Boston Children's Museum
308 Congress Street, Boston, MA 02210
In this activity, children will make beads out of scrap paper and string them together to make wearable art. These beads can be really beautiful, and aside from all that kids get out of this as an art activity, they will also be experimenting with patterns and shapes.
Gather scrap paper – the more interesting the paper, the better the beads. Magazines and wrapping paper work well, but you can also use construction paper, origami paper—anything you have around. You might also want to make some beads ahead of time yourself so your students can see what they’ll be making.
Ask your students if they’ve ever made jewelry. What did they make? What materials did they use?
Make a beautiful bracelet or necklace using just paper, glue and string!
Once your students have seen this process, have them make their own beads, and make lots of them—they’ll need many beads to make a necklace or bracelet.
After 10–15 minutes of activity, when everyone has made at least 1 bead, stop your students and bring them together to share their observations with each other. What was easy or hard about making the beads? Does anyone have any advice on the process, or on picking out cool patterns? This discussion should last no more than a few minutes.
Send your students back to the activity to finish making all their beads. Once they have their beads done, students can cover them in watered-down glue or clear nail polish using small paintbrushes. This last step makes the beads both shiny and sturdy. Let these beads dry completely, then thread the string, fishing line or floss through the holes in the center of the beads to create the finished necklace or bracelet.