64 Craft sticks
This would make a good Christmas or Mother's Day present or use them at a Blue and Gold Banquet.
Sometimes called a trivet, this project is useful and will last a long time. To make it you will need about 64 craft sticks (Popsicle sticks), 64 pony beads, and five feet of thin gauge wire (string can also be used). The pony beads add the color, so choose attractive beads. They could be the same or different colors. The craft sticks don't have to be the regular style, as long as they are about 3/8"x5".
Drill two 1/8" holes in each craft stick. One hole should be in the middle of the stick, the other should be about 1/4 inch from the end. Since there are so many sticks to drill (especially if you are doing this for a den), it is best to set up a jig so that all the holes will be at the same location. This could be as simple as clamping a couple of pieces of wood in an "L" shape and using a template. I found that I could drill about 8 sticks at a time using this type of setup.
After all the sticks have been drilled, cut the wire into two pieces - a two foot piece and a three foot piece. Thread all the craft sticks on the two foot wire through the hole at the end of the stick. Twist the two ends together to prevent the sticks from coming off.
Next thread the three foot wire through the hole in the middle of each craft stick, but this time place a bead between each stick.
Now comes the hard part. It is best to work on a flat surface. Bend a small secure loop in one end of both wires. Pull the wire so that the loop is next to the craft stick. Put the opposite end of the wire through the small loop and pull the wire through it to bring the craft sticks together. The project should now be a flat circle. If the project does not lay flat on the surface you may need to add or remove some of the craft sticks and beads. When you have the project laying flat and in a circle, you are ready to twist the two wires together. Try your best to hide the wire.
I have made a couple variations of this project. These are smaller and could be used as a cup holder or neckerchief slide.
For the first variation, I used the mini colored craft sticks. These are about 1/4"x3". They came in six colors - red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple. Cut the red one in half, the orange and purple 1 3/8", yellow and blue 1 1/4", and green 1 1/8". Drill a 1/16" hole 1/8" from the flat end (the end you just cut). Drill another hole 3/4" from the flat end. You will need about 6 sticks of each color. Use small beads about 1/8" inch diameter. Assemble as above keeping the sticks in the order red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple. Use the same number of each color to keep the design symmetric. You can use string instead of wire. Use glue on the knots to make them hold tight. Add a PVC ring if you want to make it a slide.
In the second variation, I used craft foam instead of craft sticks. Cut the foam into 1/4" pieces. The pieces should be uniform in length. The length should be between one and two inches. The number of pieces of foam that you will need depends on the length of the foam and the size of bead. Thirty-six is a good number to start with. Use a needle and thread instead of wire to string the foam strips together. I used red, white, and blue for a Fourth of July slide. Use seed beads or other small bead less than 1/8" in diameter. Assemble as above.