If you have kids, you probably have strings of cheap plastic beads. They get handed out at parties and community events. They are a huge part of Mardi Gras festivities in Louisiana and elsewhere. They might seem like a great material to creatively reuse into crafts. But actually, they are really not a good item to handle for you and especially for kids.
Every year 20 million pounds of these beads are shipped to the United States, mostly from China, and the majority go to Louisiana for Mardi Gras. After the festivities, the New Orleans sanitation department has to clean them up with front loaders. It’s bad enough that they create tons of litter, but they also contain lead, bromine and antimony among other toxic chemicals.
In this episode, get ideas for how to make your own non-toxic Mardi Gras beads, and find new ways to celebrate this super fun tradition.
You can listen to my podcast episode on why I don’t encourage creative reuse of Mardi Gras beads in this YouTube video. It originally aired in March 2019.
DIY Non-Toxic Mardi Gras Bead Necklaces
Beads from rolled up paper or magazine strips
- Alpha mom tutorial for paper Mardi Gras beads
- Atlas Beads – sells paper beads
- Throw Me Some Green – sells paper beads
Pasta necklaces – You can change the color of pasta by soaking it in vinegar and food coloring
“Beaded” necklaces made from plastic straws
Trashmagination-designed Mardi Gras “beads” made from plastic produce bags and plastic table cloths
I cut up colorful plastic table cloths into squares which I folded up into little balls. I then would wrap the tablecloth balls in the produce mesh nice and tight so it made a little ball, and then I tied a knot to keep it from moving.