Did you know that 46% of Americans think beading is becoming more popular?
Bead crafts for kids are especially helpful during winter break when the weather isn’t always permitting for outside playtime.
Beads are accessible to all age levels, small children can enjoy making large bead crafts, while teenagers can make more complex and stylish creations.
Here are some exciting bead crafts you haven’t thought of yet.
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Recycled Magazine Beads
A pile of dusty magazines likely lives in even the most digitized, modern households. Clean out the clutter over winter break and finally put the unread magazines to use by turning it into a fun, creative project.
Strips of rolled-up and glued magazine pages can transform into some seriously stylish boho-like beads. All that’s really needed is an old magazine, glue, toothpicks and some kind of varnish.
You simply wrap strips of magazine paper tightly around a toothpick and glue it in place. You’ll learn that different widths and lengths of paper make different types of beads. It will also become clear that whatever the last, outward-facing color of most magazine strips is, will be the primary color of the bead.
DIY Plastic Beads
The world is in somewhat of a plastic epidemic, so why not do your part and make something memorable in the process? All types of household plastics can be trimmed and shaped into beads.
Plastic bead production can be as elementary or advanced as you want it to be. There are some seriously complex tutorials out there. But one of the simplest ways to turn plastic into beads is to use bendable plastics like the kind water bottles are made of.
Cut strips squares of plastic or strips that are as wide as the desired bead size. Have the kids use markers like sharpies to color the plastic with. These colors will be the colors of your beads. This step isn’t necessary but makes the process more interactive for kids.
An adult will have to manage the task of actually making the beads. Using pliers, hold one end of the plastic strip, and wrap the strip around the plyers to create the basic shape of the bead. Note that the bead will look larger than you want at this stage.
Next, use a heat gun, stovetop or candle to mend the plastic together into one solid bead. The bead will start to shrink and take form here. The colors of the markers will also become brighter.
Rocks, Minerals, and Seashells
Some of the best materials for beads and art can be found just outside your front door. Using supplies found in nature can give your kids some much needed outside time, and deepen their appreciation and knowledge of nature.
The most interesting specimens of rocks and minerals are often found after periods of rain and snow when the soil has loosened and moved. Those living in the Southwest, West Coast, Great Lakes, and South have some especially exceptional areas to find colorful crystals and other minerals.
If you live by any body of water, from a stream to a major coastline, the banks and beaches host shells and tumbled stones that can make for great beads. Even if you don’t have any exceptionally interesting rocks in your neighborhood, it’s easy to turn any rock into something beautiful with a little paint or glitter.
If you don’t have a proper drill for putting a hole in rocks or shells to make beads, there are a lot of creative options. You can wrap the wire around the bead. You can also use pendants like a bell cap, and simply use craft glue to attach the stone to create a pendant.
Melted Bead Art and Decor
Melting plastic beads is the perfect project for families who have a surplus of beads in the house, and are tired of stringing them through string to make jewelry and other more obvious bead crafts.
Plastic beads can be melted to make a lot of different items. Your imagination and time commitment is really the only limit. You can layout beads on a surface in the form of a favorite animal or cartoon character, then melt them together, to create a coaster or ornament.
You can create melted bead bowls and dishes, complete works of art, sun catchers and so much more! There are a lot of different techniques for heating and shaping plastic beads to be meted into different creations. Browse Pinterest by searching “melted beads” for some inspiration.
Going Beyond Jewelry: Bead Crafts for Kids
Usually, jewelry first comes to mind when you think of bead crafts for kids. But all types of beads can be used in a lot of other ways to craft unique creations.
Creative Jewelry Designs — Before we get into ideas that aren’t jewelry, it’s important to know that jewelry doesn’t have to be as simple as one string of beads tied together to make a necklace or bracelet. There are some seriously creative ways to string beads to make earrings, layered bracelets, and 3D flowers.
Garland — From wooden to glass beads, any type of bead can be used to make an exceptional garland.
Wire and Pipe Cleaners for Shapes — Consider using wire instead of string to shape beaded creations into stars and hearts, or 3D pumpkins or balls.
Dragonflies, Lizards, and Critters — Using pony beads to make shapes that can be hung and played with like toys is a favorite pastime for many beaders. But consider using other types of beads too.
Making the Most of Winter Break with Art and Crafts
Bead crafts for kids can turn an average day of passing time into a memorable family memory that enhances your child’s creativity and imagination.
Get more ideas for entertaining the kids during winter break, read more of our articles for tips!