DIYdiy projectshalligan

diy project: bead-and-pin baskets

by Halligan

Bead-and-pin baskets became a popular craft in the 50s and 60s. The baskets are made entirely out of safety pins, cheap craft-store beads and wire. You can find vintage versions at flea markets, eBay or Etsy for $10 to $25. I decorate my mantel every spring season with my collection of these beaded treasures and have always wanted to make one myself. For this month’s DIY, I broke down the larger, more intricate forms into a smaller easy-to-make gift size. Happy spring! — Halligan

CLICK HERE for the full how-to after the jump!


  • 2 pair of flat-nose pliers
  • wire cutters


  • 18 large safety pins
  • beads and sequins (sequins optional). I found the best variety at Jo-Ann Fabrics. You have to use the cheap crafty beads with large holes to be sure they thread on to your safety pins. The beads on your base circle must be about 1/3 smaller than the ones on your top circle. You need at least 18 large beads.
  • wire


1. String beads on all 18 safety pins, filling the bars on each pin.

2. Alternate stringing the 18 safety pins and smaller spacing beads on to the wire.

3. Once all 18 pins are on, bend the wire into a loop. Then, using your pliers, tie and twist the wire closed to form a circle.

4. Next, string the opposite end, alternating safety pin ends with the larger spacer beads.

5. Once all pins and large beads are on the wire, pull tight and tie and twist the wire closed using your pliers.

6. Next cut a piece of wire the length you want to make your handle. String the beads on to the wire. Using your pliers, put two small loops on each end of the wire.

7. Wedge the loop between a pin and a large bead and hook around the top wire. Then, using your pliers, press the loop closed. Do this on the opposite side, also.

8. Fill the basket with your favorite treats, and share with a friend.

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  • I’m sorry, but I had to come here and comment. I’m sure these take a long time to make, but really? They look like they came from the dollar store. And not in the “what a bargain” kind of way. Seriously, normally if something’s not my taste, I just let it go, but this looks like I could buy it for 50 cents at a bad import flea market.

  • This would make a wonderful project for kid’s before Easter. I know I always enjoyed these kinds of projects when I was little.

  • These are so whimsical and adorable! I love them and will be making some of these with my crazy collection of beads! My daughter and I were just talking about what to do with all the beads we both have!

  • Ah, I remember making these in girlscouts. They are still a bit too fresh in my mind, but I would love to swap the beads for something else…straws, or noodles, or candy, or gummy bears, or marshmallows…or, what about peeps? Nothing says Easter like a basket made of peeps!
    Hmmm….I may have to groove on this. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • oh my! these are very cool. a nice retro spin on easter- not too cutesy! i can’t wait to make them.

    @ ann, i have to disagree with you!! perhaps in 1950 you could have found these in a dime store, but certainly not a dime store of this era! i’d love to know what bad import flea markets you are shopping too.

  • For a while we had a Christmas tree light that was made this way and lit by a strand of tree lights stuffed inside. I think it’s a great way to add a little kitsch without it being overwhelming–thanks for the tutorial!

  • I really like that idea, never heard of it before, perhaps because i live in germany ;) I think i might try it this weekend with my little sister..

    @ann: i have to disagree with you too, i think those baskets are really cute. If it’s too kitschy for you, you could use different beads that are not all pink and glittery ;)

  • adorable!! i think i will make these with my daughter for her teachers!! and i can make a few extra for my friends!! great craft, halligan!!

  • I love this. What a great way to use up beads. @ann. Have to disagree with you. I believe this is just a basic how to. You can use more imagination and make it even more fun. This was an art that died out like many others unfortunately did.

  • These are so cute! Could also be used for Spring baskets and are very versatile. Thank you for sharing this idea!!

  • This is adorable. I am having a heck of a time finding the tube beads where I live, Joanns have not..Michaels..none..dollar stores..none…today I travel an hour to Hobby Lobby..I will find them!!!!!!!

    Have all the rest of the beads…
    can’t wait to have a few to gift!

  • Very cute. My daisy troop needed to find an idea for their SWAPS. I think this is just what we were looking for!! Thank you!

  • I think this is a wonderful craft idea. I love reusing and repurposing. I went to the dollar store and bought safety pins and to WalMart to pick up some beads. I have some wire and I know I have needle nose pliers and wire cutters somewhere lying around. I just got back to crocheting. Next I’m going to try my hand at some crafts from recycled items I have collected recently. My whole house is going to contain crafted items from recyclables…

  • I think they r beautiful I have made them myself and I’d like to kno myself were u would get these items for .50 cent I bought it all and its pretty pricy so really if u r having such a bad day to say such mean things and u don’t like them then u should just keep it to ur self I mean really how mean can u be

  • I have made other safety pin items; now I am going to try this basket. I still want to come up with a bottom!

  • Very easy and cute. I’ve seen these at thrift stores and wondered how to make them. I am not saying yours is but yes some of them looked tacky that I’ve seen at stores, but isn’t it an older-style craft? I just got a little offended for you by a couple comments made way up top!! Just a teensy rude…

  • Hi, I’m trying to find a basket pattern my Mom used y3arsnago. Do you have any other patterns? I’m definitely going to try this one.

  • I would like to do a much larger scale of the basket as well as larger Christmas trees.

  • I am having trouble finding the beads to do this basket for my grand children i live in Montreal been to Walmart ,Michaels and the dollar store does any one know where i can find the beads in Montreal Thank you Diane