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How to Make Paper Beads Tutorial

Updated on January 18, 2012
Paper Beads handmade from newspaper
Paper Beads handmade from newspaper

There are a million uses for old newspapers and magazines. You can always toss them out or recycle them, but why not upcycle them? Learning how to make paper beads took a bit of trial and error, so I am here to help you from making my mistakes! Just follow my guide to making hand made paper beads.

Here is what you will need:

  • Newspaper or magazine
  • Ruler
  • Pencil (you can use a pen, but it tends to bleed when the beads are sealed)
  • A stick to wrap the beads around. I used a kabob stick, but you could use a thick piece of wire, a sewing pin wrapped with a bit of tape (you will want the hole of the bead to be bigger than a pin) or what every you have lying around.
  • Sealant-You can use clear nail polish, Modpodge or white glue (although that will get a bit messy)


Measure one side of the bead
Measure one side of the bead

Measure Up

Choose a measurement for your bead's length. I chose a little over half an inch. This measurement controls the length of the bead from the opening on one end to the opening on the other. The actual measurement is not terribly important, but it will affect the shape and size of your bead.

Use the ruler as a guide
Use the ruler as a guide

Make Your Mark

After you mark the length of the bead, place your ruler lengthwise across the paper. You want to angle the ruler so that one end meets the edge of the paper. The longer the paper strip is the fatter the bead will be. I use half the length of a local newspaper. Experiment and see what shapes and sizes of beads you like.

Mark with your pencil, and then cut. Angle to ruler in the opposite direction to mark and cut the next strip. Keep marking and cutting until you have one strip for each bead you want to make!

Wrap the beads
Wrap the beads

Wrap Them Up

Now that you have all of your strips, it is time to wrap! This can be a little tricky, but a little bit of practice helps. Place the widest end of the paper strip on your stick and hold it in place while you slowly wrap the "tail" around..and around. Once you reach the end of the strip, use a touch of glue to hold the last wrap in place. Make sure to wrap the beads tight so they don't unravel.

Seal the Beads

Now that you have your beads wrapped, apply a thin layer of sealant and let them dry. Your beads may require two coats of sealant, just check after the first coat. After the beads are dry, your beads are finished.

Here is a few tips and ideas for making different kinds and shapes of beads .

  • The wider the paper strip, the longer the bead will be
  • The longer the paper strip, the fatter your bead will be
  • For glossy and colorful beads, use magazines instead of newspaper.

Bead kabobs!
Bead kabobs!

What to do with the beads?

There are plenty of uses for paper beads! I use them to make earrings and other jewelry, but here is a few more ideas

  • glue your beads to a mirror or picture frame.
  • string them up to make a garland or beaded curtain.
  • sew them on to table runners, curtains or table cloths. If you do attach them to washable fabrics, be sure they are well sealed.
  • If you make large beads, you could paint a design on each bead and display your art in a pretty bowl.

Have fun making paper beads and let me know if you have any questions.

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    • Thundermama profile image

      Catherine Taylor 5 years ago from Canada

      Love this! Great instructions and pictures. So crafty and wonderful!

    • VirginiaLynne profile image

      Virginia Kearney 5 years ago from United States

      Clear directions! I like your pictures too. This is great for kids.

    • Sherry Hewins profile image

      Sherry Hewins 5 years ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      Not only free, easy and fun, they are pretty too. Thanks for a great idea.

    • 2uesday profile image

      2uesday 5 years ago

      This page is a great idea for a cost free craft project.

    • uniquearticlesbuz profile image

      uniquearticlesbuz 5 years ago from USA

      Nice paper work hahahahaha interesting and useful

    • wirewoman profile image

      wirewoman 5 years ago

      very cool, thanks for this one!

    • lady rain profile image

      lady rain 6 years ago from Australia

      I used to make these beads with magazine papers a long time ago. Also cooked the starch powder to make the glue for the beads. Great hub!

    • humanoid profile image

      humanoid 6 years ago from Earth (I think)

      AWESOME! My Mom is helping to "home-school" my little niece - I will be printing your hub out for her to use when they are taking a break. She'll love it!

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 6 years ago from San Francisco

      Oh wow, what a blast from the past... I used to make these when I was a kid! What fun.

    • Robikan profile image

      Robyn J Williams 6 years ago from Canada

      Fantastic! I've been putting off taking out the recycling...maybe I'll do this instead!

    • frugalfamily profile image

      Brenda Trott, M.Ed 6 years ago from Houston, TX

      Awesome up-cycle. I can't wait to try it! up awesome and useful.

    • Lenore Robinson profile image

      Lenore Robinson 6 years ago from Delaware

      A great project idea! I can't believe this is so simple and so creative! The girls will love it! Up and useful!

    • Hyphenbird profile image

      Brenda Barnes 6 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

      How very cool!

    • spotlight19 profile image

      Jennifer Pena 6 years ago from California

      Wow this is sooo interesting I never knew you could make beads out of paper.

    • CWanamaker profile image

      CWanamaker 6 years ago from Arizona

      What an awesome and creative idea! Looks like a great holiday project for the kids.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

      This is a fun project for children!