How to Make Paper Beads Out of Old Picture Books

What do you do with the picture books that are beyond being well-loved? You know the ones- often not attached to their covers, pages missing, battered and torn… My book-loving heart can’t bear to throw them out. Here’s a way to extend their life by turning them into paper beads.


Make Paper Beads out of Picture Books


  • Old picture books
  • Scissors
  • Mod Podge
  • Scissors
  • Skewers


Make Paper Beads out of Picture Books

Step 1: First cut the pages into thin, triangular strips. They need to have a wider end that leads to a smaller tip.Strips of paper with wider ends create longer, bigger beads.

On average, the wide bases of my paper strips were about 3.5 centimetres.

Cut paper for paper beads

Step 2: Cover one side of paper strip with Mod Podge. This will be the inner side of your bead. This can be a pretty messy activity. Or perhaps that’s because I did it with an almost-3-year-old who thought that it was most fabulous being able to use glue? I strongly recommend you lay a drop sheet and have paper towel close by.

Step 3: Curl wider end around skewer. I’m right-handed so I used my right hand to spin the skewer and my left hand to gently squeeze the paper bead into shape. 4. Don’t wrap the bead too tightly! You need to be able to slide it off the skewer. Use extra Mod Podge to glue down thinner end. You can coat the outer of your bead with Mod Podge.

Step 4: Lay your beads on baking paper to dry. Once dried, they will be hard and you can use them as you please!

You could use them to make jewellery…

Make paper beads from old picture books - jewellery

Or to create little dolls…

Little dolls from paper beads

I used jewellery wire and first created a circle for the head. I then threaded the beads onto the head. I twisted the wire around the neck to hold the head in place. I then threaded beads along the torso and one leg. I used a separate piece of wire for the second leg. To hold the beads in place on the limbs, I folded the wire back against the beads. I then covered the wire with gaffer tape to protect little fingers. Then use a separate piece of wire to wrap around the upper torso to create the arms.

What do you do with the battered, well-loved picture books at your place?

More kids’ activities from Shannon:

Images: Oh Creative Day. This craft tutorial first appeared on Oh Creative Day.


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