1. Make Beads From Old Magazines

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Welcome to Salvage Box…

50. How did that happen? I know it’s a cliché but I do still feel like I did in my twenties, although back then I was a willowy 5’7” natural dark brunette. I can still boast the height (for now, anyway) but the willow is tending towards oak and the brunette is classed as ‘Dark Chocolate Brown’ or number 4.35 for a more snappy description.

I hope someone lets me know when my face is too old for my ‘natural’ colour, or my dress sense hasn’t kept pace or…..blimey, maybe I’ve been behaving like I’m 20 for the last 30 years and nobody’s told me! Surely Kim would. She’s my straight talking best friend and business partner who I share Teacups & Tulips with. I manage the flower side of the business and Kim manages the tea room – two things that bring joy to our customers (almost all of the time).

We both hate waste. This is a great attitude to have when you’re in business, especially with the livelihoods of several staff at stake, but I also get a bit obsessive at home, constantly wondering what I can create with old jam jars or left over scraps of fabric. They can be recycled eventually but I like to breathe new life into things in the meantime. That’s what Salvage Box is about. From now on I plan to bring you a bit of inspiration for creating something each week. I might use fabric, glass, paper, or anything else that I come across, the only criteria is that each project will contain at least one element that has been salvaged. It might only be an old button used to embellish something but there will always be a component that’s had a former life. This week I’ve used pages of an old magazine to make some quirky paper beads (instructions start at the paw print below).

finished beads

Blue's signatureThese beads were made from strips that were about 2cm at the bottom, tapering to virtually nothing at the top. Make sure the shape of each strip is symmetrical if you want your bead to be symmetrical (this means you need to discard the straight edges of your magazine page at each side). I’ve tried to make this clear on a piece of paper so you can measure it out like this, or you may prefer just to do it by eye.

cutting instructions

magazine strips

Cut one strip for each bead and use something like a wooden skewer to wind the strip around (starting at the wide end) making sure you keep the paper tight and central as you go.

rolling strips

When you’ve finished rolling, glue the end to secure it to the body of the bead (I used a solution which is two parts PVA glue to one part water for this).

secure with glue

Paper is not very robust so the beads need to be glazed several times. The good news is that I used the same PVA glue/water mix as before which means you don’t have to be really neat when you’re adding glue during the rolling process because you’re going to be covering it in the same solution anyway. The first time I added the glaze I dunked the beads in it for a couple of minutes. This is a picture of my makeshift drying line (two boxes of tissues, two drawing pins and some nylon thread!).

glaze drying line

After the first dunk I just painted the glaze on, let it dry and painted another coat. I did four in total but you might want to be more cautious and do more.

more glazing

Any experts out there? Let us all know what the best glaze mixture is and the best glazing method.

Once your last coat has dried you can string them together however you like. Whether you make them out of Cosmopolitan or Country Living, I think they’ll look great (whatever your age).

simply with silver spacers
simply with silver spacers
with antique glass beads
with antique glass beads
with beads from an old necklace
with beads from an old necklace


  • I used tapered strips so the bead would be fatter in the middle but you could use straight strips to make straight beads if you prefer.
  • I added some glue/water mix part way through rolling to give it a bit more security.
  • Paper bead making is a popular craft and there are many ideas and tutorials online. I especially like this video from Jennibellie’s studio.

Salvaged Items:

  • Magazine pages
  • Beads from old necklaces to mix in

Have a look at the photos in the gallery for a couple of other finished examples.

If you’d like to know more about Salvage Box have a quick look at my profile (top left) and come back next week to see what I’ve been up to.

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2 thoughts on “1. Make Beads From Old Magazines

  1. Congratulations on your first post! 🙂

    That’s an excellent guide to making the beads, and they look great – as does the blog.

    Looking forward to the next update. I’m very intrigued to see all of your salvage projects.

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