Recycled Paper Beads From Old Magazines

Wait—don’t toss those outdated magazines just yet! They have hidden craft potential. Here’s an activity you can do with just about anyone, but kids especially like it because it’s relatively easy and can kill a few hours indoors during the summer when it’s too hot to play outside.

YOU’LL NEED: A straw or pencil, craft glue or glue stick, scissors, and some string, yarn, twine or ribbon long enough to fit around your wrist or neck.

STEP 1: Find images you like. Feel free to cut them into smaller sizes.

STEP 2: Cut various shapes.

STEP 3: On the back side of your shape, coat well with glue. Not too much, but enough to create a good seal.

STEP 4: Using your pencil or straw, begin to roll your paper around it until it’s wrapped all the way.

STEP 5: Gently slide the “bead” off your pencil or straw. If it starts to unroll, just add a bit more glue and hold it until it sticks. Do this using different types of paper for variety. You can use newspaper, old cards, junk mail—the possibilities are endless.

STEP 6: Once your beads dry, you can string them onto twine or ribbon. When I made mine I thought they would make great Christmas tree decorations. Like stringing popcorn but using beads instead. In Victorian times, women in England gathered in dining rooms to make beads by rolling scraps of wallpaper on knitting needles. They would then string the beads on long pieces of yarn to create curtains that separated rooms. So, lots of ideas!

For those of you looking to make a more sturdy, precise paper bead, this is an excellent tutorial. The beads are gorgeous, but it’s a bit more advanced. Kids could do it but the younger ones might need an adult to assist.

Heather Kearns

I've been the Sabatini Gallery's associate curator since 2004 and social media coordinator since 2008. My passion is helping people “get“ art, and by that I mean creating an environment both in-house and online which fosters a greater understanding, confidence, and sense of enjoyment from the art experience. Art should be easy to access and available to everyone. I take helping people very seriously.