Paper beads are incredibly easy and satisfying to make. Plus, they look great!

By Barbara Albright


Chances are you have the necessary material on hand to make some stylin' jewelry.

Paper beads, which the kids can make with pages torn from old magazines and catalogs, demonstrate how ordinary household items can be recycled into something new.

This simple lesson will teach children to look at discarded items with a fresh eye. Not everything needs to end up in the trash can and landfill!

Let's Begin!
To begin, cut a template from a piece of thin cardboard or poster board. This should be an elongated triangle approximately 6 ½ inches long on the two even sides, with a 1 inch-long base.

Make as many templates as there are kids working on the project, so each child can have one.

Tear colorful pages from magazines and catalogs. Each one will become two or three beads, something to keep in mind as the stack grows.

Don't worry about specific pictures or images on the pages. The beads are too small and rolled too tight for this to make a difference. A picture of a shiny new car will be just as effective as a glossy photo of Britney Spears.

Let's Make Beads!
Set the template on the page and trace around it. Use blunt-nosed scissors to cut out the triangles. If a page rips, discard it and use another.

Don't worry if each triangle is not identical. If the templates were cut accurately, they will be similar enough.

Cover a work surface with newspapers or an old cloth. Squeeze a thin line of craft glue down the center of a triangle. Do not put glue along the base of the triangle.

Lay a skewer, toothpick, or knitting needle along the base of the triangle. Roll the paper tightly around the skewer and when it's rolled, carefully remove the skewer. Set the beads aside for the clue to dry.

Let's Make Jewelry!
When the glue dries and beads feel firm, thread them onto embroidery thread. You may have to use a sewing needle to string the thread through the center of the beads.

Make necklaces, bracelets, ankle bracelets, and hair ornaments. If you want, intersperse the paper beads with storebought beads.

These little beads can also be used to decorate gaily wrapped packages and to adorn any number of holiday ornaments.