Introduction: Make a RECYCLED PAPER BEAD Bracelet!

No time to clean the house...always, all the time crafting!

Looking for a fast, inexpensive recycled project that you will love wearing or giving as a gift?

Turn junk mail,magazines, brochures, last year's calendars, and gift wrapping paper into cool beads that may be used for bracelets or necklaces.

Before taking that stack of old magazines to the recycle bin, tear out a few pages with your favorite colors...with a few quick cuts, one magazine page yields enough beads for 3 bracelets! You can wear your finished product in about 1 hour!

Everyone asks me about the cool painted, wooden beads in my bracelets...yes, those are the PAPER BEADS made from RECYCLED Pages from MAGAZINES AND BROCHURES!

Try making some recycled paper beads today...I think you will be amazed!


For one recycled paper, glass and silver bead bracelet (similar to the two pictured below), you will need:

-1 page from an old magazine, junk mail, calendar, brochure or a piece of gift wrapping paper- suggest choosing a colors you enjoy and one with a glossy finish. Don't worry about words on the page!

-A paper cutter with marked measurements or an utility/ exacto knife and ruler

-A glue stick

-Wooden toothpicks

-Clear nail polish and a small piece of styrofoam (optional, see Step 4)

-Elastic beading cord (about 9-10")

-Leftover silver and glass beads

-Cuticle scissors


-Tear or cut the page from the magazine (calendar, brochure, wrapping paper, etc.) that you have selected.

-Using a paper cutter (pictured) or an utility knife, begin cutting the page into strips. Starting at either the bottom or the top of the page, cut the page into 1/2" strips. (The strips I typically use are approx. 1/2" by ~7-8" long.) You may cut the entire page into strips or cut at least four for the bracelet.

-Next, cut each strip in half on the diagonal. To make one mixed bead bracelet, I typically use 8 diagnonally cut "triangle" shaped pieces of paper.

'(Pictured is a page from a resort marketing brochure- there is one 1/2" cut strip and one strip that has been cut in half diagonally.)


-Organize a work space with the 8 diagonal paper strips, several toothpicks, a glue stick and some clear nail polish.

-Take a toothpick and one paper strip. Roll the WIDE end of the paper strip completely around the toothpick ONE rotation. Next, take the glue stick and quickly cover the remaining paper surface with glue. I usually quickly run the glue stick over the paper twice. You may need to wipe any excess glue from your hands if they get too sticky!

-Now it is time to completely and TIGHTLY roll the paper stip around the toothpick. Smooth the tip/end of the paper strip in place. Next, slip the paper "BEAD" off the toothpick. It should slide off easily since 'the glue was not applied to the section of the paper that directly touches the toothpick.

Note: This opening made by the toothpick will provide the space to string your beads onto the bracelet cord.

Just make a little stack of completed beads...the glue will set up while you coil the remaining paper beads.

See the two additional photos below.


This step is optional...

I prefer to add a gloss coating to the beads. It seems to harden/ cure the paper and helps the bead to be more water-resistant (ex. if water splashes onto the bracelet when washing your hands---would not recommend wearing the bracelet while bathing---even if you do seal with the nail polish!) You decide if you want to include this step...

-Select a finished/glued bead. Place upon a toothpick and "polish" with the clear nail polish. The polish I use dries in less than 5 minutes. I stick a row of the toothpicks containing the polished beads in a piece of styrofoam so they may dry without touching the table top or each other.

-After the beads are dry, inspect each one and use the cuticle scissors to trim away any tiny paper tags that are not completely glued/ sealed in place.


-Organize your beads into a "stringing" order. I usally use 8 recycled paper beads mix in a few leftover silver and glass beads for color and variety.

-Cut the beading cord in a 9-10" piece. I like to triple knot the cord- so I add in a little extra cord to make sure there is enough to tie and then trim the excess. If you are making a bracelet for a child or smaller wrist, adjust the size accordingly.

-String the beads, knot and trim the excess cord.


You did it! Enjoy wearing your bracelet....

The two bracelets below were made using paper from this calcium brochure!

2 People Made This Project!


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95 Discussions

How to make paper qaA

There is a great tutorial on YouTube and shows you how to make other shapes!

Can you give more details on how you tied the elastic?

Can i make it with just regular paper?

How long will the nail polish last on paper beads. Most times the polish wears off.

Great idea, I forgot to take off my bracelet after washing up the dishes and now the beads are a little worn out but I can renew them! I'll post a picture of mine soon..It's great for sleepovers..I'm not eighteen really...I don't wish I was either.

Hey, I actually found this on StumbleUpon last night and since then have gone bead crazy! I am an avid crocheter/knitter/etc, but don't generally do these kinds of crafts. I have been dying to try something with beading and am also obsessed with re purposing so your project was the perfect thing!

Thank you for sharing and for the wonderful pictures and instructions - you made it a breeze, and I can't believe how easy it was! Thanks again! :)

I have a question.

Initially, I found this tutorial under the 'Green Jewelry' heading. To make this a truly green project, what sort of adherent (glue) can be used? Also, what sort of 'green' sealant?

It's a great idea, and I truly love it, but would like to know how to make it actually 'Eco-friendly'.

Thank you.

This is nice!!! It's so fun to make the beads, and the resulting colors are amazing! Here's a pic of a bracelet I made with the beads.

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7 replies

Wow, your's look really good. I'd never thought of making beads going horizontally. At least I didn't think it would look nice. The glaze you used seems good. Did you use any and what kind?

See Step 5 in the directions can see a picture of the elastic cord I used. It's sold in the beading section of craft stores and maybe even Wal-Mart or JoAnns. I've used it with success on many jewelry projects. Good luck.

Thanks so much for your quick reply. I'm on my way to Michael's today and will buy a roll of elastic. Your bracelets are beautiful. Have any good ideas for necklaces with paper beads or earrings?

How dod you get the long beads so perfectly shaped? Mine all fall apart and look horrible.


First, thanks for this instructable, because it made me remember that I already tried this techniqe when I was a child :) So I decided to make again some nice colourful beads, and here's the result: