I realised that a lot of my beaded box designs are quite ‘pretty’ or ‘feminine’. So, I wanted to try and create a better balance here. I actually came up with the idea for a Top Gun beaded box a couple of years ago. But it has taken me all this time to create a design that does justice to the idea. So, here it is: a beaded box for anyone who loves planes, loves Top Gun, or maybe even loves Tom Cruise!
You will need size 11 seed beads to make the plane. The pattern gives you the exact colours that I used (they are all Miyuki brand).
In order to create a box that felt proportionally ‘right’, I used size 10/0 Delicas. Again, the pattern gives you the exact quantities and bead counts.
Now, if you wish to make this with size 11/0 Delicas, you can. But you have a couple of options. You can keep to the same pattern, which will give you a smaller box. So, you should then use size 15/0 seed beads to make the plane. Or, I have given you an additional PDF with instructions for scaling up the box, and a new side pattern, so you can simple make a larger box using size 11/0 delicas. Then, keep the plane the same, with the size 11/0 seed beads.
In addition to these seed beads, you will need two 4mm round beads, and possibly one Rulla bead. I say ‘possibly’ because you have the option of making a plane that you can lift off the lid, or of just stitching your plane direct to the lid. If you want the removable plane, you will need a single Rulla bead.
You need your favourite beading thread – something to give you good tension. My choice is Fireline in 4lb. But if you prefer to use something different, you can.
Both the box and the plane are self-supporting. So, you will need excellent tension to help you achieve this. And the thread you choose can make a difference there, as I explain in this blog post.
Experience and Techniques
The Top Gun beaded box is a very advanced beading project. At least, the box itself is quite simple. But the plane involves a big mix of bead-weaving techniques. You will be asked to use your own initiative, and to solve a lot of problems. So, if you are someone who needs everything spelled out in minute detail, this project is not for you.
You are going to be working mostly in Peyote stitch, but with some elements in brick stitch and square stitch, plus some freeform. In the pattern, I have linked to free resources and also online classes that you can use to learn or improve your skills. So, you have plenty of additional help and back-up. You can also download some free techniques tutorials from here.
About the Top Gun Beaded Box
Believe it or not, the plane on my Top Gun beaded box is actually modeled on the planes used in the film ‘Top Gun 2: Maverick’. They are Super Hornets (I believe)…in case you’re wondering.
Now, I am aware that a plane aficionado probably wouldn’t look at my beaded version and say, ‘Oh, there’s an F/A-18 Super Hornet’. But, I believe I have created something that looks like a modern military jet. It’s about 4″ long.
I based the design for the box on the ‘Simpson’s Sky’. Basically, it represents a beautiful sunny day with a little fair-weather cloud. And, by creating a much taller box, I hoped to give the impression of altitude. So, the finished box is around 2″ wide and 3″ high. The complete construction (box and plane) is about 4″ tall.
The final element that may not be apparent from the photos, is that you can remove the plane. So, if you have a desire to fly a beaded plane around your room, whilst mimicking the sound of a military jet – or singing the Top Gun anthem – you can. And there’s no judgment from me!
If you want to see all of that in action, then check out my video.
The pattern gives you 20 pages of detailed instructions, including photos and diagrams to illustrate thread paths. You get a word chart and a pattern chart for the box sides. Plus links to other free resources if you need extra help. This is all in the main pattern. You also get a second PDF with a 5-page guide to making this design with size 11/0 delicas if you don’t have access to, or don’t wish to use the size 10/0s. So, I think I’ve got you covered from all angles!