I put off making the golden bead material for a very long time. It just seemed so laborious, so expensive and time consuming. And I kept hoping that I'd find something else to use in its place. Nope. I really needed the golden bead material. So I just had to bite the bullet and make it.
Luckily, I came upon an idea that I believe saved me tons of time, money and effort.
Instead of using "golden beads" and metal wire, I used black pony beads (none of the craft stores had gold) and black plastic string as pictured below:
The spool of plastic string cost me $2.00 and a bag of 720 beads cost me about $4. I bought 3 bags of beads. It is so quick and easy to string up 10 beads and double knot them on each end. They aren't perfect, of course. They're definitely not like the real thing. But they convey the same concept and I think it's okay to teach our kids to be flexible and make do with what is available to us in any given situation.
So, when it was time to make a hundred square, I used the same techniques as described (in French) on this site: http://aidalavie.blogspot.com/ but I used white pipe cleaners instead. Again, I paid about $2 for a pack of 100 pipe cleaners and they are very easy to work with. I didn't even really need pliers to finish off the ends.
Here's a hundred bar all strung together
Again, they aren't fancy, but they do the job and they were very inexpensive and MUCH easier to make than if I were to use wire.