Have you ever seen those cool African paper beads bracelets and necklaces? So pretty! Well, here is an easy craft kids will love where they can make their own beads. My 5 year old and I really enjoyed making these together. Hand rolled paper beads can also be an eco-friendly craft if you use newspaper, magazines, or printed paper from your recycling bin instead of brand new paper to make the beads. I will share with you how to make paper beads in three easy steps. This is the perfect project for those that enjoy paper crafts and it is actually great for kids and adults!
Making Paper Beads Tutorial
This paper beads craft is great for kids as young as 5 and it is a great way for them work on increasing their dexterity and hand eye coordination. It is also a great jewelry craft for adults because they can put more of an artistic flair to it based on the papers they choose and the uniformity of their paper rolls. Adults can also use a sealant (such as Glossy Modge Podge) to make paper beads shiny and last longer.
Supplies You Will Need:
- Paper (Newspaper, old magazines, or printed papers for recycled paper beads)
- Markers, colored, pencils, or crayons (if you are not making paper beads from magazines and you still want to have colored beads)
- Craft glue or glue stick
How Do You Make Rolled Paper Beads?
Here is a step by step tutorial with photos for how to make beads out of paper. These hand rolled paper beads are sometimes called recycled paper beads or African paper beads.
1. First you draw long triangles on paper.
Each long skinny paper triangle you draw will make one rolled paper bead. There is no set rule on the exact size of the triangle but I would say have the base be about 3/4 of an inch and the length be about 8 inches. You can use construction paper and have solid beads of different colors or you can start with a patterned or white paper and let kids color on different patterns. You can even use magazine pages to make shiny beads. Newspaper makes cool black and white beads. Wrapping paper is another great idea but it will work best for older kids because it is such thin paper and requires extra care.
2. Cut out paper triangles.
If you are using magazines or printed paper, the next step is to cut out the triangles. If not, you may want to color the your paper before cutting out the paper bead strip. This is the easiest way for younger children to make colorful paper beads.
After I drew the narrow triangles, my daughter colored the patterns. Then she cut the strip of paper in triangle shapes. The white triangles that were left were saved for solid color beads. Look how hard she is concentrating on cutting the straight lines of her paper strips. She really enjoyed learning how to make these! If an adult is doing the cutting, a craft knife and ruler works well for fast straight cuts.
3. Roll and Glue The Paper Triangles Into Beads
Starting at the wide end, roll the triangle strips up. You can use a toothpick, chop stick, or pencil if it helps you.
When you are about half way rolled, add a drop of glue and keep rolling.
Then add one more drop of glue when you are almost to the tip of the triangle and spread it towards the tip to hold the rolled paper beads shut.
We used a craft glue like Elmer’s Glue and it dries clear so there is no problem if it leaks out from under the roll, just smooth it and it will add to the stability of the paper beads. She would hold each one shut for a moment and then drop them in a bowl once they felt dried.
If you would like to make your paper beads shiny, you can paint the whole bead with a layer of Glossy Modge Podge and place on a toothpick (or bamboo skewer) between two books to allow to dry. A second coat of varish will make them even stronger. Some people use clear nail polish for this same purpose but it often has chemicals in it that I try to avoid. This varnish results in a finished bead that looks great and holds up longer.
How To Make Paper Bead Jewelry
Now that you have learned how to make paper beads, you can use your rolled beads to make necklaces, bracelets, or anklets! Just like the African paper jewelry!
You can string the rolled beads on a thin ribbon, cord, embroidery thread, elastic jewelry line, or piece of string. Consider getting some lobster clasps at the craft store for your jewelry piece. This will help ensure safety. Make sure small children are not left unattended with jewelry that may pose a choking hazard.
Making rolled paper beads with kids can be an eco-friendly craft if you use old scrap or magazine pages. Easy and fun! I hope you enjoyed learning how to make paper beads with your kids and that you have even more fun making them. Have you or your kids tried making jewelry before? Do you think you will try making your own paper beads? Share with us how they come out on social media @familyfocusblog