How to Upcycle Seed Beads From Plastic Bottles

As someone who loves making jewelry and also loves to upcycle, I found this beautiful intersection of the two very useful! All you need to create these seed bead-esque beads is:

  1. hole puncher
  2. type 1 plastic bottle
  3. needle or pin
  4. candle
  5. lighter
  6. container to keep the beads in

It’s super simple to make these beads! I actually managed to fit all of my instructions into a minute-long Tik Tok video! I’ve included that below for all of my visually inclined readers, and the written instructions under that.

@maiden_of_moths

here’s how to make some super tiny beads from a type 1 plastic bottle! stay safe and remember to reduce waste! #foryoupage #zerowaste #upcycle

♬ original sound – Olivia 🌹

Step One: punch out a bunch of holes from your type 1 plastic bottle. My hands started cramping after a while, so I had to come back later to finish punching out the rest! Some areas may be stiffer than others, so its okay to skip those spots. I recommend trying to keep your holes closer together to avoid wasting too much of the bottle!

Step Two: Pierce one of your circles with a pin or needle. The thicker the needle, the bigger the hole will end up being inside your bead. You can pierce it easily by stabbing the center of a circle, wiggling it around to get it nice and stuck, and then carefully putting pressure on either side of your circle against your needle. You can do the beads one at a time like I did in the video, or you can stack several circles on one needle, space them apart, and heat them all at once. Just make sure to be careful with the flame and hold the needle with pliers to ensure all of the plastic can be reached safely.

Step Three: Holding the very end of your needle, or the ball of your pin, lower your plastic near the flame of your candle. To avoid any burns, or if you are having trouble holding the pin, fill the pin with circles (about 10 at a time works well for me) and hold the pin with pliers over the fire. Rotate the plastic to ensure it is evenly heated, and the plastic shrinks inward around the entire circle.

Step Four: using a cup, jar, etc., push your circles off into a container. They cool rapidly once away from the heat of the needle, and are ready for use immediately. String on thread or keep loose. Mine are kept loose in an old play dough container.

Notes: If you have any leftover plastic circles, store them away for later use. I’ve found that even the circles with moon-shaped bites taken out of them work just fine as seed beads once they melt down a bit under the fire! Don’t toss the circles if you can avoid it, because they are small and are considered microplastics, and we all know how bad those are.

Have fun finding raw material in something you might otherwise throw out! Stay tuned for more upcycling adventures and DIY projects. Bye!