The theme for the Unplugged Project this week was newspaper. I confess that I was being sneaky when I chose this theme. I had planned on doing this project last week for green (green=eco=recycle=newspaper beads – get it?) but we lacked time, so I made sure to pick a theme this week that would still fit my plan. That is an advantage I have in being theme-picker!
We adapted a project that I saw in the wonderful book: Recycled Crafts Box by Laura C. Martin. The project is Paper Bead Bangles (p. 25) and she suggests using gift wrap or glossy magazines. I thought the beads might look interesting made with newspaper instead, so we tried it.
What we needed: newspaper, drinking straws, Elmer’s-type glue, small paintbrush, string or yarn, ruler, scissors, and pencil. Here are our supplies:
The first step was to choose our newspaper pages. My two oldest children chose the colorful comic pages. I thought the financial section or classifieds might make interesting beads due to the small typeface.
Next we drew a rectangle over the area we wanted to use. The rectangle was 1.5″(about 4cm) tall and exactly the same length as the straw. Here are our rectangles:
We poured some glue into a bowl and used the brushes to paint it on the back of the newspaper rectangles. Make sure your children flip their rectangle over before applying glue, otherwise the wrong side of the paper will be showing. Be sure to glue thoroughly all over the rectangle, paying special attention to the edges. The seam should be really well glued for this to work well.
The final step is to glue the paper to the straw. Put the straw in the center of the rectangle. Wrap one side over the straw as tightly as you can. Then roll the straw up in the rest of the paper, again, as tightly as possible. We then brushed glue on the outside of the wrapped straw, especially along the seam.
Here are some of our wrapped straws:
Let the straws dry and then cut them up evenly into “beads.” String the beads on the yarn or string (or wire?).
One point to consider: the straw openings are really too big for a knot. Of course you can string the beads without a knot at the end if you are making a loop for a necklace or bracelet for example. But if you just want a single strand for a tassel or something similar, then you can tie the first bead on to the end of the string by looping the yarn through and then knotting it. That will make a large enough blockage to prevent the other beads from falling off. That’s what we did for our tassel. You could also string a large ordinary bead on first to prevent the paper beads from falling off. That might be pretty too.
You can make bracelets, necklaces, bookmarks, or even tassels to hang on backpacks or dresser knobs. If you and your kids really like this project and have lots of time and straws, you could even make a 1960’s-style long beaded curtain to hang across a doorway. That would be really funky and unusual, especially for a teen!
Another idea: My daughter said she thought it would be fun to cut rectangles out of plain paper, decorate them with markers, and then turn the “homemade” paper into beads. Or how about turning old children’s artwork into beads?
Here are our finished projects –
And our favorite – a tassel for my oldest daughter’s school binder (that they use instead of backpacks):
My littlest (age 2) desperately wanted to join in and was fixated on the paintbrushes and glue so I gave her some newspaper, a cup of water, and a paint brush and she was pretty happy despite a crabby day. She even proudly showed us what she “made” (soggy newspaper):
What did you make for newspaper?
If you made something newspaper-related with us this week, then please put a link to your project in Mr. Linky. If not, then please visit the participants to see what creative projects they came up with…and join in next week!
My oldest daughter picked next week’s theme:
Good luck and have fun!