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Beauty and the Trash- Making paper beads out of non recyclable paper

Hi Everyone,

So today was the first day in a while where I had the whole day to spend with just my daughter Mia. I was super excited about this because, well, my daughter is awesome!!!

I decided to surprise her with a visit to see her best friend and younger sister and let me tell you, it was wild!

I know what you're thinking, why arrange a playdate if I want her all to myself? The answer is I love to see her at play with others as well as playing by herself. She just has such light and positivity in her that watching her play is just as fun as being a part of it.

We decided to take her scooter, who before we left she told me its name was Scoot and it was a boy (see, told you she is awesome!).

As she scooted excitedly all the way there spouting the occasional "Mummy I love you" and "Mummy you're so cute". These are a few of the things she says regularly to us.

Ok, so we get to the house and CHAOS!!!!!!!




Jumping on the sofa!

Getting EVERY toy out!

And this was just in the first 5 minutes!

It had been a few weeks since they had seen each other so they were wilder than usual but so happy! Totally worth the madness.

Mia is obsessed with other people's houses. I think this comes from not being able to visit anyone during the pandemic so she loved running around a house she had never been to. And as you can imagine with 4-year-olds whose emotions are always high there were a few (hundred!) disagreements in the space of an hour.

They are both competitive girls and not yet emotionally equipped to be good winners/losers so there was a lot of cries and "Naa nana boo boo's" (A taunt they say to each other when they win, and something we are trying to move past) and some intervening from me and the other mum.

But on days like this, the one thing I have learned being a mum, an older sibling, and a childminder is that sometimes when you feel that it wasn't a good day due to conflict or accidents (I will get to that) all the kids actually remember is the fun they had.

After making lunch (whilst trying to keep the girls from running into the kitchen where the stove was going), a brief stop to eat, followed by a lot of jumping on the beds we decided to go to the local park.

But OH NO.... Mia's friends had left their scooters at their Nana's house so there was only 1 scooter between 3 kids, so of course...


There were tears and yelling for what felt like an eternity until finally, we came to a decent scooter-sharing agreement for the 5-minute journey to the park.

Once we get to the park it is agreed that I would help the younger sister practice her scooting while Mia and her friend played in the play park.

I encourage the older girls to go off and play together while I help the youngest with the scooter. So off they run. I turn away and within half a second hear screaming! Mia and her friend are both on the floor crying with me and the other Mum having no clue how it happened because, well, we blinked! It was literally that quick! Mia is telling me her hip hurts and her friend's mum calls to me to say her daughter has hit her face on a post and is bleeding from the mouth and her front tooth is wobbling.

We both work on calming the kids down and now it looks like she has to go to the dentist!

Mia is having a mini-meltdown because she still wants to play in the park but I know Mia will regret not taking her friend home and making sure she is ok.

For a four-year-old Mia is very caring but at that moment all she wanted to do was stick to the plan and play in the park.

So we walk with them home and I attempted to try and calm the kids with cuddles and songs while their Mum called the dentist and arranged for their Dad to come home. Then I say we will need to go home too as I see Mia's emotions are getting a bit overwhelmed and we will need to go home to decompress a bit. After all, it is not every day you see your best friend bleed. She is not happy about this at all but as the trooper that she is she comes with me with no fuss.

Mia and I finally get back home where I am greeted with a crazy amount of fast-food flyers stuffed into my mailbox! What a waste of paper! I mean, why on earth would anyone need 3 of the same menu?!?

Then an idea struck; junk mail paper beads!

As I also have a bunch of scrap paper that I had been waiting for inspiration so I added this to the pile.

Many years ago I had gotten into making paper beads and now was the perfect time to start again for the following reasons...

1) As mentioned I have been hoarding scrap paper. A LOT of scrap paper!

2) Last birthday I received a paper bead maker and a book on making paper bead jewelry

Paper Bead Jewelry by Keiko Sakamoto-

3) I was left with a bunch of used and torn Christmas/birthday wrapping paper (although thankfully a lot of the family knew I would appreciate recyclable wrapping or no wrapping at all)

4) Writing this blog is helping me tap back into my creative side.

To make your own beads you will need the following items (full disclosure some of these links are affiliated) -

Take-out flyers, used Christmas wrap, or any scrap paper.

A good ruler (I use a pattern master which is also good for dressmaking).

A pencil.

Scissors or a good paper-knife ( I find it hard to control a knife so mainly just use scissors).

Cutting mat.

Paper bead maker, twilling tool, or wooden tooth picks. I used:

Glue (Pritt-stick is preferred by me).

A sealant of some type which will also act as the glaze (this can be PVA glue, clear nail varnish, or Diamond glaze. Anything to harden the paper and make it more resilient).

This is the glaze I use and recommend -

An empty nail varnish bottle. These can be easily sourced through Amazon or if you are a bit of a hoarder like me, simply clean out any old nail varnish bottles you have lying around with nail varnish remover.

A few cheap dish sponges


Firstly you will need to decant the sealant into the nail varnish bottle as this will make the application a lot easier.

If you are using large pieces of paper cut them into manageable pieces. A good starting point is to used a length of about 20-25cm. As you make more this can be changed depending on the size of bead you want.

Try to smooth out any wrinkles from the paper as best you can (it doesn't have to be perfect!).

Turn the paper plain side up, or to the side that you do not want to show.

Measure and mark the pieces, and cut them. As mentioned before use a length of about 20-25 cm and i have used a 1cm width at the largest point.

Once you have your pieces grab your chosen bead-making tool (Paper bead maker, twilling tool, or a tooth pick)

If using a wooden tooth pick or twilling tool -

Start at the wider end of the paper tightly wrapping the strip adding a little glue to the underside as you go until you reach the end and then glue it down.

If you are using a paper bead maker -

Simply use the manufacturer's instructions, but they will be basically the same as the method above

There are many different types of bead, for the purpose of this post I am focusing on three.

For each there is a method to how the bead is rolled that I have written below but they all start and finish with the above description.

Isosceles triangle

While rolling the paper keep the strip centered so that the finished bead is symmetrical

Right Triangle

Ensure to keep the bottom edge of the paper strip stays aligned with the widest part or the bead to create a cone shape. However this shape can also be turned into a tear drop bead by gently pushing the end about a third of the way in.


Simply roll the paper tightly and evenly to create a tube shape.

Once you have made enough beads for your project pop them onto your toothpick. Depending on bead size, you should be able to get 2 beads onto one toothpick.

Paint a coat of your sealant glaze on each bead and leave the toothpick upright to dry by poking into the sponge.

To get a truly glass-like effect on the bead do this around 3-5 more times.

And there you have it! Beautiful beads that you can use for a wide range of crafts!

Well, that's it for now. I hoped you enjoyed this post and let me know how you got on in the comments below (with pictures of your lovely new beads please!) and I'll be back with you soon with more crafty activities and random glimpses into my life/brain!

Like, Share, and more importantly, stay safe out there.



P.S. I have also been experimenting with different mediums

I achieved this look by wrapping scrap yarn around plastic straws. Blog post coming soon.....

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