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Making Paper Beads

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.


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5 found this helpful
July 1, 2008 Flag

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.


Approximate Time: 3 minutes to 3 hours!



  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 "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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October 12, 20090 found this helpful

I love making these. I made over 40 bracelets for my family to give to them during our fourth of July get together. They all loved them. They look really good mixed with regular little round beads. My fav look is made from brown paper bags and then mix in with brown or amber colored beads. I also like using comics to make straight beads, no taper. Or Old sheet music. The type of paper is endless. I use elastic to string my beads on for the bracelets. That way you don't need a fastner and one size more or less, fits all.

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9 found this helpful
July 20, 2009 Flag

Craft lovely jewelry from beads you hand make using paper or fabric!

Approximate Time: 30 minutes to 1 hour



  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.)

  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).

  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.

  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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July 25, 20090 found this helpful

Where did you buy the bead roller tool? And was it expensive?

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January 31, 20073 found this helpful

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.

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

September 4, 2011 Flag

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

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September 5, 20110 found this helpful

http://www.pape  owto/index.shtml

http://www.ehow  paper-beads.html  Make-Paper-Beads

These have instructions, and there are some videos you can watch, just search for 'make paper beads'

Sounds like you are going to have some great projects! Old magazines are great for making the beads, because of all the colors.

Best of luck to you!

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September 7, 20110 found this helpful

Newspaper beads are great for painting when dry. Pages from magazines can be rolled and cut into whatever length of beads you want. Sometimes they are so colorful you only need to spray them with acrylic sealer. You can use any paper product, even toilet paper can be gotten wet and molded like clay for beads. Look on the internet and you can fine numerous ideas about making paper beads.

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September 8, 20110 found this helpful

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.

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0 found this helpful
July 20, 2013 Flag

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

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December 25, 20160 found this helpful

The best advice I can give you is to experiment. I'm sorry I don't have the link but someone posted a photo or two of the same paper cut all the same length for each width of bead they rolled, stacking strips so the first bead was one paper, the second had two...and so on. The thinner the base the easier it was to get the round shape (fewer strips).

I discovered that scrapbook paper weight cut into triangle tips gave me a round bead, but the same 1/4 inch base tapered to a 1/8 inch tip gives a "square" looking bead. The length of the strip is 12" and using a toothpick to wrap around. Larger dowels will change the shape.

Try stacking your bead strips (just glue the bases together until you finish winding or you'll have a bumpy bead) and see if you can get a round bead with a thicker base...

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