Natural Earth Day Jewelry Project 2010

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Natural Earth Day Jewelry Project 2010

Andrea Rosenfeld, professional artist, Reiki practitioner, and recycler thought to add her creative juices to this year’s wonderful event by offering a children’s necklace made from recycled paper and crayons. As a bonus, they can give the remaining crayon pendants to friends to color with.

It’s important to show children how they can connect with the earth and protect it. By taking items that would normally just add to the massive landfills and turning them into an art piece to wear or to give as a gift, they will hopefully move away from a “throw away” culture and see the potential beauty in everyday items

Handmade Paper Bead and Recycled Crayon Necklace

This necklace can be fashioned with many different types of paper and any combination of colors to go with special outfits or for special occasions. Use strips of gift-wrap, school papers, newspaper, the comics, or brown paper bags decorated to your liking with permanent markers.

What you’ll need for the paper beads:

  • Paper (It can be gift-wrap, the comics, an advertisement, school papers, catalogs, decorated newsprint, scrap booking paper, or a brown paper bag.)
  • Clean white paper towel for laying out beads
  • Child-friendly scissors
  • White glue
  • Two small cylinders, such as ink refills from an old pen; one could hold the drying beads while the other is used to wrap the new beads.
  • Natural hemp or cotton string

Directions for the paper beads:

1. Cut long triangular strips of paper (approximately ten inches long), keeping one end approximately half inch and the other end down to a point.

2. Beginning with the wide end, wrap it around the cylinder and roll it until one inch remains. Apply glue to the last inch of the paper bead and finish rolling, using your fingers to rub the excess glue all over the bead, covering it completely. Set on the second old pen or cylinder on the clean towel to dry.

3. Use the other cylinder to repeat this step with another piece of paper. After two or three minutes, remove the first bead from the resting cylinder and set aside on flat surface for complete drying. Continue in this manner until you’ve made as many beads as you want. Don’t worry about uniform sized beads. It’s fun if they are a bit different.

4. Cut twenty-two inches of hemp or cotton string, and string the beads however you like making sure you use the recycled bead pendant at the center of the necklace.

5. Place approximately eight beads on one side of the crayon pendant and eight beads on the other. Adjust by adding or removing beads before you create the closure.

6. Adding the closures: String one of your handmade paper beads onto one end of jewelry string, wrap the string over the bead and secure with two to three knots at the base of the bead.

7. On the other side of the necklace, make a loop with the string (large enough to accommodate the closure bead but not too large that it slips out) and secure the base of the loop with two to three knots. Cover both knots with glue, using your fingers, and let dry then trim the excess string.


Keep a wet rag or paper towel handy for wiping your fingers, as they will get sticky from the glue.

Make a couple of test beads with the paper you’ve chosen. You may decide that the pattern rendered is not what you wanted.

The pendant for this eco-necklace is just as colorful and fun to make as the paper beads that will surround it. The pendant will be made from crayons, chopped up and baked in shaped mini cake tins. The colored crayons are combined in the tins can be any color combinations they like and each one can be different. Make the whole tin! Use one for your focal bead and give the rest to friends or make this necklace with a group of friends!

What you’ll need for the Recycled Wax Beads:

  • Kitchen knife
  • Old crayons (Do not use Crayola Washable Crayons. The washable ingredient rises to the top.)
  • Mini-cake tins (we used pans with heart- and circle-shaped pockets)

Directions for the Recycled Wax Beads:

1. Parents will use the knife to chop crayons into pea-size pieces. Let the child choose the colors they like and put them in small piles.

2. Preheat the oven to 150 degrees while children fill the tin with crayon pieces, arranging them in interesting designs.

3. Bake just until the waxes have melted, 15 to 20 minutes. *watch the melting process periodically from a safe distance, if possible.

4. Remove the shapes after they have cooled. If they stick, place tray in the freezer for an hour, and the crayons will pop out.

5. Once the child has chosen the centerpiece recycled crayon bead, wrap the bead with enough string to hold it but not enough to hide the design. Keep the two ends of the string long (about 4”). Tie a knot with the two ends and knot again to secure it. Rub with glue, let dry and trim.

6. String the crayon pendant in the center of the necklace so that the paper beads surround it evenly on each side. See stringing directions in the Paper Bead Necklace instructions (#5).


Cut up the old crayons over an aluminum tin or other non-porous surface, not a wooden or plastic cutting board. The crayon may “color” the surface although you can remove any staining with hot water. Use any shape cookie tin you want but remember that this is a pendant for children. Do not use large cookie shapes. Use small to medium shapes.