Tutorial: Colorful Plastic Beads from Plastic Bottles – #EtsyCIJ #EtsyCraftParty 2016

Contributor post by Alicia from AliciasFindings

“Tutorial: How To Make A Colorful Bead from Plastic Bottles” by Dawn from DeeDeeDeesigns


What Color(s) Inspired This Tutorial? Please Share Your Advice For Creating Stunning Color Combinations.

I love the colour combination of purple and orange. As well as them being my two favourite colours, I think one of the reasons they work well together is because they are on opposite sides of the colour wheel. So my advise for creating great colour combinations is to use the good old-fashioned colour wheel for inspiration.


Although the main medium in my Etsy shop is clay I also love to upcycle and re-purpose materials in both my shop and in my overall life. I do this because I find it a great creative outlet, but also for the ethical reasons of preserving the planet and countering, in my own small way, the effects of climate change. This tutorial uses plastic drink bottles and turns them into beautiful light weight beads suitable for jewellery and any other craft projects you may be creating.

Materials Used

The first step is to gather together the materials you need:

Empty drink bottle

Craft knife


Coloured markers

Needle nose pliers

Hair dryer or heat gun


Tutorial Directions

Using your craft knife cut your drink bottle into three sections. We will be using the middle section which is all the same thickness.


Next cut the center piece of the bottle down the middle so that you have a flat sheet of plastic.


Now begin cutting this sheet into strips. The width of your strips will determine the size of your beads.


Now for the fun bit – adding colour. As you can see I randomly coloured my strips of plastic, but you can also draw a more formal design, add stripes, polka dots, anything you like.


Colour all your plastic strips so you have a nice collection to work with….


Now we need the needle nosed pliers. Grip the end of the plastic strip firmly between
the pliers and begin tightly winding the plastic – coloured side facing inward – around
the plier nose.


When fully wound firmly hold the bead in place and remove from the pliers. Now insert one nose of the pliers inside the bead and place the other nose over the end of the wound bead to prevent it unraveling. Turn on your hair dryer or heat gun and begin applying heat to the bead. Rotate the bead so that heat is distributed evenly. The amount of time this takes depends on the strength of your heat source, but you will see the plastic beginning to shrink. Once it cools it becomes a hard and durable bead.



Remove the bead from the pliers and allow to cool. Do not burn yourself on the hot pliers! Repeat with all your plastic strips till you have a gorgeous collection of unique colourful handmade beads.


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