Shortly after I finished making these bracelets, I ran into a friend I hadn’t seen in a while.   She asked me what I’d been up to; when I told her I’d been busy making beads out of duct tape, she looked at me like I needed my head checked.  I guess I can’t blame her for thinking me crazy since that probably sounds incredibly strange to anyone not well-versed in the frugal crafting arts.  The idea is based on rolled paper beads, only without the glue mess!

Project estimate:

  • Colored duct tape, on hand or about $6/roll
  • Bamboo skewer, on hand
  • Cutting mat, on hand
  • Xacto knife or rotary cutter, on hand
  • Ruler, on hand
  • Beads, on hand
  • Elastic cord, on hand

Total:  Free and up

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Cut about a 3-inch piece of duct tape.  Place it sticky-side down on a cutting mat.

Use an Xacto knife or rotary cutter and a ruler to cut the strip in half lengthwise, creating two 3-inch segments.

Trim each segment into an isosceles triangle.  (And here you thought those math classes would never have practical applications in your daily life!)  Peel away the excess tape.

Cut a piece of  duct tape in a contrasting color and place it sticky-side  down on the cutting mat.  Peel up the triangles and position them on the contrasting tape.  (Note:  the red tape I have is extra-wide!)

Trim the contrasting tape, leaving a thin border along the long edges of the triangles.  Peel away the excess tape.

Peel each triangle off of the cutting mat and fold up about 1/2 inch of the bottom so that the sticky sides are together.

Trim off the overhang so that the shape is triangular again.

Starting with the folded bottom, roll the tape around a bamboo skewer.  This can be a bit tricky.  Remember, if you don’t like the way it looks, you can unroll it and try again!

String the duct tape beads on elastic cord; if desired, add other beads in between as spacers.  Stretch the elastic slightly and knot the ends.  To hide the knot, simply slide it inside of one of the duct tape beads.

I’m very curious to see how this project looks with patterened duct tape as well.  I think it would look nice using a patterned tape over a solid border color, or even with just the patterned tape by itself.  Maybe alternating patterned beads with solid-colored beads.  Or you could even opt to use pretty contact paper instead of tape.  There are so many possibilities and no wrong answers, so go crazy!