Extreme Upcycling

Bag at beach
Bag at beach

Ever look at a shopping bag and think, “that would make a great necklace!” Shopping bags are perfect for making paper bead necklaces because they are an ideal length, the paper is sturdy and best of all, glossy bags make for nice shiny beads. I chose this bag from a beach side bazaar in Seaside, FL called Perspicasity. I liked their color choices of iced coffee and limpet shell from the 2016 Pantone colors list. 

Necklace bag 2
Necklace bag 2

Tip: Choose a bag from a store while on vacation, then you'll always have a handmade item to remind you of your trip. Well, that and the original thing that you bought in the bag. Make a dazzling paper bead tassel necklace in 4 simple steps! Supply List: scissors glue paper shopping bag string or twine rolling device - wooden dowel rod, large toothpick, coffee stirrer, pick up sticks, bamboo or wood skewer - basically anything long, round and narrow to roll the paper around. (optional) acrylic paint (optional) paint brush 1. CUT Cut the bag from top to bottom into long tapered strips of paper. The paper beads on this necklace were made from paper strips ranging from about 1/4 inch to 1 inch wide.

Bag cutting
Bag cutting

2. ROLL Start by rolling the widest part of the paper strips around your dowel or rod. When you get to where you only have an inch or two of paper left, you’ll want to drop a dot of glue to make the paper stayed rolled up. 

Bead making 1
Bead making 1
Bead with glue dot
Bead with glue dot
Bead on dowel
Bead on dowel

If there is excess glue, keep rolling until it is evenly spread all around outside of bead. Promptly take bead off of dowel so that glue doesn’t dry sticking bead to rod. Put beads on something plastic, like a zip lock bag to dry. The number of beads you need depend on the width of your paper strips and also the length of the necklace. I find it’s easiest to make the small beads first. Then they gradually become bigger when I start to become impatient.

Beads
Beads

If you want to add a little shine to your necklace or mix up the color scheme, you can paint beads after they have dried. I prefer Martha Stewart multi-surface metallic acrylic craft paint. You can get it at Michael’s, Amazon or any craft store. But any acrylic craft paint will do. If you paint your beads, make sure you let the beads dry on a plastic surface or something slick (not paper) so they don’t dry to the surface. If you want to make the beads shine but keep the original colors, you can paint them with a clear gloss paint or a gloss mod podge. 3. TASSEL (optional) To make the tassel, I cut a bag handle off, unraveled it and cut slits in the top and bottom. Then I wrapped it over the string in the middle. Next I unraveled the second bag handle and tied it around the first to secure it to the necklace. 

Bag tassel 1
Bag tassel 1
Necklace tassel
Necklace tassel

Other options are you can buy a tassel or make a tassel from thick cotton thread or make a bead necklace without a tassel 4. STRING BEADS String the beads on the necklace and tie in back.

Bracelet and necklace 3
Bracelet and necklace 3

If you have extra beads left over, you can make a bracelet. I recommend stretchy cord or string like Stretch Magic (1.5 mm) for bracelets. You just add the bracelets to the stretchy string and tie it together. I usually add a little dot of glue on the knot for extra stability.

Bracelet 3
Bracelet 3

Next time you’re shopping, look for bags that you can upcycle into necklaces or bracelets. Imagine what you could make with these! Always colorful Tory Burch

image (19)
image (19)

Pretty in pink with Victoria's Secret:

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image (20)

Classic black Net-A-Porter:

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image (21)

The options are endless. And if you ever have crafter’s remorse and regret your decision to turn your bag into a necklace, no worries, you can always turn it back into a bag again: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/266908715386244486/

Bead Purse
Bead Purse