Paper Beads

Paper Beads

Create fun and unique jewelry designs at home! Discover how to create paper beads in five simple steps with this Family Art Workshop. Optional store-purchased beads can be added to the jewelry design to create a varied look.


  • Assorted Paper (magazines, newspaper, or scrapbook paper)
  • Small Dowel Sticks
  • Elmer’s School Glue
  • Scissors, Xacto Knife, or Paper Cutter
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Bracelet String 
  • Modge Podge
  • Paint Brush
  • Cup
  • Assorted Semi-Precious Beads (optional)

Step 1: Using a ruler, measure and mark ½ inch sections on the paper. Cut out long, narrow triangles or rectangular stripes using scissors, an X-Acto knife, or a paper cutter. Each strip will become a bead, so continue this process until you have enough pieces to create a bracelet.  

Step 2: If you are using patterned paper, flip it upside down to hide the design. Starting with the widest end of the paper, tightly wrap and roll the paper strip around a dowel stick. Stop when there are two inches of paper remaining. 

Step 3: Apply a small amount of glue to the inside section of the remaining two inches of paper. Continue to roll until you reach the end of the paper. Repeat this process until you have your desired number of beads. 

Step 4: Add a coat of Modge Podge to each bead to strengthen and create a shiny finish. Allow the beads to completely dry.

Step 5: String beads onto an elastic string and knot to finish. Visit this YouTube video to see a slowed down tutorial of a square knot.

Ideas to take your paper beads to the next level:

  • Attach a keyring to the end of your string of beads to create a key chain. 
  • Experiment with different triangular and rectangle shapes and sizes to create different styles of beads. 
  • Construct multiple long strands of paper beads and attach them to a curtain rod to create a colorful beaded curtain for your door or window. 
  • Use store-purchased beads to create contrast within the jewelry design. 

Learning and Discussion Questions:

1. Research how paper bead making has empowered women in Uganda and Africa. BeadforLife is a non-profit organization that “supports poor women in Uganda and Africa through the sale of jewelry created with recycled paper to educate people in America about deep poverty and offers a pathway for them to make a difference.” Explore their website to see the impact bead making has had on their lives. Check out this video to see how these women roll their beads!

2. Use various colored beads to create a color scheme throughout your jewelry. Use this website to discover different color schemes and to find your favorite! 

Thank you to our sponsor, PNC Arts Alive!, for helping to make this video possible!

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