Add a DIY Beaded Lizard Keychain to Your Backpack

This beaded lizard is simple to make and requires no special beadwork skill or knowledge. It can be done by any age level and is a favorite for summer camp craft sessions, scout group crafts, back-to-school crafts or any time you need to keep hands busy. To adapt this craft to different age levels, you can vary the type and size of beads you use.

Print out or open the beaded lizard pattern in a separate window and follow along with these step by step instructions.

Choosing Beads for a Beaded Lizard

The type of beads and type of string or cord you choose for your beaded lizard will determine the size and finished look–and also the suitable age group. Large rounded beads, such as pony beads, work well for young crafters who are just getting familiar with stringing or get frustrated easily. They also work well for older crafters who have trouble seeing the small holes of other beads.

Perler beads, also called fuse beads, are a less traditional choice for this craft, but many camps, schools or parents have buckets full of them, so they are worth giving a try. They also come in the best assortment of colors! They are slightly smaller than pony beads with a shape that’s similar to Japanese cylinder beads, but on a much larger scale.

Another less traditional choice, but the one used for this example, is size 6 glass beads, also called E beads. They are smaller than the other two options and come in a wide variety of colors and sizes. These beads are a great inexpensive option and give more satisfaction for a slightly more experienced crafter–and may even make older children want to craft with their younger siblings.

Gather Your Materials

For each beaded lizard, you will need at least one to two yards of bead cord. The cord must easily fit through the bead twice. One yard of cord is suitable if you are using small beads. More cord is required with larger Pony beads.

In addition, you will need small amounts (less than thirty) of two colors of beads and two more beads of a different color for the lizard eyes.

Start Stringing Beads in the Middle

Unlike most projects, the beaded lizard begins in the middle of the thread or cord. Pick up one bead and slide it to the center, so you have two equal lengths of cord on either side.

Put Both Cord Ends Through the Beads

Pick up the first two beads of the second row on one side of the thread. Keep them toward the thread end.

Now pick up the other thread end and go through the beads in the opposite direction. The beads should look like the picture, with the thread going in each side of the beads and the opposite thread ends coming out the side of the beads.

Making Lizard Legs

You will use the cord from each side to make each of the lizard legs. The right cord will make the right leg, the left cord will be used to make the left leg. Pick up two beads of the first color and three beads of the second color for each leg.

Continue Adding Beads

Continue the body of the lizard the same way you started in the beginning, by picking up the correct number of beads and placing the cord from the other side through the beads in the opposite direction.

Repeat the instructions above for the back legs of the lizard.

Add a Tail and Knot the Thread

Add one bead at a time to make the lizard tail. When you are done, you can knot your threads using either a square knot or overhand knot. I like to use an overhand knot because I think it stays tight better.

Slide the Overhand Knot Close to the Beads

To slide an overhand knot close to the beads, insert a piece of wire or other pointy object into the knot to help slide it into place. This will keep the knot slightly unfastened so you can manipulate it into place before removing the wire and tightening the knot for good.

Add a Key Ring to Finish

Add a key ring between the two cords and tie another square or overhand knot to secure it in place. I used a large jump ring to hold the key, held in place by another overhand knot. Add your key and you are ready to go.