How to... make Magazine Beads - Red Ted Art's Blog : Red Ted Art's Blog

How to… make Magazine Beads

| January 6, 2012 | 33 Comments

Welcome back to a thrifty and upcycled How To: Make Magazine Beads. Magazine beads are a popular craft amongst children and teens…but in fact they originated in Africa, where people make them for a living. So just because children make them in the “Western World”, don’t “knock them” until you have had a go. They are fun. Easy. Frugal. Colourful and above all provide a bit of much needed upcycling.

I made mine child friendly – i.e. with a nice wide opening so that my children can manage the beading… but you can make them as neat as you like – using a toothpick as a centre.

How to make magazine beads - a wonderful activity for kids.


You can either watch the How To Make Paper Beads Video.. or follow the steps and photos outlined below!

Red Ted (almost 4) wanted to have a go and could ALMOST do it. But not quite. However, he is more than capable of beading!

Materials: Old colourful magazines, scissors, PVA glue, a straw or two (use toothpicks or similar if you want to make more “adult” beads

magazine beads

1. Cut long thing triangle shapes. You want the two long sides to be as similar as possible It is the thin edge of the triangle, that give the beads the thickness around the middle, as well as changing colour patterns. I made the lower edge of the triangle about 1-1.5cm wide. This gives you the bead width. We used one of the smaller format magazines and cut across the page. But try out different sizes and see what bead dimension you like.

magazine beads

2. Using you straw or a toothpick, wrap the tick end of the magazine around a couple of times, then start adding pva glue to stick it all down nicely. Avoid adding PVA glue to the straw or toothpick, else the bead will stick to this. Having said that, with the straw it doesn’t matter, as you can cut it and leave it inside the bead. This makes it easier if you are working with children.

3. Once the strip is used up, carefully add another layer of PVA, slide off your straw and put them down to dry. I found they were fine on a plate. Try to get them not to touch or  they may stick to each other.

magazine beads

Done! If you like you can paint them, but we LOVE the colours that you get from the magazines.

easy paper beads

Love the patterns you get.

How to make magazine beads - a wonderful activity for kids- make friend bracelets, decorative frames whilst teaching about recycling. jpg

Here are some examples of people getting really good at these beads – they are not “how tos”, but examples of people getting very good at these (click on the image to find out more):

magazine beads magazine beads paper beads diy paper bead paper beads crafts paper bead crafts paper bead paper bead

(I love how in the last image – the bead ornament, Sun Hat & Wellie Boots made their beading pre-schooler friendly! Red Ted can look and learn!)

So, what do you think? Will give making magazine beads a go?

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Category: How To's, Paper Crafts, Recycling

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  1. mermaid says:

    We have made necklaces but I alos love these xmas tree decs and stars.. they look like snowflakes to me really. Very pretty. I haven`t made that big beads before.

    By the way.. don`t you use mod podge? I like it a lot more than pva.

  2. Red Ted Art says:

    Oh yes, I think you are right, it looks like a snowflake!!! I do use mod podge a little, but it isn\’t as widely available here and to be honest, often I forget that I have it!!!

  3. I made these when I was a teenager but used toothpicks- I like how you made them kid friendly using straws. I\’m sure my daughter would love this!

    • Red Ted Art says:

      Oh yes, you are right, I should have mentioned the toothpicks for “Older kids”, as they do look nice if teens make it that way! Great point! And even my two year old can manage threading these ones! 😉

  4. Oh, we LOVE making these! So fun to see how the beads come together depending on the paper used. Glossy pages have produced my favourite beads so far, though old faded book pages are a delight too. I love that picture frame idea!


  5. emma says:

    how bizarre we discovered that we could make these this week as well and I blogged about it earlier this week; great minds hey!! We have been recycling Rachel\’s art that she can\’t fit in her scrap book but wants to use – she now has her own art bead bracelets.

  6. Red Ted Art says:

    Oh my, how lovely!! :-) LOVE that idea… art bracelets. Beautiful! Come link yours up!!

  7. Your beads look gorgeous, & far better than our efforts! Love them! Thanks for the mention too :)

  8. Jude says:

    I\’ve been meaning to have a go at these for years (I don\’t think tackling them when I was in Brownies counts!)

  9. Red Ted Art says:


  10. These are beautiful. I would love to try them.

  11. The Monko says:

    These are absolutely brilliant. Little bit of crafting fun for mummy and little bit of threading fun for toddler. Definitely giving this one a go. Thanks for sharing

  12. Thank you for sharing at Sharing Saturday!! I can\’t wait to try these.

  13. Scottish Mum says:

    I have not seen those made before, and they look fabulous. I may have to give those a go with the kids on the next rainy day.

  14. Mary says:

    have done these for years! we used to make christmas decorations using these when the kids were little and were broke! Now I know what to use the Christmas radio times for!

  15. Aimee says:

    This is fantastic- I just pinned it on Pinterest! Thank you for sharing this with us on The Sunday Showcase Look forward to you each week!

  16. Great Post! You will be features at New Nostalgia’s Anti-Procrastination Tuesday. Thanks for linking up!

  17. Wow! These are so neat! I had never heard of them before. I have pinned it, and will definitely be linking it into my post. Thanks for sharing it with me!

  18. This is amazing! I love it and can\’t wait to try it!

  19. Nadine Gillenwaters says:

    My Daddy made a necklace of these when he was overseas in WWll. Now they look like antiques. I am so glad to still have them! I can’t wait to try some of my own. What do you use to string them with? and what is PVA glue?

  20. Joanna says:

    What’s PVA glue

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