Catalog Paper Beads -- Recycling Catalogs -- Tween & Teen Craft for Earth Day


This week I started thinking about paper beads with something different. I had an Oriental Catalog sitting around and decided to try making beads from it. I was thinking this would be a fun Earth Day craft for tweens and teens. I tried different shapes and methods which I will share with you here. Most of the paper beads I have made have been recycling paper, but most of them were with special paper that I had. I wanted to find something that people would have in their homes to recycle. I came up with catalogs. I started with the Oriental Trading catalog that came in the mail recently. I still have pages of it even with all the beads I made.

I decided to try to make the various shapes and see how cutting the strips made a difference. I discovered I liked the ones where I cut the full width of the triangle opened up. I began with the simple tubular beads. The strip for these is a triangle. If they are long enough they will make the round beads. When I started with the length of the catalog the beads were more like a cylinder. Using the double width gave a much fatter and round bead.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's start with what you need. You need a catalog you don't mind cutting up. A magazine will also work. You need scissors and/or a rotary cutter and mat. You need some skewers, clear tape, and if you have one a quilling tool with a wider tip. I use one that like the one in this set. I tried a regular size, but the holes were too small to get the skewer through. You need some glue. Some people use glue sticks but I prefer white glue or craft glue. You will also want something to seal the beads with. I use Mod Podge and thus I need a paint brush. I also use a floral foam cube to stick the skewers in once I put the Mod Podge on to let them dry. Plus of course you will need whatever stringing supplies you want to make them into bracelets and/or necklaces.

Now if you do not have the quilling tool, you can use a skewer and glue. I suggest wrapping some clear tape around part of the skewer, so the paper doesn't stick to the skewer. I found I had to do this when sealing them as well. I usually wrapped two small pieces of clear tape near each end of the skewer so I could put two beads on each skewer. When I didn't do this, I lost some of my beads. Once you have the tape on the skewer, you wrap the paper (wide end of triangle) and put a little glue to secure it as a loop. Then wrap the strip around the skewer trying to center the paper throughout it. Put a little glue on the end of the triangle to secure the wrapping. Remove it from the skewer and make the next one. Now what will show from the catalog the most is whatever is on the tip of the triangle as it will be in the center and where the paper ends. You can choose which side to wrap depending on how the tips look. Five of the beads below were made with triangular shaped strips. The ones on the far-right bottom are the ones that were not. If you are using scissors, you can print a free template like this one or draw the lines on the side you do not want to use so you have them. I found I liked the half-inch sized ones the best (base of triangle is half inch). I tried three-quarter-inch ones as well, but they were not as full. The one that is furthest left is the three-quarter one. Some of the smaller ones are scraps of the diablo.

The farthest bottom one is a cone shape. It is made with a right triangle strip. You can see how to make cone ones here. I also made some diablo beads. These are made with a rectangular strips with a triangle cut out of them. I always use the triangles to make tubular/round beads as well. I found with the size of the catalog (I cut the double width for strips) that I liked the look of the ones made with a half-inch width rectangle. 

To make the diablo you start with the rectangle side. When you get to the split you do each one separately. Hold the left side to keep it aligned. You try to align the outside of each side. The diablo bead looks a bit like a dumbbell. 

After making many beads I decided to makes some bracelets and necklaces with my paper beads. Now the colors are rather random since I used the pages of the catalog. I used some beads I have to put with the paper beads in most. Although I did make one bracelet of just paper beads. I used tubular beads and cone beads and alternated them.

After these two bracelets I mismatched my paper beads. I made a necklace and bracelet set with clear beads between them and then a set with various colors between them.

I even took pictures with me in both sets.

Here are the ones with the different colors between them.

I strung them all with 1mm elastic cord. I always use some super glue on the knots I tie with this type of string. I know my daughter thinks they are cool. I think many tweens and teens will love making these. Plus, it means recycling the catalogs in a fun way where we know they are truly getting recycled.