Introduction: Shrinky Dink Beads Without Leaving the House AND No Scraps!

About: I love to craft, create, design, come up with crazy creations with my husband and try and find the supplies my daughter and furbaby stole when I wasn't looking.


I wanted to make beads out of plastic after seeing an instructable here, but saw the word torch and clicked away. This is my resulting experiment with recycling plastic water bottles. 


Plastic water bottle (I used a large Dasani bottle)
Paint/Nail polish
           Several different colors
            Clear top coat
Pointy scissors
Needle nose pliers/pliers you don't mind possibly getting paint or plastic on. 

Step 1: Prepare the Water Bottle Part 1:Back to the Kitchen

We are going to use the entire bottle, minus the label, in this instructable.

First, find the first line on the Dasani bottle(doesn't have to be Dasani but you'll see why I chose this bottle in a minute)
Cut around the circumference of the bottle to end up with two sections, the part with the lid and the part with the label. 

Leftovers#1  Take the part with the lid into the kitchen to use as a ziploc bag.

Step 2: Preparing the Water Bottle Part2: Remove Label

Under the label is a pretty design you can use for your beads. You also don't want the label as part of your beads, so cut it off. 
This design is why I picked a Dasani bottle first. Embellishment without effort!

Step 3: Preparing the Bottle Part 3: Decisions, Decisions

Now you need to cut more leftovers from this bottle. I am starting a garden soon, so I am saving plastic bottles for those. To make one and get plastic for the beads I am going to cut the bottle at the line underneath the last row of plastic with designs.

If you wanted a paintable display piece, you would cut at the last line above the bottom.

Step 4: Prepare the Bottle Step 4: Cut, Cut, Cut.

After setting aside the bottom of the bottle you need to cut the pieces for the actual beads.  Make a cut down the middle of the remaining piece, then cut them apart at the line. In this example I will end up with 6 strips, 2 normal, 4 design. 

Take each piece and cut it into the desired lengths for your beads. Because of the way this particular bottle behaves, you can have short strips and still have a good bead.

I take the strips and cut them in half, then cut them in half again. 

Step 5: Get the Kids!

Take the acrylic paint and/or nail polish and start designing on the plastic. For me, the nail polish worked better. Let the kids design a few of their own. Seal with top coat (nail polish/spray sealer etc.) Make sure to let them completely dry.  

Step 6: Almost There.....

Roll a strip of painted plastic up into a circle or tube by holding the very edge of a plastic strip in your pliers until you reach the other end.  I am using a pair of jewelry pliers, the longer ones. Decide if you want the bead tight or loose, then readjust your pliers to clamp onto all layers of plastic, not just the end. 

Step 7: Fire! Fire!

Get out the lighter and switch the pliers into your non-dominant hand. You will have to go back and forth between hands with the lighter so be careful! Melted plastic is hot. :) Run the flame up and down the outside seam quickly. If you stay in one spot too long, you will scorch the plastic. I think it gives the beads character, but not everyone is like me lol. I also like to hold the bead upside down over the flame to melt all the layers at once.  After each few passes with the lighter shape the bead with your pliers. The layers will not melt together but you can shape it enough to where it will not unravel and will stay on a rope/bracelet/necklace of some kind. 

Step 8: Whew!

Congratulations on recycling your first entire plastic bottle! Hopefully your house didn't burn down and you didn't lose any fingers working with plastic today :) and I hope you recycle lots more in the future.

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