Monday, December 19, 2011

Recycled Paper Bead Christmas Ornaments

This paper bead project is a great "recycling" project that turned out adorable!

My daughter's Girl Scout troop needed a holiday-related project that would correspond with their upcoming caroling event.

I choose a recycling / craft project for the troop after being inspired by  "{New-New} blog's recycling project" that resulted in beads made from paper. Pretty nifty idea! And, since it's a Girl Scout project, I can whip out my virtual soapbox and remind the girls of the importance of recycling. (I keep my soapbox in a virtual backpack so I can lecture my kids at any given time.)

I had planned to do a dry run of this project to see how long it would take and to see if the project was too difficult for the girls to do some of the bead molding. It turned out to be more labor intensive and time consuming than I had planned, so I scrapped the dry run idea and made the beads outside of the the troop meetings.

Project Instructions
Shredded paper that was going to be recycled
Old or inexpensive blender (I found mine at a discount store)
Non-toxic glue  (I used about 3 bottles)
Acrylic paints
Paint brushes (various sizes)
Skewers (to make the hole in the bead and to suspend the beads)
Thin cord or thread to string the beads together
Clear gloss spray paint

New-New's link goes into most of the detail of the project, so I won't be all redundant blah-blah-blah here.

The beads took about 1 week to fully dry. This time will vary, based on things like humidity and temperature.   I stored mine in the garage on baking sheets while they dried.

After the beads hardened, I primed them with gesso. I'm not sure if this step was necessary, but since the paper is porous, I assumed the beads may try to over-absorb the acrylic paints. So, I did used the gesso to play it safe.

During the painting party with the troop, I explained to the scouts (while standing on my soapbox), where the beads they were painting came from and the recycling process.  I also explained what acrylics are and how to blend colors. The girls did great! They made several beads in fun designs.

We used skewers stuck in floral foam (left over from an old project) to allow the paint to dry.

After the paint dried, I spray painted them with a clear gloss to seal them and bring out a nice shine.
We used thin cord and embroidery thread to string the beads into ornaments.

Each of our Girl Scouts will get an ornament to keep and the remainder of the ornaments will be given to the nursing home where they will be caroling this week.

Project Assessment:

  • The project took MUCH more time and was more labor intensive than I expected. It was also a very messy.
  • I did most of the project since it was too much work to do in a troop meeting.  It was a better use of time for me to complete the more time consuming steps.
  • The project (the painting part) was a lot of fun for the girls. They loved being creative painting the beads.
  • My daughter loves that it was also a recycling project ( "Taking care of the Earth", she says.)
  • The nursing home will be blessed by the girls' work.
  • The beads are adorable!
Enjoy more!

Like the idea? I would be honored for you to link back to this post!

This project was featured here!....


  1. I love all things upcycled! And these are so cute.

  2. Thank you for the awesome comments, Someonesgottapay!


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