Crafts using Recycled Materials
Shiny Paper Beads
What you will make:
See how easy it is to recycle paper scraps and magazines to make
colorful paper beads. After winding the paper into beads and varnishing
them for a shiny finish and durability, the beads can be strung into
bracelets, necklaces and even beaded room dividers!
This craft is well-suited for family, group or classroom
craft time, and is best done in two sessions. Though with a little preparation by the adult or teen leader,
along with skipping the varnish step, a bracelet can be completed in
one craft time.
Related craft: See how to make paper beads with
soda straw centers in the
Beads Necklace craft project.
Here's what you need:
- Scraps of colorful paper (at least 8" long) or colorful magazine
- Pen or pencil
- For making a bracelet: Elastic bead cord (0.8
mm), glass or wood
- Water-based varnish
- Paint brush
- Styrofoam plate or wood blocks
- Optional: Craft knife and cutting mat
This project is rated EASY to do.
How to Make a Shiny Paper Bead Bracelet
Read all of the steps before starting.
- Step 1: Project Preparation
Gather the materials needed for making the paper beads and
bracelet. If you
are doing this project with a group of children, precut the
strips of paper and setup materials and tools for each child.
- Step 2: Select and Cut Paper
Select scraps of paper or magazine pages to make your paper
beads. Select colorful paper that is patterned or plain. You need
paper that is at least 8" long that can be cut into triangles that
are ½" wide at the base and 8" to 12" in length.
To cut the triangles, turn the paper with the back up. Along the
top edge, measure and make marks at ½" (12 mm) intervals. On
the bottom edge make the first mark at ¼" (6 mm) then mark ½"
intervals from there. Join the marks to form long triangles then cut
on these lines to create the bead strips. (Discard the first and
last odd shaped strips.)
Tip: Adults and teens can use a craft knife,
ruler and cutting mat to cut the bead strips more quickly. There is
no need to draw lines that join the marks, just line-up the ruler on
the marks and cut. Caution craft knifes can be dangerous and
should only be used by adults or teens.
- Step 3: Roll Beads
Starting at the base of the triangle, with the strip backside
up, roll the bead strip over the middle of a toothpick. Continue
winding the paper tightly on the toothpick using your thumb and
middle finger. Apply glue to the final inch or two of the bead
strip and complete the winding. Don't worry about excess glue,
just rub it over the bead.
Remove the bead from the toothpick and set aside while you roll
more beads. A bracelet needs 8 to 16 beads depending on the size
of the bracelet and whether you add glass or wood beads to your
Tip: Make the bead strip easier to wind by
curling the end first. Curl paper by holding the paper and
toothpick between your thumb and index finger with the point of
the triangle in your other hand. Draw the toothpick along the
paper strip towards the base with firm pressure.
- Step 4: Varnish Beads (optional)
To make your beads shiny and more durable, paint them with two
coats of varnish. Put the bead on a toothpick before you paint it.
Allow the varnish to dry between coats according to product
You will need to setup a drying station for your beads. You can
turn a Styrofoam plate facedown and stick beads on toothpicks into
the plate. Another option is to place the toothpicks with the wet
beads across two wood blocks that are a couple of inches apart.
- Step 5: String Bracelet
Cut a 10" length of 0.8 mm elastic bead cord. Lay out your paper
beads in the order you want on the bracelet, including glass or wood
beads as you like. Slide the beads onto the elastic cord. Check the
bracelet length and add or subtract beads to fit your wrist. When
you are satisfied with the length of the bracelet and arrangement of
beads, tie the ends of the cord into a square knot and cut the cord
¼" from the knot.
That's it! Make as may bracelets as you like and maybe a matching necklace.
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