Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Recycled paper bag friendship bracelet

I know, I got you with the title.  It isn’t technically a paper bag friendship bracelet. I guess I should have titled it, “Beads made from a brown paper bag friendship bracelet,” but that doesn’t exactly flow off the tongue now does it?  After I made this bracelet I asked my husband what he thought they were.  He had the typical male answer--rivets.  Then I told him to pick it up and he was amazed at how lightweight they were.  That is because they are paper!

These beads are pretty easy to make and after you make a couple you can zip through a bunch in no time.  Make them in any color you want but metallic looks especially nice.  They are great for teenagers to make in school colors and for special events.  The best part is that they cost, well, practically nothing. 

You will need:

Paper bag (one will make a ton of beads)

Acrylic paint in desired colors.  I used a russet metallic

Small paintbrush

Decoupage glue, Gloss Modpodge is a good one

Ruler, pencil, scissors,

Waxed paper

Bamboo skewer

.7 mm Stretch beading cord

1.     Cover your work surface with a piece of waxed paper.

2.     Cut a piece of brown paper bag 6 ½” by 14”. 

3.     Brush acrylic paint of choice onto the surface of one side of the paper.  Let dry.  Brush a coat of decoupage glue on top of the painted surface.

4.     Lay the paper out lengthwise and working vertically on the unpainted side, measure 1/4” with your ruler.  Draw a line that gradually tapers to a point. Working in the opposite side and direction, repeat this step, also tapering.  Continue across alternating so that you have as many tapered strips as needed.

5.     Cut the strips out.  Each strip makes one bead.

6.     Lay a strip on the waxed paper and with a small paintbrush, apply some decoupage glue onto the unpainted side of the strip.  Do not apply glue to the last 1/8 inch of the wider end of the strip. 

7.     Starting with the wider end place on the skewer and hold tight with finger, start to roll.  Continue rolling making sure to stay centered.  Finish with the pointed end.  Immediately remove from skewer and add a tad of glue with a toothpick if the pointed end is not completely adhered.

8.     When you have enough beads for your needs, measure a piece of 7mm beading cord around wrist leaving enough extra to tie into a knot.  String the beads onto the cord and knot it.  Weave the ends into the beads on each side. 

This would make a fun Girl Scout project for teens or pre-teens.  Swaps anyone?


Crystal Cook said...

I'm sorry that I've missed so much on your blog. :( I was just scrolling through your posts and seeing what you've been up to and I'm so impressed with your creativity! This bracelet is AMAZING! I never would have guessed it was from a paper bag. It's beautiful, and it looks fun to make too. Thanks for all the great ideas!

Anonymous said...

Wow!!! What a neat idea and I love the finished look! Great idea Crystal and you are so kind to share it here on your blog. I have got to try this :)

Magic Love Crow said...

Crystal, this is great! I think I might try this one! Thanks so much ;o)

angelandspot said...

That looks so pretty.

Carol Blackburn said...

Wonderful post, Crystal. I still have a necklace my daughter made like this in school when she was in third grade. Great craft for the little girls.

Liz Revit said...

Hi, Crystal. I like the way you painted the paper bag. I've used decorative paper to make these kinds of beads before, but you have to watch the thickness of the paper. If the paper is too thick, it's a bit harder to roll and stay there. Likewise, if the paper is too thin (like magazine pages), you don't get a substantial weight for the beads.

Are you on They're always looking for craft tutorials.

Leovi said...

An excellent idea and very creative. Beautiful design. Thanks for sharing.

Lee said...

Another wonderful and fun activity to get the kids creating! Love the look of it! All the new metallic paints would make for lovely finished products. Thanks, Crystal :D

Wanda said...

Thats just so clever... and love your detailed instructions.

pve design said...

We have a snow day today and this looks like a perfect project for my 11 year old! Thanks!

party bags said...

My Mom and I have made something like this. The outcome is nice. It's time consuming though.

KAT said...

Great for a rainy day or a group gab and create get together...I love the look of the coppery color..Im going to try this soon!
Thank you for your wonderful description and photos
KAT (hugs)

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