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30 mins

Make your own beads from recycled paper and glue
Want a way to use up all that annoying junk mail? Then make it into beads :D
This is a really easy and quick (if you don't include drying time :P) project, and you end up with one-of-a-kind beads that are helping to recycle and save the environment :)

Sorry about the lack of "work in progress" pictures, this was a messy project so I couldn't stop to take pictures because my fingers were covered in glue and paint!

Posted by Izzy from London, United Kingdom • Published See Izzy's 2 projects »
  • Step 1

    Gather up up paper to recycle and use to make your beads. Any paper is good, other than glossy paper (the kind in magazines) because it won't absorb the water, or tissue-type paper because it'll go too mushy.

    Once you've gathered enough paper tear it into small squares, or put it through a shredder (which saves all the tearing :P).

  • Step 2

    Put the paper scraps in a bucket and cover completely with water. Let it soak overnight.

  • Step 3

    Place your paper mush and some water into a blender. Blend for a few seconds until the paper has reached a lumpy paste texture.

    If your paper had been shredded, you probably won't need to do this as by this time the paper will be soft enough that it will form the same lumpy paste texture quite easily if you rub it with your fingers.

  • Step 4

    Place a sieve over the second bucket, and pour the paper paste mixture into it.

  • Step 5

    Repeat the blending and draining steps until you have turned all of your paper scraps into pulp.

  • Step 6

    Squeeze any excess water out of the paper pulp and place it back into the first bucket (which you have emptied the water out of :P).

  • Step 7

    Now for the messy part...

    Add a big blob of PVA glue to the paper pulp and mix it in (doing this with your hands makes it a lot more fun :D).

    Once you've done this the paper pulp should hold together in little balls. If there's still too much water in the pulp, it won't hold together. Squeeze out the excess water and try again. If there's too much water then the ball will just crumble apart. Add a little bit more water and glue to solve the problem.

  • Step 8

    Form the pulp into the shapes you want your beads. Circles are easiest, but be creative :)

  • Step 9

    Leave the beads to dry.
    This takes a looong time. Mine took 3 or 4 days to dry properly. Try putting them somewhere warm like an airing cupboard to speed up the drying time.

  • Step 10

    Once the beads are dry, use a hand drill to drill a hole through the middle of them. This can also be done with an awl, or anything with a sharp point.

  • How to make a paper bead. Recycled Paper Beads - Step 11
    Step 11

    Paint your beads in a rainbow of colours.

    Leave them to dry, then they're ready to use!

    I made a necklace with my first painted batch of beads, and I've still got loads of beads left over.

Made this project? Share your version »


Dani · Newcastle upon Tyne, England, GB
Great tutorial
michelle G.
michelle G. · Antigonish, Nova Scotia, CA · 1258 projects
awesome, I love eco friendly jewlery.
jeni t.
jeni t. · Anniston, Alabama, US
I love the eco-friendly jewelry!

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