Making Recycled Bottle Beads

I’m feeling very eco conscious lately. I think it has something to do with my growing feeling of connection to nature. That’s sounds a bit preachy, but summer is here, and I’m outside loads and my Toms are thriving in my front window, and I’ve managed to maintain my last New Years resolution to start recycling so I’m pretty happy. But boost my eco credentials a little more and to satisfy my interest in beading I thought I’d try something new.

A jewellery friend of mine said that you could make beads from plastic bottles really simply. So intrigued, I thought I’d give it a whirl. If you fancy giving it a shot, just follow my super simple tutorial.

  1. Take a clean, empty plastic bottle. Cut the top and bottom off. Then cut along the remaining cylinder to open it up flat (Mind out doing these bits as you don’t have much control of your blade. Don’t worry about getting straight lines)
  2. Take a steel ruler and start cutting strips of plastic 1-2cm in width
  3. Colour them in with permanent markers (I used pantones for more variety in colours) and leave them to dry for about 20 minutes
  4. Roll each strip up as tightly as you can and hold in place with a pair of pliers
  5. Hold near a heat source for a few seconds turning as you do. For the heat source I used the gas flame on my cooker but I have also used a candle. Be careful not to hold it too close or you’ll start to melt the plastic and some pretty nasty fumes will be let off. Open a window just in case to keep air circulating.

And that’s it! Keep repeating to increase your bead stash. Try different bottles, strip widths and lengths and colours. I’m delighted with them, they look ace! I just wish I had more time to make something with them. Soon, I promise.

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6 Responses to “Making Recycled Bottle Beads”


  1. 1 Raquel Ernst May 28, 2010 at 9:52 pm

    Super great post! Really..

  2. 2 kamikinard August 29, 2010 at 2:01 am

    I really enjoyed checking out your blog. My daughter and I tried making these beads right away. It was great fun. Of course she had to try the Sculpy cupcakes too. So cute! She experimented with the bottle bottoms and made pendants for her kids’craft blog.
    http://www.craftycrafts.wordpress.com

    • 3 Emma August 29, 2010 at 8:24 am

      Thanks. I’m glad you enjoyed them and I’m very impressed you managed to boost the eco-credentials even more by recycling the bottle base. Well Done. I’ll have to have a try myself. 🙂

  3. 4 arianne May 27, 2011 at 10:53 pm

    Do you think it’s also possible to give it a small pattern or so? How do you think would be best done?
    And is a small bottle (0,5 ltr) wide enough to make beads like you did, or do you need a big bottle (like at least a ltr)?

    • 5 Emma May 28, 2011 at 10:51 am

      Yes, I think you could try it with a smaller bottle, your bead just wont have the same thickness. I’d say give it a go with a few different sized bottles and see what you like the most 🙂


  1. 1 Keep it Bottled Up « Trackback on June 27, 2010 at 7:52 am

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Knit1Slip1 is the creation of Emma and documents all kinds of crafting and arty adventures. From knitting and sewing to DIY and design. Anything that strikes Emma's fancy really. Stay and have a look around. Enjoy free tutorials and browse through past adventures

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