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Make Plastic Beads

Make Plastic Beads

Total Time Needed: 1-2 Hours

Colored with markers and baked into permanent coils, these plastic bottle beads are reminiscent of colored glass.


  • Craft knife (adults only)
  • Clean and dry 16.9- to 20-ounce plastic bottles
  • Scissors
  • Permanent markers
  • Plain cotton string
  • Aluminum foil
  • Baking sheet
  • Store-bought beads
  • Clear elastic beading cord (available at craft stores)


Make Plastic Beads step 1

1. With the craft knife, cut the top and bottom sections from the bottle, as shown. Use scissors to cut the resulting cylinder into a rectangle. (Trim and discard any glue-covered parts of the bottle.)

Make Plastic Beads step 2

2. Cut the rectangle into 1/2- to 3/4-inch-wide strips, following the curve of the plastic.

Make Plastic Beads step 3

3. Draw with permanent markers on the inside of the curved plastic strips. (If made on the outside, the marks may rub off.)

Make Plastic Beads step 4

4. Roll each strip around a pen or pencil, then tie a piece of string around the strip as shown. (You'll need a helper to hold the beads for this.) Place the tied strips on a foil-lined baking sheet.

Make Plastic Beads step 5

5. To set the beads, bake them at 300° until the edges begin to soften, 2 to 5 minutes. To see if they're done, carefully take one bead out and slip off the string. If the bead stays rolled up, they're ready. When the beads have cooled, slip off the string loops (you can reuse them for the next batch), then trim off any ruffl ed ends, as shown.

Make Plastic Beads step 6

6. Make a bracelet or necklace by alternating homemade beads with store-bought beads on a length of clear elastic beading cord.


We used water and soda bottles, both clear and green. Look for small bottles made of thin, smooth plastic. Two-liter bottles and many used for vitamin waters and sports drinks are diffi cult to cut and roll.