Friday, January 11, 2013

Recycled Paper Beads from Junk Mail

The inspiration for this idea came from two different websites: pintalalluna & astorybooklife. Combining their directions I came up with this method for making paper beads. We'll be using these, along with store bought wooden beads, for our first of the year MOPS craft.

Step 1: Shred hated junk mail
my 3 year old's
photography skills

Step 2: Place in large pot and cover with boiling water (as I poured in the boiling water I was able to add more shredded paper) These two pots (my largest) held about a shredder and a half. A stock pot would be better! lol

Step 3: Cover and let sit for an hour. Stir occasionally to break up the paper fibers.
Step 4: use a blender to further break down the paper.

Step d: drain as best as possible
Step 6: Add enough plaster of paris to create a firm consistency.

Step 7: Roll into desired size balls, squeezing water out as you go.
This step was pretty messy. I kept a Tupperware bowl next to me to squeeze the water into.

Step 8: Drill holes. Yep, DRILL, the plaster is pretty tough and trying to push a nail through it only broke the ball. Screw and drill it was.
Optional Step: If balls seem rough to the touch, smooth with sand paper
(I skipped this step ONLY because we will be coating these with tissue paper and Mod Podge. If we were painting them I would have sanded them.)

Step 9: Decorate!
Click here for the tutorial from Art Mind on how to decorate.

Here are a few of the recycled balls I decorated last night. Not sure where they'll go...they look so fun just by themselves!


I didn't take any pictures with my camera decorating the recycled beads. Click the link below to see one I took with my phone at our MOPS meeting.
Click here to see my post on decorating beads at our MOPS group.

Step 3: allow to simmer for several hours, stir or use a hand blender periodically to help break up the paper.

Step 4: drain
Step 5: add plaster of paris and mix well

 The best part of this method is that there was less water to squeeze out as I rolled the balls. The draw back is that it takes FOREVER for them to dry. Unfortunately I wasn't able to use the balls from this method of the MOPS activity because they weren't dry enough.

Step 6: roll into balls and allow to dry. 
Step 7: drill holes
Step 8: OPTIONAL, sand rough edges if you plan on painting them or want a more smooth finish
Step 9: Decorate!
(which I still haven't done. now that they aren't needed for MOPS I'm going to hang onto them and see what other purposes I can come up with.)


  1. Very cool! I love how creative you are! I am your newest follower!

  2. This is awesome!

    I have nominated you for a Liebster award.. details here if you wish to participate

  3. Love your creativity! I am a new follower! Looking forward to seeing what you will be doing next!! Thank you for your comment on my quiche:)

    1. Thanks for your sweet comment! Following you right back.

  4. Wonderful! I love this!
    I'm stopping by to invite to a link-up on my blog. It's a link up for OLD projects--why not get some more traffic to those old great projects?!?
    Come join, it's live now!


  5. This would be a great idea for "seed bombs." You can mix with clay and add your seeds. Once they dry, package them up for a gift or toss them our in the yard for an instant garden patch!

    1. Hi Mary,
      I'm interested in this idea. Would it still work if I used the beads I already have? Just wrap the clay and seeds around them? And which clay do you recommend? This would be great to add to the end-of-the-year-gift we give to the childcare workers. Thanks!

  6. What a great idea. Love how easy it is to do too. I love looking around your lovely blog and I am a new follower. Love for you to stop by at

    Have a great week.


  7. When you let your creativity run wild, you will definitely come up with fantastic ideas. Who would have thought that you can use those shredded junk mails to create wonderful paper beads? Thanks for sharing this! Now, I'm sure that people won't just try to dispose of those papers easily, as they can try to create something ingenious like this too!

    Ruby Badcoe @ Williams Data Management

  8. hmmm i might not hate junk mail any more! wow what a fun idea and so love these beads!! yours look so pretty and who would ever guess? I am so going to make some junk mail beads! Thanks for sharing with our creative challenge!

  9. I always love the idea of recycling paper this way. It looks like a lot of work but the results are awesome. Best wishes, Darlene