Monthly Archives: February 2011

Making Paper Beads: A fun eco-craft for all ages

Rocky Mountain Education Society educator Anita Georgy has been teaching students about Eco-Businesses. Not only are the students in the Visions after school club at Grandview/ ¿uuqinak’uuh Elementary School learning about what it takes to create an eco-business, they are also getting a chance to try it out.

After a field trip to 10,000 Villages for inspiration, the students decided to make eco-products out of recycled paper, and the bead making began! Making beads out of recycled paper is easy and fun: all you need is scissors, non-toxic glue, and colorful recycled paper.

1. Cut the paper.
The students in Visions started with isosceles triangles about 4cm x 23 cm. However, beads can be made in many sizes and shapes – have fun experimenting! We have used everything from newspaper to magazines to Kleenex boxes and wallpaper.

2. Roll the paper.
Starting from the wide end, start rolling the paper toward the narrow end. You can do it free form, or use a toothpick, skinny paintbrush handle, knitting needle or pen to wrap the paper around, depending on how big you want the hole in the bead to be.

3. Add glue.
Once you roll about ¾ of the way to the end, add some glue to the inward facing side of the paper. We’ve had good luck with both white glue applied with a paintbrush and gluesticks.

4. Add a protective coating.
Put the beads on a string, or on skewers stuck in Styrofoam to hold them aloft as you apply a protective coating. You can use diluted white glue (very kid and eco-friendly), or varnish or other coating purchased from craft stores.

5. Make something fun!
We haven’t decided yet what to make with out paper beads, but may try keychains or earrings. You can make anything your imagination desires! A quick google search for paper bead images will feed your creativity.

The students are having fun learning about the process of starting an eco-business, but are really looking forward to selling their wares!