I made a bunch, i'm contemplating giving one to Judy, as a thank you for all her awesome work with my kiddos, which would still leave me with 3 which i think is enough. Together, it cost about $12 with no sales or coupons at JoAnne's so not bad for 4 abaci!
What you need:
50 blue beads (i ran out and used green for 2) and 50 yellow beads for each abacus
I bought a 1 lb packaged of assorted ones for $6
10 1/8 inch dowels. I bought 2 packs of 22 for $1 each
4 large craft sticks per abacus. they are like popsicle sticks but thinner and wider.
Glue gun and LOTS of glue sticks. i used more than i expcted, but i was careful to blob it on, that stuff is like cement if you blob on enough.
So all you do is sandwich the dowels between the two craft sticks liberally slathering with glue gun glue, being careful to work quickly, as it dries fast, then add the beads, then add the other two craft sticks. My dowels came in about 12 inch segments. with the blue beaded ones, i cut off about an inch and a half, but by the time i got to the green i was impatient and didn't. I'm not sure it matters either way.
I"m pleased with how they turned out! they are super strong :)