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Design on a Dime: Beaded Starfish

It’s Summer! Yay!

Everyone loves summer, except possibly Snow Miser and polar bears. I am fortunate enough to live in a city where it’s mostly summer, most of the time. During the times when it isn’t summer, its mostly spring. We do also have approximately four days (not consecutively, of course) during an ambiguous season I call “early spring,” where it might be cold enough to justify saying, “hey, it feels a bit nippy out. I think I’ll just pop on a hoodie.”*

starfish whiteLR

For those of you living in more wintery climes, I feel your pain during non-summer. I am, after all, not a San Diego native, so I totally get it. I grew up in a city, which, according to current truth-in-advertising regulations, should have been called “Snow Town.” Winters seemed to drag on forever in Snow Town, which in turn, made summer that much sweeter.

And some people claim to have it even worse than Snow Town residents. For example, my Canadian pal, “The Elk” refuses to do anything productive whatsoever during the months of June, July or August, citing the ubiquitous Canadian national excuse of “it’s summer” as a valid reason to shirk any and all responsibilities and obligations. Apparently, Canadians are forced to cram an entire year’s worth of fun activities into three short months, since the legal options during the other nine months of the year are limited only to hockey and/or hibernation.

However you celebrate it, in honor of summer (or as we call it in San Diego, “Wednesday”) I thought I’d make July’s project something summery.

I started with a starfish, which I bought at Michaels. (Contrary to popular belief, starfish are not just laying around along the side of the road here.) You can buy them individually, or if you’ve had a quart of espresso and feel really motivated, you can buy a bagful and make a bunch.

“But what would I do with a bunch?” you ask. Well, actually, they make really great Christmas tree ornaments. Also, they are excellent hostess gifts if you get invited to a foofy party. And trust me, if you give one of these to the hostess at a foofy party, you’re going to get more invitations to foofy parties, so if foofy parties are not your thing, you should probably opt for a boring bottle of wine like everyone else.

I used some gold leaf around the middle to jazz it up, (also available at Michaels) and then a bit of glitter around the edges to jazzercise it even more. I don’t normally get into the whole glitter thing, but sometimes you just have to go for it. I did show a fair amount of restraint, however, because unlike the Kim Kardashians of the world, I believe that you don’t have to use up all the makeup (or in this case, glitter) in your bag, in one huge application.

starfish2LR click me

You’ll also need beads, of course. I started with a variety of seed beads (they come with multiple colors on one hank), added some pearls, and then threw in a couple of amethyst chips and nuggets. Crystal bicones or small shells would look great in this mix, as well. You can easily change the look by substituting different colors and types of beads you already have in your stash—for example, I could totally see going with silver foil and using blue, turquoise and white beads. You could finish with either blue or silver glitter. YUM!

The bead wrapping part is pretty random and there are no real rules other than keeping the beads on the front of the starfish. Just string a mix of beads onto 26 gauge wire and wrap them around the middle and arms of the starfish until the area is filled in. As a general rule, I keep the biggest beads in the center and string them first, then fill in the smaller beads around them.

If you are going to use the starfish as an ornament, you’ll need a loop to hang it from. To make one, simply cut about an inch of wire (18 gauge or heavier) and bend it in half in the middle to form a loop. Attach it to the tip of a starfish arm, on the back side, using a glue gun. (Don’t pretend you’re too cool to own a glue gun. I know you have one.)

If you’d like a full set of FREE instructions, you know what to do. (yeah, click the photo.)

If you need me, I’ll be at the beach.

*We also have an entire season called “FIRE,” but that isn’t so pleasant so I neglected to bring it up.

Erin Strother

About Erin Strother

Erin Strother is a full-time graphic designer with an obsession for jewelry design living in southern California with her long-suffering husband George and their disobedient dog Swiffer. She has won 6 Pulitzer prizes, an Academy Award for “Best Virtual Sound Editing,” $4 in the California State Lottery, and other prizes too numerous to mention. She is currently working on her first novel, “The Summoning Circle.” (Really!) See more of her work at http://www.studioEgraphics.com and http://www.etsy.com/shop/StudioEgallery.