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Making Paper Beads

finished bracelet

Paper bead making is a fun, eco-friendly craft. What a great way to create beautiful jewelry, embellishments, and decorations using colorful recycled paper such as magazines and junk mail. This is a guide about making paper beads.


Solutions: Making Paper Beads

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Magazine Bead Jewelry

I have got lots of old magazines at home so I thought of making something out of them instead of throwing them away. I remember when I was in high school, one of my teachers taught us how to make accessories from magazines to add a little touch to our costume for the Panangbenga Flower Festival Street Dancing Parade.

Back then, we made it simple because we only wore it once, but now I add some things to it. I don't really know anything about jewelry making, but I learned the basics from YouTube. I am so satisfied with the outcome of my first jewelry project.

Approximate Time: 45 minutes to 1 hour


For making beads:

  • old glossy magazine
  • scissors
  • ruler
  • pencil
  • toothpick or blunt needle
  • glue
  • clear acrylic paint or nail polish

For the earrings:

  • 2 headpins
  • 2 eyepins
  • 2 fish hook ear wires
  • 8 small glass beads, 2 small magazine beads, 2 big magazine beads
  • wire cutters and chain nose pliers

For the bracelet and necklace:

  • magazine beads
  • thick cotton yarn (3 or 4 ply), elastic cord, or string wire
  • clasp
  • loops
  • blunt needle
Materials for making beads, magazine, glue, scissors, nail polish, etc.


Making the beads:
Note: If you want a longer size beads, make the base wider and if you want shorter beads, make the base narrower. If you want wider diameter size beads, use thicker paper magazine and vice versa.

    thin strips of magazine cut into long skinny triangles

  1. The appearance of the cut magazine should be triangular in shape. Measure the base for your desired size of beads and mark it with a pencil. Draw a line from that mark you made up to the tip of the magazine. Then cut.
  2. Roll the cut magazine onto the toothpick or blunt needle from the base to the tip. Secure it with glue.
  3. rolling magazine strip around a toothpick

  4. Paint all the beads you made with clear acrylic paint or nail polish to make it shiny.
  5. rolled magazine beads

    Caution: When using the nail polish, use a mask because the fumes are so strong.
    *You can use any paint color you desire. I did not use colored paint on my beads because I used multicolored magazine pages and I liked it the way it is.

pliers and earring assembly laid out on a table

Earring assembly:
Lower part (make two)

  1. Using headpin, string a small glass bead, small magazine bead, and then the other small glass bead.
  2. headpin wire with small glass bead small magazine bead and another small glass bead
  3. Use chain nose pliers to bend (90 degrees) the headpin wire just above the last bead.
  4. Lay the bent wire parallel to your thumb nail, towards you. after bending headpin wire 90 degrees
  5. Then use the chain nose pliers to roll the wire away from you to make a loop.
  6. wire hook after bending loop in headpin wire
  7. Don't close it completely yet until you have put/inserted the lower loop of the upper part of the earring you will make.
closeup attaching larger bead to hook on bead 1 with hook open

Upper part (make two)

  1. Using eyepin, string small glass bead, big magazine bead, and then the other small glass bead.
  2. Do the same procedure you did in lower part (step 2 and 3).
bead 1 attached to larger bead hook closed
  • Then insert the loop of your fish hook ear wire into the upper loop of the *upper part. Close loop. headpin wire inserted into ring on fish hook ear wire finished pair of earrings

    Bracelet assembly:

    1. Measure your wrist so you'll know how long a piece of cotton yarn you need, but add an extra 1.5 to 2 inches on both ends before cutting. (You need the extra in tying a knot into the clasp and loop.)
    2. String the beads.
    3. Put clasp on one end and loop on one end. Tie a knot 3 to 4 times to make it stronger. Don't cut the excess yarn. Use blunt needle to hide it into the beads.

    4. Note: I used thick 3 ply cotton yarn as an alternative because I don't have string wire. I think string wire is more durable. You can also use elastic cord (for this, you don't need clasp and loop).
    finished bracelet

    Necklace assembly:

    1. Cut a piece of cotton yarn according to your desired necklace length. Add an extra 1.5 to 2 inches (same as in bracelet assembly).
    2. Repeat steps 2 and 3 of bracelet assembly. I did a 24 inch necklace
    complete set, necklace, bracelet, and two pairs of earrings

    By Nelly from Estacada, OR

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  • Paper Bead Jewelry

    Making Paper Beads FinishedCraft lovely jewelry from beads you hand make using paper or fabric!

    Approximate Time: 30 minutes to 1 hour


    • Paper
    • Glue
    • Scissors or rotary cutter
    • Ruler
    • Bead roller tool or toothpick
    • Cording/thread or elastic to string beads
    • Clearcoat


    1. Select the paper you want to use for your beads. Almost any paper will work; newspaper, magazines, road maps, sales flyers, brochures, scrapbook paper etc. (Strips of fabric may be used in place of the paper if preferred.) Making Paper Beads Supplies

    2. Using scissors or your rotary cutter/mat cut paper strips into long triangle shapes. Vary the width and length of the strips to see what size strip produces the size and shape beads that you like (or simply make a variety of sizes and shapes). Making Paper Beads 1

    3. Once the paper strip has been cut, place a bit of glue down the length on the WRONG side (the side you do not want to see on the outside of your bead) of the strip being sure to leave the wider end of the paper strip glue free for the first inch or so.

    4. Then begin rolling the paper strip (from the wide end to the narrow). I use a bead roller tool purchased online. The tool makes rolling the bead very easy and a bit faster. A toothpick or plastic coffee stirrer can also be used. Making Paper Beads 3

    5. Roll the paper strip up being careful to adjust the paper as you roll to get the shape bead you prefer.

    6. Once the bead has been rolled, gently remove the paper bead from the bead roller tool or toothpick. Just slide it right off.

    7. The bead can then be coated with varnish, clear nail polish, mod-podge or even a glue/water mixture to provide a shiny, protective coating.

    8. After applying the clearcoat, I usually insert a toothpick into one end of the bead and stick the toothpick/bead into a styrofoam block while the bead drys.

    9. Allow the beads to dry fully before stringing onto heavy thread, elastic or wire to make a variety of necklaces, bracelets and earrings!
    These beads are so pretty it is hard to believe they are recycled from free paper sources.

    Try it. Soon you will have jewelry to match every outfit. The beaded jewelry makes great Christmas gifts as well.

    By Pam from McMinnville, TN

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    How To Make Paper Beads

    Making paper beads is an easy, fun, and timeless craft activity. You can use the beads for jewelry, decoration, or anything else you usually use beads for. This is a great way to recycle paper, especially all that useless junk mail that piles up. It's also fun for kids to learn, and easy enough that most catch on to the technique quickly. Paper Beads Bracelet Finished

    Approximate Time: 3 minutes to 3 hours!


    • paper
    • scissors
    • glue
    • needle (or other thin long object to make the bead hole)


    1. First you need any kind of scrap paper. If the paper is thick, use just a single sheet. If the paper is very thin, like cheap coupons, then think about using two sheets of paper per bead. However, using two pieces of paper makes the bead much prettier than just one piece.
    2. Most beads can be created from a simple triangle. Just cut a small, thin triangle out of the paper. Starting at the fat base, place a needle at the bottom, and begin to roll the paper around it. The needle, or thick stem/stick/wire, helps keep the bead hole open, so that you can thread the beads together with string.
    3. Keep rolling the paper until you're almost done, or about 2/3 done. Smear a little glue on the inside of the last 1/3 of the paper, then keep rolling until at the end. The glue should keep the bead together. Let the bead dry.
    4. Remember that the bottom of your triangle will determine how big the bead is. A thick bottom will mean a big bead, and a thin bottom will mean a small one. The longer and thinner the triangle, the more "round" the bead will appear. The shorter and fatter the triangle, the more rectangle and shapeless the bead will appear.
    5. In the "Wrong/Right" picture there are two sets of beads. The "wrong" beads were made from triangles that were too thick and short. The beads came out flat and shapeless. The "right" picture had triangles that were thin and long. The beads came out round and well shaped.
    The right and wrong way to make paper beads.

    The "wrong" picture also shows beads made from a single piece of paper. The bead design doesn't come out very pretty. The "right" picture shows beads made from two, different colored, pieces of paper (or junk mail). This gives the cool "spiral" effect. You just line the pieces of paper up and carefully roll them into a bead, just like you would with a single piece of paper. But make sure to put glue on *both* pieces of paper when gluing the bead at the end.

    Having paper with photos, or many different colors also makes a prettier bead. A piece of white paper with black writing will make for a rather boring looking bead. Of course, pairing that white paper with a piece of red construction paper will give a great spiral effect.

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    Tip: Make Beads From Junk Mail

    I make beads out of junk mail and make friendship bracelets with them and they are easy to do!

    • Use only the shinny paper that comes in the mail and cut or tear it in strips approximately 1/4 to 1/2 inch by 2-3 inches.

    • You will also need a toothpick and glue. Take the strip and rub it between your fingers with the toothpick until it is wrapped almost completely around toothpick and add a drop of craft glue to the end and continue rolling through your fingers until it forms a bead. Set aside for 10 to 15 minutes (which gives you plenty of time to make more) and allow to dry.

    • Then take string, thread, cord or elastic and bead to desired size, and voila! You have it a homemade friendship bracelet!

    This is a great kids project, or if they are not around, I send them to my grandchildren!

    By Denise from Mcrae, GA

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    Here are questions related to Making Paper Beads.

    Question: Making Paper Beads

    I want to make my own paper (or whatever you might suggest that doesn't cost a ton and use $75 worth of product) beads to incorporate into crocheted jewelry, but I don't know how to start and what to use. Please help. Thanks.

    By Linda from Stony Creek, NY

    AnswerWas this interesting? Yes No


    Most Recent Answer

    By DeBushe 19 164 09/08/2011

    You might try making your own polymer clay beads. You can usually get the clay (Fimo, Sculpey, Premo, etc.) for about $1 each in many bright colors and there are numerous web sites to tell you how to use it. Just google polymer clay instructions.

    ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

    Question: Making Round Paper Beads

    I'm new at this, and I'd like to know how to make the round paper beads. I can make the others, but not the round ones. Are there square ones too?

    By Patricia

    AnswerWas this interesting? Yes No