How to Make Beautiful Beads From Recycled Newspaper

paper mache beads

I love finding ways to turn everyday common items, which would otherwise go into the garbage, into beautiful items that everyone can enjoy!

So… when I came across a gal who was making beautiful beads from recycled newspaper, I had to share the idea with you!

When I saw Helen’s beautiful beads, I asked her if she would mind sharing how she made them. After hearing from her, I realized that the methods used for these beads, were the exact same methods that I have used for several different projects including; costumes, handcrafted paper, and sculpted home decor items. I think what I love about her beads though… is the natural earthy look that they have. Please click on the pictures & visit Helen at her Flickr space!

What better way to pamper yourself than to make something so beautiful that costs nearly NOTHING! It would also be a great way to make some beautiful gifts for less than pennies – while recycling those pesky piles of old newspapers :)

Perhaps you could also earn some extra money by making a nice little business out of your beautiful new creations! I’m sorry… there I go again… always the business mind ๐Ÿ˜‰

paper beads

Step #1 – Gather a small pile of newspapers from the recycling basket.

Step #2 – Rip the paper into small pieces


Step #3 – Put the pieces of newspaper in a large stock pot

Step #4 – Pour enough boiling water over the paper to cover

Step #5 – Allow to sit for an hour or so

Step #6 – Stir the paper to help break it down a bit

Step #7 – Drain as much water out of the paper as you can

Step #8 – Add enough glue to the paper to help it hold together in a ball shape (any glue that is clear when dry – such as Elmer’s, or PVA)


Step #9 – Roll the paper into round balls being sure to squeeze out as much moisture as you can while rolling (you can make any size you would like)

Step #10 – Let them dry for a few days – rolling them every several hours – until they are completely dry

Here’s a mix of paper & felt beads. I love the look of this mix!
felt beads - and paper bead necklace

Step #11 – Sand each bead down with a bit of sandpaper to remove rough edges

Step #12 – Drill a hole in each bead that is big enough for the material that you want to string them with

new bead necklace

Step #13 – Paint them with left over craft paint

Step #14 – Give them a coat of varnish

beautiful beads made from recycled newspaper

Think of all of the different variations that you could make with this technique! The colors & stringing material possibilities are endless! I think some pretty pink beads strung on black velvet ribbon will be my first pampering self indulgence ๐Ÿ˜‰

And… don’t stop at just making beads!

How about…

– Little hearts for a Valentine’s Day banner, or to grace the front of your handcrafted cards

– Tiny beads to make earrings

– Little snowmen with a coat of cream paint – drenched in chunky glass glitter

– A nice chunky key chain made from beads & ribbon

– Snowballs strung on a ripped piece of homespun fabric – to make a snowball tree garland

Well, I think you will agree when I say that these little bits of recycled newspaper are some of the most beautiful bits I’ve ever seen!

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    277 thoughts on “How to Make Beautiful Beads From Recycled Newspaper

    1. I have an article on my blog on how to make homemade paper, but I don’t let the paper sit and soak. It gets shredded then whirled in a blender. I like these colorful beads! Does she use the funny papers or ads to get the multi-colors?

    2. Eu jรก havia visto esses trabalhos e nunca poderia imaginar q eram feitas de papel jornal, muito bonito ,vou tentar fazer tbm, jornal eu tenho bastante.

    3. I really like these beads. I would like to teach some of the kids in my class how to make these. I am a missionary in Honduras and teaching kids crafts to sell locally and elsewhere.

      When you say to paint them with leftover craft paint… what is that? Can I use any kind of paint?

      Hope I heard back from you soon! Thanks!!

    4. Dear Pearl,
      I like to show you how things worked out! We sell the chains for charity (Soroptimist International) in our region in The Netherlands. Hope the photo’s come through!
      Thank you very much for sharing this wonderful idea with us!
      Ditty Smit van Damme.

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