Crafts, Kids

Paper Beads

I recently learned a new word: Craftism. It involves combining crafting and activism, or making the world a better place through crafts. You can read more from the Craftism Manifesto here. Since I have a 5 year old who loves making things, our house is filled with crafts. A big part of living zero waste is asking yourself before you make/buy something: “What am I going to do with this when I no longer need it (or it breaks, or I don’t want it, ect)? If the answer is “throw it away,” then I try to find a different way. Many of the things kids make are quite transitory–a memory box can only hold so many popsicle stick figures! Making crafts out of materials which can be recycled or composted is ideal–and avoiding any parts made from plastic(unless that plastic is trash you are reclaiming, of course!).

My daughter LOVES making crafts with those plastic pony beads. These beads are particularly dangerous because if they get out of your house (which of course they do), they look like food and can harm birds that eat them. I love the idea of making a necklace out of a material that wouldn’t cause trouble if the necklace broke while playing outside. Not to mention being plastic free so I don’t have to feel bad about whatever chemicals the factory workers were exposed to when they made something for my daughter to play with for 5 minutes. Enter: Paper beads!

Most tutorials for paper beads use synthetic white glue, which is not biodegradable and comes in a plastic bottle. The solution? DIY glue. It is quite simple: flour and water mixed together. If you have a gluten sensitivity, be sure to wash your hands after using it, or use gluten free flour instead. This glue works really well for gluing paper together. You can use it in any craft which requires glueing paper or other lightweight materials.

I used whole wheat flour because it is what I had on hand and it works well. It might look even better with white all purpose flour.

I always find a video is more useful than pictures when explaining a craft, so below is a video from our YouTube account with instructions. The 5 year old was filming, so sorry for some of the off center shots 🙂 Have fun!

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