DIY Upcycled Beads

To commemorate Earth Day this year, I decided to make beads of my own with upcycled materials. I started with the idea of making paper beads. I love  paper beads so much, they are so colorful and lightweight and a fun way to add some whimsy into a necklace.

photo_3_The only problem was that I’m not a scrapbooker, so I don’t have fun papers around the house to use. I was originally just going to take some magazines and find ads and images in colors that appealed to me, but then I remembered the tons of scrap fabric that I have in my house that I’m just hanging onto for a project like this. I used the same technique that you would use if you were making paper beads, but I just substituted pieces of fabric instead!

photo_2_Here’s what you’ll need to make your own paper or fabric beads!

Steel mandrel (I had these around from my Coiling Gizmo!)




Mod Podge


Rotary cutter or scissors

Cutting mat

Iron (if using fabric)

Parchment Paper

Triangle Pattern for beads


Triangle Pattern for BeadAnd here’s how to make your own beads:

1. Using your rotary cutter or scissors, cut out several triangle pieces of fabric or paper. Mine were about 1 inch at the base and 4 inches long. photo_4_2. Prep your work space! I laid down the parchment paper to protect my table and got a little tray for my Mod Podge and paintbrush.

3. Using one triangle of fabric and your steel mandrel, start wrapping the thickest part of your triangle around the mandrel. After wrapping the fabric once around the mandrel, apply a line of Mod Podge to the fabric close to the mandrel. Continue wrapping the fabric, stopping every so often to apply more Mod Podge to the fabric. As you near the end, apply a thin layer of Mod Podge to the entire tip of the triangle and finish rolling your bead.

4. Transfer your bead to a toothpick to dry.

photo_5_5. Continue making more beads. When all of your beads are done and dry, apply another layer of Mod Podge to the outside of each bead and let dry.

6. You’re done! Now string up and use your beads in a beautiful piece of jewelry!

photo_6_This was a fun and fast project, and easy to do with kids as well! (I think I’ll make some more with my niece!) Show us what you have upcycled into jewelry on our Facebook page!

– Katie

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