We often receive messages asking how we made our eco-jewelry, which has prompted us to write this tutorial! As with most craft projects, there are various ways to make these beads but here are the steps that work best for us.
Here is the list of materials you will need:
Craft glue (the white kind) or carpenter’s glue (even though it’s yellow it dries clear)
An old pot
Ribbon or string
Spray glossy (matte or glossy)
1. First take at least half of a newspaper and shred it into pieces. You can rip the pages into chunks or tear them into strips. Ensure the chunks are small enough that they will break down. If you want to make really large beads you will need more paper.
2. Boil water in an old pot (it will get stained). Put the shredded newspaper into water. Stir occasionally and let the newspaper sit in the water for at least an hour so that it can break down.
3. Once the paper is broken down strain out as much water as you can. I use my hands to squeeze out the water (be careful not to burn yourself).
4. Now is the fun part! Squeeze lots of glue into the pot of strained paper and work it into the paper with your hands. You need enough glue that the paper sticks together when you roll it into a ball. Be generous with the glue. You will now have a gluey-papery mess (this is a good mess!).
5. Roll the mixture into beads or shape them into squares (the possibilities are endless). It helps if you keep one palm still while rolling with the other so that the beads don’t break apart. If you find they are breaking apart no matter what you do, you may need more glue.
6. The beads will take at least 3 days to dry. Make sure they are dried completely before you drill them or you will end up with a crumbled mess (trust me!). Shake the beads every few hours for a few days so that they don’t end up with a flat side.
7. Once the beads are dry drill holes into them. Depending on how you want to string them you can vary the size of the holes.
8. Sand the beads for the texture you desire.
9. Paint the beads however you like. I use acrylic paint which you can pick up anywhere and it comes in loads of different colors.
10. After the beads dry you can spray them with matte or glossy craft polish for a nice shine and a protective finish.
11. String your beads! Be creative! And walllllaaaaaa!