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.

Approximate Time: 3 minutes to 3 hours!

Supplies:

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

  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.

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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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July 3, 20080 found this helpful

Thanks so much for posting this! We made these when my daughter and I did Girl Scouting together. The girls got really good at it. I had forgotten about these. I am in need of some beads to pair with "potato" beads someone else posted on this site. I loved making these beads. I could sit and make these forever and never tire of it. They are so much fun. We always used toothpicks to wrap ours around and finished them off with a clear water-based sealer. Thanks so much!

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July 6, 20080 found this helpful

Wow, very neat and creative and I will make some out of the next circular I get my hands on. Thanks

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July 7, 20080 found this helpful

I use the pages from National Geographic magazine as they are thick and colorful. I also found that if you put a little glue all around the bead and let it dry the bead stays together better.

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July 8, 20080 found this helpful

I just got back from a weekend at my granddaughter's. She and her mommy went to visit some of mommy's cousins and her daddy had to work so i was dog sitting. She was telling me about the necklace she made in vacation bible school. It was paper beads but they had rolled the paper on soda straws and left the straw in place. It was cut to the size of the bead. I don't know if they cut the straw before or after rolling the Sunday funnies around it. They strung them on the strips of plastic used in so many kid crafts. She's 5 so her project would not be as elaborate as yours but it is something a young child could do.

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July 9, 20080 found this helpful

Hi, I'm new to this site, but just had to respond to this beads post. About a week ago I began making paper beads & am completely hooked. I've been using magazine pages, as I subscribe to several, & cut very slender triangles from top to bottom of each page. I've been using a straightened metal coat hanger to roll them on. You can pick similarly colored magazine pages, but most have several colors, so one long triangle will suffice. After gluing the bead with Elmer's glue, I coat it using a kids paint brush & a product I found at Walmart called "ModPodge". It was in the craft section. I give each bead 2 coats, drying in between. Makes them shiny & hard. I've also read that you can use clear nail polish, or spray on acrylic. I've been stringing them on cotton cord also gotten at Walmart. It gets addictive. I've made 2 long necklaces that I wear by looping so there are 2 loops. That way you don't need to use fasteners.

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August 28, 20080 found this helpful

I made these as a teenager! Just yesterday, I found some of these in some craft items that I had kept. I just may start making them again!

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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.

www.mzuribeads.com

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

You can make a rolling tool by taping two flat toothpicks back to back. Leave about 3/4 inch of the toothpicks free of tape at one end to slide the wide part of the paper triangle. I insert this part into a cocktail (or pouch drink) straw to get a handle.

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