Paper Mache Beads – Homemade Beads DIY Tutorial

Paper Mache Beads Tutorial

This is probably the cheapest craft ever.

What you’ll need to make your own paper jewelry:

  • Newspaper, get some of those free ones for extra cheapness.
  • Bowl.
  • Water.
  • Craft paint or whatever type of paint you have at home. As long as it sticks on paper, it’s cool! (Probably shouldn’t use water colour though..?)
  • Varnish, if you want to make your beads extra shiny.
  • Drill. If you have one. Otherwise, punch a hole in the beads while they’re wet with a thin knitting needle and leave them to dry on it. I’ve used toothpicks for this before, but I find that knitting needles are easier to get out once the beads are dry.
  • Nail files for buffering and smoothing out surfaces of the dried beads. This step is not needed but will give the beads a very nice and even finish.

paper beads tutorial step 1

Tear up the newspaper in small pieces and put it in a bowl of water.

Either wait a day or two for the paper to dissolve or blend with a mixer. Some people like to use boiling water to dissolve the paper and then add glue to the mass, but I think my technique works just as well. I’ve never had any problem with beads not holding together because I left out the glue. Check out the links at the end of this post for two very good tutorials that uses glue and boiling water.


WARNING: If you use the blender for food, you are going to need to thoroughly clean it afterwards and IT WILL GET DISCOLOURED!!!

paper mass

When the paper mass looks something like this it’s ready to shape into beads.

shaping beads

Shape the paper goo into beads. Squeeze out as much water as possible while shaping.

paper mass beads tutorial

Put them on a newspaper and let them dry for a few days.

paper mache diy

Use sand paper or nail files to smoothen the surface of the beads.

Drill holes, paint and varnish.

paper jewelry


Here are some other great tutorials on how to make homemade beads:

Paper+Boiling water+Mod Podge= Very pretty earrings at Infarrantly Creative.

Paper+Boiling water+Glue = Awesome looking necklace at A Storybook Life.

Good luck!


Paper Mache Beads – Homemade Beads DIY Tutorial — 42 Comments

  1. Pingback: Paper Mache Bead Tutorials | I Love Paper Beads

  2. hi..ur beads r come they dont shrivel on drying?..mine dont look smooth at all and sanding them is a lot of effort since they r so hard once dry..

    • I think the secret to get them to hold once they dry is to dissolve the paper until it’s a very smooth paper mass. Sanding is a lot of work, use a rough sand paper, that will give you a smooth surface quicker. :)

        • I’ve seen my stuff on listia before (could be the same seller though, not sure!)
          Even though I don’t think it’s OK to take content from a site and list it as your own, I don’t care that much as long as it remains free(ish?) and nobody is earning money from it.

          Thank you though! Really appreciate the offer :)

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  4. How do I insert the knitting needle? I don’t have a drill. Can the ball be formed on the needle or will it get stuck?

    • I think as long as you don’t use glue in the paper mass it shouldn’t get stuck. Forming the ball directly on the needle could be a bit tricky though!

  5. Just thought you should know that the listia auction got 0 bids. The seller actually had your photos on the auction. There is a lot of that type of theft on Listia. I used to use the site all the time, but it got so bad I didn’t want to be part of it any more. For all the honest listians, I apologize. You should contact their admin if it happens again.

    • Ok, good to know! Yeah, I got that impression from the little I’ve visited listia… Too bad really. :/

  6. HI there, Thanks for all the great stuff on your blog. I’m wanting to make really large beads for an installation. I’m wondering at the best way to do this. If I molded them in do spheres, I think they would take forever to dry (being so large they would also be quite dense). Can you suggest another technique to make larger beads (think very big, they wold be for a hanging wall installations).



    • Hmmm… Maybe mold paper strips (not mass) onto ballons and then pop the ballon once the paper has dried? I think we did something similar in school. I think we dipped the paper in wallpaper paste and then put them in several layers onto the ballons. That’s all I can think of right now :)

    • Try rolled paper beads only use poster board instead of paper. Also when I make paper beads I put them onto straws. It helps to make them more sturdy and water proof plus easy to just cut off dont have to worry about it sticking and pulling it off and getting ruined. :-) Also… for hanging wall have you considered metal? Like aluminum? You could cut pop cans into strips like you do for paper beads and stick it with gorilla glue or jb weld finish with polyurethane so sharp edges dont cut after its hung. :-) would be neat :-) and should be pretty light weight and strong :-)

        • For smaller holes I use qtips, just take cotton off the ends :-) also… for those who aren’t great at drawing and painting etc… temp tattoos work great for a hand painted look :-)

  7. Just a thought… what if u used candy molds? Push the paper mass into candy molds for different shapes and styles :-) that would be so cool and easy! :-)

    • The candy molds I’ve seen have all been made from a hard plastic material, feels like the paper would tend to stick to it and It would be hard to get it out of the mold once it dries..?

      • I think some shortening or something of the sort to coat beforehand might solve the problem??? Idk. Lol haven’t tried it yet, just a thought.

  8. Does it have to be newspaper, or would magazines work as well? I have a LOT of magaziness I want to do something creative with and beading would be awesome . . .

  9. If you want really large beads, I used polystyrene balls (craft store – kids section!) and layered about 4 or 5 layers on it. Its not 100% “paper beads” I know, but…..still. Looks awesome. Great blog post too – I tried this with varying success, and I’m sorry it got listed on some scammy site.

    • It worked for me, can’t really guarantee it will work for everybody… Try it out on a smaller scale first and see :)

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  11. How big are these beads in photo? I am looking to make some around an inch to insert into up-cycled silky scarf necklaces. (Book: Dozens of ways to Repurpose Scarves) All Wood beads/balls at Joanns are expensive!

    • Can’t name the exact brand, I’m in Sweden and this was several years ago. Just regular varnish that works on painted surfaces and paper will def work!

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  13. excuse me please when i finish mashing it and using water before i add gum it wont stick because water and gum does not go together

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