Upcycled Paper Bead Earrings




Introduction: Upcycled Paper Bead Earrings

About: I'm a mother of two small boys (who are fantastic!!) and a wife who loves life and living! I am the luckiest person I know when it comes to the small and wonderful things in life! I had a rocky childhood tha...

Today I woke up in a fantastically creative mood and in need of an interesting pair of earrings. I remembered an old Christmas sweater my mother tried to throw away but underestimated my sneakiness! I salvaged the beads from her sweater and the paper from a Post Office sales flier. Enjoy!

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: Getting in the Mood...

Firstly I’d like for you to take a couple of deep cleansing breaths and find an uncluttered space to work. You will need at least 3ft by 3ft of cleared space to lay out the items you will be working with.
The items today are going to be done in two separate parts. The first part will be for the beginner or the person who isn’t really into a lot of dangle. The second part will be the adding of the dangly beads.
To start, let’s gather our materials. They are as follows:

Part 1
• Scrap or salvaged Paper (Flyers mailed to you from businesses are great! Try to use thicker ones.)
• Upcycled beads of various size but in complimentary colors to your paper (Can be found on old clothes.)
• 1 paper punch or stencil & scissors for the shape of your paper bead (I used a Martha Stewart heart punch.)
(This will need to be a shape that is the same on both sides for folding)
• Two earring hooks (local Wal-Mart in craft section)
• Two head pins 2 inches long (local Wal-Mart in craft section)
• Glue stick
• Needle Nose Pliers
• Mod Podge or white Elmer’s school glue (local Wal-Mart in craft section)
(Only if you want to seal the paper bead)
Part 2
• 16 crimp beads same color as earring hooks (local craft store)
• Beading string or wire (local craft store)

Step 2: Punching the Paper

Step 1- Punching the Paper
Take a piece of your salvaged paper and your shape punch and get to work! Find the interesting details in the paper. I find that the best way to do this is to turn the paper upside down. When the paper is upside down your brain doesn’t recognize the pictures and instead sees the patterns and cool shapes. I also like to draw this way. Lol

I used 16 heart punched paper shapes for this project. I find that if you use too many your earrings get too busy and if you use too few you have a plain looking bead. 8 an earring was the magic number in this project but to each their own. It’s always cool to try it lots of ways to see what looks good to you. This is just a starting point for your creativity! Let it go WILD!

Step 3: Folding & Gluing Your Paper Shape (in My Case It's a Heart Shape)

Tip: This can be a little sticky the first few times so a damp rag on hand wouldn’t be a bad idea.

Take your paper shapes and fold them in half. You want your shape to fold together on the identical sides. As seen in my pictures. My shape is a heart so it’s folded down the middle. All of the hoop scallops on my heart match up so as to look like just half of a heart. This gives a finished look to my paper bead.
Now take your folded paper shape and glue one side (outside of fold). Take another folded heart and glue it together matching up the sides. When your finished it should look something like pictures 3&4 below.

In picture 5 you will see a paired heart with glue on the side that is ready to be glued to another paired heart. In picture 6 you see the just paired piece and two single paired pieces ready to be paired together. In picture 7 you see me doing the last pairing process. This will complete your upcycled paper bead as seen in the last three pictures.

Optional- Now is the time that you will need to seal your paper bead. This will protect it from rain and other moisture. You still would not want to completely immerse your earrings into water but if it rains you and a good chance of not ruining your paper bead. You can do this with Mod Podge or white Elmer’s Glue. Just give a couple of light coats to the paper bead with a paint brush and let dry. Once dry, continue with the project.

I love taking lots of pictures during the making of a project because I find it easier to learn how to do something by seeing it done. I was a poor student when it came to studies that did not have some sort of illustrations or a teacher who was willing to go the extra mile and make learning interesting.

The pictures here should insure that you will be able to create something similar to what I have.

Step 4: Adding the Flare (a.k.a the Beads)

Now this is the fun part! By adding the beads you make your earrings stand out. Notice in my pictures that my paper bead has only three colors. They are red, brown and white. These colors are great because of the shade. They are mostly mod in shade so I can use a large variety of colored glass and plastic beads. I found my beads from old clothes like a Christmas sweater that my mother gave up on trying to bring back in style. Lol. I was able to pilfer the beads. I cut the fabric into strips to be used at a later date. (Always group up items that you find and have no idea what you will use them for.)

Step 3- Attaching the head pins, earring hooks and beads

Firstly, find your two 2 inch head pins and bring them to your paper bead. Put two or so beads on the head pin. This will be the top of your earring. You want two coordinating colors that match your paper bead. Once this is done, find the hole in the center of your paper bead and insert the head pin into the center making sure that your hoop and beads are on the top as seen in picture two above.

In picture 3 you will notice that I have taken the needle nose pliers and have started to make a hoop then at the end of my head pin. This is to finish off the Non- Dangly earring base. Once this has been done, flip your earring over and bring the earring hook to your head pin. Attach your hook earring to the hoop on your non-dangly bead as seen in the last picture above. In the 1st picture below you will see your finished project for the Non Dangly Paper Bead Earrings. To start on part two, proceed to the part two section.

Step 5: Part 2: the Dangly Bits

In this part you will be finishing off your upcycled Paper and glass bead dangle earrings.

Step 4- You will need to cut 4 pieces of beading sting or wire depending on the style of earring you are going for.

I’ve used silver beading wire .45mm for this pair of earrings. This gives the finished earring dangle a stiffer sitting. If you want a more relaxed dangle then maybe using string would work better. In picture 3 you will see the 4 cut pieces of wire. Mine are two different lengths. I have two that are longer and two that are shorter. Measure your desired length for the dangle and double it. Feed your wire through the bottom hoop of your finished non-dangle earring head pin as seen in picture 5 and stop once you’re half way through. This is to ensure that you have enough wire for all four dangly pieces.

Step 6: Beading Through the Wire.

Once you have fed both pieces through the hoop begin beading your wires. I have 13 beads on my both my long strands and 8 on both of my short strands. I have used all clear beads to make this dangle feel light and airy. If you want a more dramatic look then branch out and use bold colors. Keep in mind that you do not want the dangle bead size to be larger than your paper bead or too heavy for your ear. Earrings do not look good when they are pulling your ear hole to the ground. This should look painless and elegant not like a prison sentence! lol

Step 7: Crimping Your Strands

This is a very simple step. You will need 4 crimping beads. Feed the crimping bead through your beading wire until you have almost reached the beads. You want to leave a little bit of breathing room for your beads to slide but not too much as seen in the picture. Do this to all strands.

Step 8: The Finishing Touches

Once this is done you can add your’ ending beads. These I have added for some “POP”. On my short strands I have added a long bead in a yellow-gold color to bring out the brown in my paper bead. To the long strands I have added two smaller round beads. One of the colors is red and the other a fancy green to bring out the red in my paper bead.

(If you look at a few of the pictures you may notice that I ended up changing out the yellow bead with a yellow and black bead to match not only the paper bead but my green fancy bead on my short strands. This ties the whole earring together.)

After you add the finishing beads you will need a crimp bead to secure the piece. One crimp bead per strand should due. Cut the excess wire as seen in the photo. Cut as close to the crimp bead as possible.

Be the First to Share


    • Sew Fast Speed Challenge

      Sew Fast Speed Challenge
    • Fandom Contest

      Fandom Contest
    • Jewelry Challenge

      Jewelry Challenge

    5 Discussions

    Nice! Since you have the slots in the heart shapes anyway, you could string through them and put small beads in the gaps as well.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you georgiapeach773! That is a FANTASTIC idea! I had thought of doing something with ribbon but beads would make it sparkle!


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Hehe you probably didn't do this on purpose, but they look like little T-phages ^-^ Great job nevertheless!


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    You know, I had to google that just to be sure but you are so right! Maybe I should re-name them something like "The T-phage Sensage" earrings?? lol Thanks for the heads up tho!