for sharing! Her Christmas spider will be the best spider she can get for years of tradition to come!

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    1. You've made my day!! I'm so happy to hear that your daughter will get the spider she's been dreaming of. So cute that she asked for a spider! I hope you have fun making one. A warning: it's addictive :)

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    2. Every crafty addiction I have started with a great teacher!! They are the best addictions to have when it comes to spending money and making memories! :)

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  18. Love it, going to try my hand at making one this afternoon. Antique Christmas Spiders, now that sounds like a cool hobby!!!!! Thank you for the tutorial!

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