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  • Writer's pictureElise

Surprise Craftertunity! : Paper Beads and Beaded Bracelet (part 1)

Updated: Jan 25, 2022

In case you lost your directions or missed out on a kit, we have you covered. In this series, we will be showcasing past projects, in particular those that were originally released as Surprise Craftertunity kits at the library. So get ready to grab some spare materials and start crafting!


Making Paper Beads

It doesn't take much to make these beautiful beads. All you really need is some paper strips, glue, and patience and you have the makings of a beautiful gift.

Bead-Making Materials

Paper (this can be prints that didn't turn out correctly, old magazines, wrapping paper, or anything that is thicker than tissue paper and thinner than construction paper and at least 11" long)

Cocktail straws &/or Toothpicks

Mod Podge Gloss

Scotch Tape (optional)


Craft Knife & Mat or

Ruler & Scissors or Paper Cutter

Paint Brush

Styrofoam Cup & Extra Toothpicks (or other manner of keeping beads separated during the drying process)

Bead-making Instructions

There are two ways to start this.

The first (varying bead sizes):

Take 8 ½ by 11 inch papers with whatever pattern you should choose and cut on the diagonal to a point each time until you run out of paper. I used a paper cutter and just went to town cutting triangles the full length down. If not, steps 1-3 of the second lead you through a more measured, uniform approach.

The second (more uniform bead sizes):

  1. If you would rather a slightly more measured and uniform approach, Measure a strip of paper approximately ¾ inches wide (for standard bead size) and 12 inches long. Cut out with a craft knife or scissors (or a paper cutter).

  2. Measure halfway across the paper at one end and make a pencil mark.

  3. At the other end of the paper, place your ruler and measure from the end to the midpoint. Trim with a craft knife. Repeat on the other side. You’ll notice you just cut out a very long triangle. After you have your strips:

  4. Optional: Place a piece of tape at the wide end of the triangle and tape the cocktail straw to the other. Use this method if you want a small bit of plastic at your center of the bead for additional structure, otherwise skip to the next step. The beads will be fairly sturdy even without the plastic center.

  5. Add several dabs of mod podge down the length of the underside/non-showing side of the paper and start rolling your bead around the cocktail straw, from the long end toward the point, adjusting the roll to center the paper as you go.

  6. Once the bead is rolled, one of two things will happen. If you taped your bead to the straw before rolling, then trim the cocktail straw to the edge of the bead. If not, simply remove the bead from the straw. Either way, repeat until you have the desired amount of beads.

  7. Paint the beads inside and out with several coats of Mod Podge, allowing them to dry between coats. I stick the drying beads on tooth picks stuck into Styrofoam cups and turn them every once in a while to keep from sticking until dry.

  8. String on bracelets, necklaces, or other jewelry as desired. See next set of instructions for directions on how the demo bracelet was done. Otherwise have fun experimenting.


  1. The wider your strip starts out, the longer the finished bead will be. The longer your paper strip starts out, the fatter your finished bead will be.

  2. If you don’t go completely to a point, you will have a flat area in the middle of your finished bead.

  3. Mod Podge is a glue and sealant but is not completely waterproof. It is based on water and acrylic. It also isn’t simply watered down school glue.

  4. Drying times vary. Each coat of Mod Podge should feel dry to the touch after about an hour, after which you can apply the next coat. Beads are fully dry after about 24 hours, unless you use Hard Coat Mod Podge or other extra durable varieties, in which case they are dry after 72 hours.

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