Binary Code Necklace

Thinking & Engaging
Thinking & Engaging

A crafty activity that gets children and youth to visually understand the numbers that make all of their favourite devices work.


  • Black and white beads
  • Third bead colour of your choice
  • Black marker
  • String
  • Scissors


Everything inside a computer is based on numbers. A computer doesn’t recognize an internet picture of a cat as a cat; it only knows the series of 0’s and 1’s that make up the image of a cat. It’s the order that the 0’s and 1’s appear in that tell the computer the colour something should be, the sound it should make, the size it should be, etc. This series of 0’s and 1’s are referred to as binary code (binary means two) and it’s the way computers interpret images, languages, and sounds. The 0’s and 1’s are called bits and in this crafty activity we will spell out our names in computer language with white beads representing “1” and black beads representing “0”.


  1. Have the participants write his/her first name vertically along the left side of the Binary Name sheet.
  2. Find the first letter of the name on the Binary Code Card and colour in squares next to the letter on the Binary Name Sheet just like the squares on the Binary Code Card. Do this for every letter of their name.
  3. Now the child has the beading pattern for their necklace. Cut a piece of string about twice the circumference of the child’s neck. String the black and white beads onto the string according to black and white squares on the Binary Name Sheet.
  4. Use the third bead colour as a spacer between the binary coded letters. There should be a coloured bead in between every 8 black and white beads.
  5. Tie the completed necklace around the child’s neck, leaving a loose fit, and trim off the excess string.


  • Increase the difficulty by creating other words or even sentences.


  • Participants could get frustrated trying to understand binary codes and coordinating it with letter. Support them by explaining the instructions slowly and encouraging patience throughout.


The order of the “0s” and “1s” is important. If even one part of the binary code is different, it could mean an entirely different letter or word or even the entire message could be misunderstood. This is super important for computers in order to have them functioning properly. Imagine what could happen if all the “bits” in a computer’s binary code were “0s”?

L., Cynthia. “Activity Day Girls Craft Idea: Binary Code Necklace.” By Common Consent. Last updated October 19, 2014. Retrieved May