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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Large Bead Frame Tutorial

I painted the side and added the numbers using my labeller

Did you know you can take acabus' apart? I had no clue and I got this idea from one of the many yahoo groups I am on. To make your own (cheaper) bead frame you need:

acabus (I used the Melissa and Doug one for $12)
green paint or permanent marker
black and white paint
paint brush

On the Melissa and Doug acabus there is one screw on each side of the wooden dowel across the top. Unscrew both of those screws. Then on the bottom one of the sides of the acabus has 2 screws holding it in place (the other side has none). Unscrew those too. Now this acabus is well put together and I'm sure it was glued together before it was screwed, so you have to tug and jiggle it around a bit, but that side with the screw will come loose and then you'll be able to pull the wooden dowel and the 10 metal rods and all the beads.

Remove all the beads from the rods and then remove the 1st, 5th, and 9th metal rod from the socket and discard. On the first metal rod (actually the 2nd one, but remember you removed the other one so now it's first), put on 10 of the green beads. On the next one, put on 10 blue beads and on the third one put on ten red beads. Then there should be a space and then repeat that again with 10 green, then 10 red and then 10 blue on the next 3 rods. On the last rod, there is supposed to be 10 green again, however, you are now out of green beads. On the melissa and doug acabus they have natural wood colored beads, so use 10 of those beads and paint them green. If you are lazy, like I was, you can use a green sharpie permenant marker and just color them. It worked great and wasn't messy at all. From a distance you can't even tell that I just colored them, but up close you can (see the last picture on the blog of the close-up). Once they are colored put them on the last rod. Then replace the other side of the acabus and screw it all back into place.

With the white paint, paint the entire front of the left side of the acabus. Then mix the black and the white to make grey and once the white paint is dry paint grey over the white starting below the first 3 metal rods all the way to the bottom so only the top is white. Then once that is dry paint from the below the 6th rod to the bottom with black paint. Lastly, you need to put the numbers on. You can paint them on with red paint. I used my label maker, because, again, I'm lazy and it's less messy. My label maker was only $15 at office depot and I use it to label all the containers I use for my montessori materials so I use it a ton! The numbers are




Anyways, I just thought it was great. I made this and it cost 1/2 the price of buying the cheapest one I could find anywhere on the internet and I also save the $8-15 they charge you for shipping. You could easily make the small bead frame the same way.

made it myself from melissa and doug acabus

montessori large bead frame


Becky said...

It's too bad that the Ikea one doesn't open up the same way. Anyway, love your blog!

Anonymous said...

Great idea! Of course I gave mine (Doug & Melissa Abacus) to Goodwill this summer....

jennwa said...

Great! Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Just found your site. Thanks for all the sharing that you do. The hubby and I just toured a montessori program for our 4.5 next year (opting out of PS for Kinder..) It's amazing all the work you do.
Thanks again

Julia said...

Such a good idea! I've actually collected a list of prices for these at my website (on the Large Bead Frame page in the math section) and some places sell the large bead for pretty reasonable prices. The range on this thing is $13.95-$80.00! What the heck?!

Jessica - Keys of the Universe said...

This is too funny! I was just reading someone else's blog and they linked to this post. I didn't even know this post existed several years ago when I re-made our own Melissa and Doug abacus into a large bead frame (I think I made mine a few months before your post - talk about great minds thinking alike ;) ).

I didn't write a blog post about it until recently. Here I thought I was the first one to write about it ;) I'll have to write another blog post about those "great minds"! :)

I DO love how these abacuses are made - so easy to modify!