Fabric and Paper Beads

Pamela Bead Lesson

Fabric beads are a fun and simple project with a slew of applications. If you don’t have fabric you can use thin paper (tissue paper, wrapping paper) and make paper beads. The fine motor practice benefits students’ handwriting, object manipulation, and attention to detail.

You will need:

  • Plastic straws
  • Scraps of colorful fabric
  • Colorful yarn or thread
  • Glue
  • Small paintbrush
  • Plastic dish
  • Beads or buttons
  • Bracelet clasps (optional)
  • Scissors
  • Wire (beading, floral, or any other wire that is flexible)

Applications Across Subjects:

  • Measuring units (using rulers and other measuring tools to prepare materials)
  • Measuring the lengths of beads, jewelry, etc.
  • Geometry units (looking at different shape and size fabrics/papers to create different shape and size beads)
  • Making patterns with the beads
  • How-To books (about making the beads)
  • Non-fiction writing about beads- history, uses, different cultures
  • Fiction writing
Social Studies
  • Study of beads, jewelry, the history and uses of beads and jewelry, beads and jewelry in different cultures
  • The science of bead-making: where do the fabrics and papers come from, how are they made, natural vs. chemical dyes
Social & Emotional
  • Beads can be soothing, like a sensory fidget toy
  • Beads can be a reminder of self-regulation goals
  • Beads can be used to add to a long string every time students work together, help each other, are kind, etc. to show positive behavior over time. You could start a new string each month.


  1. Cut straws approximately two inches long.
  1. Cut fabric into rectangles; the width should be the same as the cut straw.
  1. Pour some glue on a your plastic dish. Brush glue on fabric strip. Saturate.
  1. Roll your fabric strip against the straw. You can knead the piece to make it tighter.
  1. Take your yarn and roll around the bead. Brush over with glue again.
  1. Cut leftover straw from the bead.
No-Sew Costumes
Houses and Other Dwellings