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.

July 1, 2008 Flag
5 found this helpful

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.
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  5. 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.
  6. 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.

August 29, 20080 found this helpful

I love these beads and have put them on my to-do list. When Barbara mentioned using a straighten coat hanger, reminded me about painting some candle tapers a few years ago. In the directions it mentioned to lay them on pencils so they could be turned while painting circles around them. It made it easy to control the painting. I thought that might make the beads easy to paint with ModPodge and let dry without fingers smears.

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October 28, 20080 found this helpful

Mzuirbeads have been individually hand rolling paper beads to make unique pieces of jewelry from the village of Ndejje in Uganda for over two years. I would everyone to take a look at our site, where you can locate a boutique, or visit our online shop to view our range of paper beads and paper bead jewelry.

Thank you, Kirstie

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October 28, 20080 found this helpful

The Mzuribeads are beautiful and an inspiration to all of us. Thanks for sharing this site and story.

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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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February 21, 20120 found this helpful

July 20, 2009 Flag
9 found this helpful

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

Making Paper Beads Finished

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January 31, 2007 Flag
3 found this helpful

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

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

By Denise from Mcrae, GA

February 2, 20070 found this helpful

I'd like to try this, but I'm not sure of the steps you described. After you cut the strips, do you roll them into a "wheel" using a toothpick for the center, then seal with a drop of glue/ or do you glue the entire strip, then roll it? I need a better explanation, please. Thanks!

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February 2, 20070 found this helpful

What a fabulous idea! I would love to see a photo of the bracelets, maybe you could post one here soon?

I will try my hand at that. Many thanks.

Monique xx


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February 3, 20070 found this helpful

hi i hope i do better this time i dont have a pic so youll have to wing it but you make the strips and i use a small amount of glue over whole strip before i roll it around the toothpick.i found it sticks better this way.hope this helps d

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March 9, 20070 found this helpful

I have also seen this done around straws so that there is a good hole in the center. You can find straws in different diameters. The neat thing about this is after you wrap the glued paper around the straw you can run a piece of string through the straw and hang it to dry.


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September 14, 20080 found this helpful

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

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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