The Art of Paper Craft: Make Chunky Tea-Dyed Paper Beads!

Kerri Klein, Photographer/Maker/Mama

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7 Lessons (16m)
    • 1. Intro-Make Chunky Tea-Dyed Paper Beads!

    • 2. Tools & Materials for Tea-Dyed Paper Beads

    • 3. Step 1: Tea-Dyeing Your Paper Beads

    • 4. Step 2: Cutting Your Bead Strips

    • 5. Step 3: Rolling Up & Coating Your Beads

    • 6. Step 4: Sealing & Finishing Your Beads

    • 7. Closing Thoughts


Project Description

Make your own Tea-Dyed Paper Beads


Your class assignment will be to complete a set of textured tea-dyed paper beads using simple & inexpensive tools & materials


Gather all needed tools & select the paper you will need for the project. I like to use thick watercolor paper because it is made to absorb wet media & also makes for a nice thick bead with a great texture.


Carefully crumple & dye your bead paper & set out to dry.


Cut your bead paper to the desired approximate size & roll them up carefully as instructed.


Protect your beads & make them more water resistant, dry & use in your projects!


• Old Towels or Paper Towels

for drying dyed paper

Mod Podge 

Gloss or Semi-Gloss

• Polyurethane Varnish

My brand is apparently discontinued, but DecoArt makes a nice small bottle!


Old Aluminum Knitting Needles or Wooden Craft Sticks

Sizes 5 or 7 work well as these can be easily washed & used again-you can find them at thrift stores for next to nothing if you don't have your own stash. Wooden craft sticks also work well, but they get pretty mucked up over time with mod podge & are harder to clean & reuse.

Plastic or Glass Cup

• Flat Paint Brush 

Any cheaper average-sized paint brush will do, I prefer flat for easier coating of the beads.

• Tray 

9" x 12" or larger-old darkroom trays work GREAT for this, but shallow plastic tubs or pyrex baking dishes work great too. Whatever you can find that is shallow, portable & holds warm/hot water will do!

• Metal or Plastic Mat or Tray

I use a thin plastic placemat because the process of applying the mod podge is very messy & will ruin your work surface easily-I simply peel off the dried mod podge from the sheet & reuse it. A thin plastic cutting board or sheet also works great, or a metal non-stick baking tray. It would be advisable to keep these for bead making/crafts after use.

• Straight Edge/Ruler & Pencil

Optional, but good for making straight lines when cutting your bead paper if you'd like to have more uniform beads. I like my beads to have a lot of variation so I cut freehand.

• Watercolor or other thicker drawing paper-

You will need enough for 10-15 beads-two 5.5" x 8.5" sheets will work well, but you can use larger sheets you may already have around and just cut them as needed to fit into your dyeing tray. 90# or thicker paper is recommended to prevent tearing during the dye process. 

3-5 Tea bags 

Basic black tea works great, but any darker tea will suffice. Herbal teas will smell nice but the dye on the paper will generally be much lighter. But if you want to experiment, go for it!

Student Projects

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Kerri Klein