Note from Design Mom: I asked Kate of Mini Eco to create a Back to School themed project for us to try. I think making beads out of colored pencils is brilliant! Wouldn’t these beads be fun for your elementary school-ers to string for a class project? It would also be a fun activity at an art-themed birthday party. Here’s Kate:

Lately I have become a little addicted to making (and wearing) colored pencil jewelry. The items pictured are really easy to make and only require a few basic tools. You don’t even need to buy any materials, simply chop a few centimeters from the end of your kids crayons…if you do this neatly then they will be none the wiser!!

I think the results look great and you, or your child, will definitely stand out from the crowd wearing them!

You will need

  • Colored Pencils
  • Junior hacksaw
  • Fine sandpaper
  • Drill and small drill bit
  • Thread (for the necklace)
  • Superglue (for the brooch and earrings)
  • Brooch back (for the brooch)

 

How to: Basic Bead Necklace

1. For the basic necklace you will need to begin by making your beads. You can use either hexagonal or round crayons. The beads I cut were 7mm long. To cut your beads use a small, sharp, hacksaw blade. (In the UK you can pick up a junior hacksaw for a pound or two in most hardware shops). Take your time when cutting the crayons and try not to apply too much pressure…that way you are less likely to chip the paint off the outside.

2 & 3. Don’t worry if the cut surface of your beads look a bit scruffy…all they need is a quick rub with some sandpaper. I found it easier to lay the sandpaper on a flat surface and rub the bead along it.

4. Now drill a hole in the side of each bead using a small drill bit. Make sure you place a scrap piece of wood underneath. It’s not a good idea to get holes in the kitchen table!

Once you have cut a number of beads simply string them onto a length of thread…job done!

Tip: These little beads are also make lovely bracelets. If bright colours aren’t your thing then try some more subdued shades. White colored pencil beads look especially nice.

 

How to: Pointy Necklace

1. Begin by sharpening your colored pencil, then cut the end off as before. My beads measured about 3.5cm in length.

2. Drill a small hole through the end of your beads

3. String the beads onto some thread. You can add some co-ordinating beads if you wish.

 

How to: Brooch

If you fancy a bit more of a challenge then why not have a go at making the colored pencil brooch?

1. You will need to use hexagonal pencils for the brooch. Cut your beads as before. Mine were 6mm in length. You need 19 beads to make the brooch pictured.

2. Put some sandpaper on a flat surface and sand the beads so they are nice and smooth.

3. Work out how you want the beads to be arranged before you being gluing. Once you have decided simply start sticking the beads together using superglue.

4. Once your beads are all stuck together sand the underside of the brooch until it is flat and smooth.

5. Superglue a ‘brooch-back’ to the back of the brooch.

Tip: The best way to avoid making a wonky brooch is to assemble it on a flat surface. The underside of the brooch will be the most even so make sure this becomes the front of the brooch.

Make sure you only use the tiniest dab of superglue on each bead….and don’t stick your fingers together! I have done this before and was reminded how powerful superglue is!

Finally, remember these necklaces are not recommended for under three’s. I would also avoid making the pointy bead necklace for any child…for obvious reasons.