Picture of Durable Handmade Paper Beads
I write an environmental blog and I love creating things. With this in mind I set about making beautiful jewelry upcycled from the recycle bin. I made aluminum can rings and recycled glass earrings and pendants. I also made cool beads created from used plastic bottles and beads crafted from old paper. In this instructable I'll show you how to make awesome, durable paper beads from scratch (paper). They're just about free, look great and work in almost for any beaded jewelry project. Have fun!

My environmental blog:
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Step 1: What You Need

Picture of What You Need

Skewer or other round form to make the bead holes
Glue (this is just for tacking the paper, so use what you have - a glue stick is fine)
Metal ruler, xacto knife, pencil are all optional
Pledge or Future acrylic floor polish
Heat gun - optional


Small paintbrush

A piece of old packing styrofoam

You can use any kind of paper. It's particularly fun to save old wrapping paper, paper bags from a trip or other papers that remind you of a special time. That being said, I often use old newspaper, magazines and catalogs.

Step 2: Cut Paper Strips

Picture of Cut Paper Strips

The shape of the paper strip determines the shape of the final bead. Straight strips make cylinders. Angled cuts make diamonds and ovals. Experiment with different cuts to see what you like.

The length of the strip determines the thickness of the final bead. The longer the strip, the thicker the bead.

To start, cut strips at least 1 foot long and 1/2 inch wide. Use either scissors or an xacto knife and straight edge. Roll one and see how it looks. Measurements are different for different papers.

When you have the right size, cut the rest.

1 strip = 1 bead

doniseg1 month ago

hi,i'm making beads right now, i love yours,thank you for your kindness an sharing,feb 22,2015 11pm ,love donise god bless you amen

Rhonda Chase Design (author)  doniseg1 month ago
Thank you! I hope you're having fun making the beads. I'd love to see them when your done. Have a great week!
doniseg1 month ago

hi,i'm making beads right now, i love yours,thank you for your kindness an sharing,feb 22,2015 11pm ,love donise god bless you amen

Paperbeads are great...they can be ethnic, baroque, contemporary in designs. They can duplicate almost any other bead type as a means of complementing sophisticated even luxurious and expensive beads or they can appear contemporary and artistic in emphasis where the open display of inexpensive materials is rendered irrelevant because they are simple modern works of art
Yes! Thanks for putting this so beautifully!
Rhonda Chase Design (author) 7 months ago
I see them on Amazon. Thanks!
BobbieJ27 months ago

I found this great company, Rethought Expressions, that sells pre-cut beading strips. They repurposed wallpaper to make them. I made the most beautiful beads ever out of these strips. The paper is thicker so I didn't have to uses as much which gave me a less bulky bead.

Rhonda Chase Design (author)  BobbieJ27 months ago
This sounds great! Do they have a website? I looked them up and only found a reseller. Thanks!
I don't know if they have a website. I found them on Amazon.
Rhonda Chase Design (author) 1 year ago

Glad to hear it! I remember doing something like this too, but I have much better glue now : )

vcookston1 year ago
When I was in 4th grade (1966!), we made these beads in Art. I believe that the glue of choice was the nasty white stuff that came in a big plastic jar. I still have the ones I made for my mom. Good memories, thanks!
JoLoveN1 year ago
Here. I just haven't glossed them yet. I figured I'd do a bunch & then gloss them all at once.
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Rhonda Chase Design (author)  JoLoveN1 year ago

These look terrific! Thanks so much for posting these fine examples!

sunshiine1 year ago

My daughter loves making paper beads. I will share this with her. Thanks for sharing your hard work and do have a splendorous day!


JoLoveN1 year ago
It's bad that I've been working in these for at least 3hrs & this is all I got. Just gotta get the paper cut. :-)
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Rhonda Chase Design (author)  JoLoveN1 year ago

That's a while, but they look good!

I finally got sum more beads done. My fingers feel like they're gunna be blistered. I order a thing from Amazon, is should be here by next week. But wanna show you the few beads I've got done.
JoLoveN1 year ago
I just realized you have a tool to wrap ur beads. Can u tell me what it's called & where u got it? Where I have carpal tunnel I'm having a lot of trouble trying to hold everything & get the rolling started. Need anything that will make it easier.
Rhonda Chase Design (author)  JoLoveN1 year ago
It's from Fire Mountain Gems. Here's the product code:
Item Number: H20-3444TL
Thanks. The chopstick aren't the ones that are thin on bottom & get fatter at the top. They are just round ones. Been using toothpicks & wooden skewers. It just my stupid hands don't wanna work. Gotta get the surgery done ASAP. Tired of hurting, not being about to do stuff & dropping everything. Worse part is waking up feeling like my hand & arm is on fire. Rude awakening!!!
But I'll look that up & try to buy one. Thanks for teaching me & helping me so much! ?
JoLoveN1 year ago
Never mind. I'm using the Bona but it's not really glossy. It supposed to be but it's not. So I'm going to use clear coat varnish & clear spray paint. Hope it works.
Rhonda Chase Design (author)  JoLoveN1 year ago
Well, at least it sounds like you're having fun! Sometimes I just tear the paper - So don't worry about neatness. Do try to roll on something straight though. Not too sure about chopsticks : )
Rhonda Chase Design (author)  JoLoveN1 year ago
Let me know how it goes!
I'm having a hard time just getting the magazine cut. I don't have a ruler & a decent place to do this.... So that's making it harder! Lol! Think I'm just making a paper mess. Hehe. When you use a magazine do you cut from top to bottom or side to side? I'm trying to do top to bottom & cut a few piece at a time but the pieces aren't really coming out too even. My scissors aren't sharp enough to cut thru the whole thing at once. It's not a thing mag. I tried using a box cutter but that made a huger mess. Where I have carpal tunnel my right hand keeps going numb & I can't grip the scissors. I might see if I can get a friend to do the cutting for me. I've made 4 beads. The 1st 1 I was just testing & used a piece off a Slim Jim box & rolled it around a chop stick. It looks sooo funny. Let me take a pic & show you. I have glossed the small ones yet. Gunna do em all at once.
JoLoveN1 year ago
Can u tell me the ingredients in the pledge u use?
Rhonda Chase Design (author) 1 year ago

Sorry, I really don't know if these products have the same formulations as the ones I mentioned.

JoLoveN1 year ago
Or would mop & glow work?
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JoLoveN1 year ago
My friend works at Lowe's & he told me to look on to find what I need. But I can't find it. Could you look on at zip 37876 & find a product number for me? I'm going nuts trying to find it or sumting else like it. Or even sumting that would work.
JoLoveN1 year ago
Tell me if this stuff would work.
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JoLoveN1 year ago
Can u take a pic of the floor polish & post it so I can see exactly what it is? Or can you email me a pic of it? Here my email-

After I get some made, I might take pics & show you. Maybe. Lol. Hehe. Jk.

But have you ever used any kind of plastic to make beads? Say like a chip bag or maybe the cheap bags of cereal you can buy in bulk? If you could get it to work you wouldn't have to used the polish. Just heat it up enough to make it seal to keep it from unrolling.

Oh & BTW- you have a misspell on the Instructable. Where you list the things you need. You put future polish. Just letting you know. Plus the pics & instructions are really far apart.
Rhonda Chase Design (author)  JoLoveN1 year ago
Here you go:
Here's a pic of the Pledge. I don't have Future - it's a regional thing, which product you can get.
I've made recycled beads out of plastic bottles, but that's for another instructable.
Got to get to work now. Have a great week!
JoLoveN1 year ago
Ok. Thanks. Have u ever used clear nail polish?
Rhonda Chase Design (author)  JoLoveN1 year ago
Not yet. Though I'm not sure it's as durable as some of the other choices. Let me know if you try it and how well it works. Thanks!
JoLoveN1 year ago
Is there anything besides floor polish you can use to seal them?
Rhonda Chase Design (author)  JoLoveN1 year ago
There are lots of varnish choices from shellac to acrylic polymers. You can use anything that won't turn the paper to mush and will dry waterproof. Just test a sample bead before sealing a whole batch. I like the floor polish because it is cheap, durable, dries shiny and is basically non toxic.
Do u think clear fingernail Polish would work?

Love it :), Thank you so much for sharing.

BigRed19731 year ago

Clear and concise! Like it a lot.....You have some beautiful colors, what do you use for paper? Could I use wrapping paper?

Thanks! Wrapping paper works great. The pink flower paper beads are made with wrapping paper. I also use a lot of newspaper and junk mail.