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Make Beads from Recycled Soda Bottle

10 April 2009 47,747 views 15 Comments

by heather

Another great use for your old soda bottles is to cut 'em up, color 'em, and heat them into these pretty and colorful beads! What a chic way to celebrate Earth Day! These would be a fun project to make at a crafty get-together with your girlfriends. After the beads are made, have fun making them into funky jewelry. Project via Cut Out & Keep. (Photo by Threadbanger)

Project Estimate:

  • Plastic soda bottle, on hand
  • Permanent markers, on hand
  • Acrylic paint, on hand
  • Pliers, on hand
  • Heat gun, on hand

Total cost: FREE

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  • Vone said:

    Love it – great link.

  • Fran said:

    Wait, just how exactly is producing toxic fumes the perfect way to celebrate Earth Day? I’m all for creative reuse, but I’m missing something here…

  • michelle said:

    great idea! kinda like shrinky dinks, only way cheaper. the amount of gases given off at the temperature needed to soften the plastic shouldn’t be a problem if you ventilate. after all, it doesn’t take an incinerator to do this craft (I’m against incinerating plastics).

  • Crafty Beader said:

    hey cool idea! I want to give this one a try

  • Tammy Burton said:

    Hi, We tried it and it was so cool, plus alot of fun. Thanks for showing us what to do!

  • Songbird said:

    Okay, this project is awesome, thanks! My fourth grader has a class project where they all have to come up with a product and “sell” it in class, and we are making these – he’s cutting and coloring, and I’m doing the melting. Definitely takes some practice to get them to melt in evenly without burning.

    One cool thing I’d like to add…we mixed it up using some pre-colored bottles as well, like green Mountain Dew bottles and brown root beer bottles…they turn out really beautifully!

  • Person said:

    Can you heat them in the oven? I dont have a blowtorch handy!

  • heather (author) said:

    Try it and let us know. Embossing tools (also called heat guns here) are about $20 at your craft store. You can use a 40% coupon (always available in Michael’s and JoAnn’s circulars) to get a deal on it if it’s the kind of thing you might use for more than one project. Or maybe you can try using your hair dryer.

  • Demonna said:

    Just letting you know that the link leads to a 404 error page.

  • African Beads said:

    Really very creative work. Will really try it out in my leisure time. Looking forward for more good posts from your side.


  • Kulsum said:

    Awesome..! x

  • Kate said:

    Melting plastic soda bottles releases Dioxin, which causes cancer.
    please don’t do it.

  • Jody said:

    you could proobably do them in a crock pot–more controlled, you get to watch them shrink up, and no risk of igniting yourself or other stuff, hee hee. but you can do shrinky dinks in the crock pot so i am assuming you could do this too–fun for doing it with kids w/o fear of major burns

  • winnie the pooh said:

    i tried it and i love it
    great idea

  • Howard said:

    Kate is wrong. The harmful dioxins she is worried about all contain chlorine, but soda bottles are made from PET (poly ethylene terephthalate) which contains only carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dioxin for details on dioxins and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poly%28ethylene_terephthalate%29 for details on PET.

    Apparently it is somewhat difficult to work the melted plastic properly though. If it is not cooled quickly, it tends to crystallize, making it brittle. And if it is overheated, it may decompose and discolor. Perhaps not worth the trouble for beads.