How do you turn junk mail, used wrapping paper, old magazines, or scraps of unused wallpaper into beautiful jewelry or decorations for your home? You can create colorful, unique paper beads easily and very inexpensively out of these unwanted items that would usually end up in the recycling center or a landfill.
With a little creativity and a little time, creating paper beads is easy and a great hobby for adults and children.
The basic instructions for creating paper beads are:
- Gather your supplies. You will need:
Cardboard to make a template
A box of toothpicks
A bottle of glue or a glue stick
A Styrofoam block
Paper used wrapping paper, junk mail, old magazines, glossy inserts from the
newspaper, old wallpaper, or anything with a colorful design on it. You can buy paper
if you want from a craft store, but it would certainly be environmentally and
financially more sensible to use paper already lying around the house.
Clear fingernail polish (optional)
- Create a cardboard template. Make a triangle with the bottom 1 Â¼ inches in width and
10 inches high.
- Trace a triangle from your template onto your paper. Carefully cut it out.
- Make a test bead to make sure the bead is the size you want. Take the triangle-shaped
paper that you cut out and wrap it tightly twice around a toothpick, making sure the
print side of the paper is on the outside. Then put glue on the remainder of the wrong
side of the paper. Wrap the remainder of the paper very evenly and tightly around the
toothpick. Put a drop of glue on the very tip before the final wrap around to ensure it is
secure. An optional final step is to coat the bead with clear nail polish. This makes it
sturdier and gives it a shiny finish. Push the toothpick in the foam block until the bead
dries then slide it off. Your bead is finished.
- If you like the size of the bead, continue to make beads until you have enough for your
project. If you don’t like the size, adjust your template until you have the size you
You might also consider making beads in various sizes for different projects.
There are many different things you can create with your beads. Try some of these ideas:
- String them onto a necklace. Use yarn, leather, necklace wire or ribbon to create the
look you want. This is a great project for kids. They can make paper beads in their
school or team colors and create necklaces for themselves and their friends or
- Use holiday colors to make strings of decorative beads. You can make strings of beads
in red, green, gold, or silver (or a combination of them) to use on your Christmas tree.
This could be a great family project. With a bit of time invested, you could end up with
a great family heirloom that everyone is proud of year after year.
- String the beads together to make funky beaded curtains for windows or doorways.
- Make them as a craft at kids parties. Instead of using toothpicks to roll the paper onto,
use drinking straws. The larger size will make it easier for the kids to
handle and the larger hole in the middle make it easier for them to string the beads.
You can come up with many other ideas for your paper beads. Experiment with different papers, sizes and colors and see how creative you can become.