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Mardi Gras wreath recycles plastic beads

Make a wreath from Mardi Gras beads.
Paula Hrbacek

Every year, people crowd Mardi Gras parades, hoping to catch a bagful of beads. After the parade, there are drop off locations all over town where people can give those beads back to be used in another parade. But what can you do with the broken strands? What can you do with the ones you want to keep?

The pictured wreath is made from Mardi Gras beads. All you need is a wire frame for a wreath that is available at most craft stores.

Sort the beads by type. Some beads are clear, and some are metallic. The pictured wreath uses only the metallic ones. Also sort the beads by type; the common round beads, the large beads, and the ones that have a special shape like dice or fish.

Every necklace will have a place where the first and last bead is glued together. This is the best place to break the strand into a straight line. Begin with the common, small beads. Wrap one end of a strand around the wire form, and twist the ends together the same way that a clown twists a balloon into an animal. Wrap the long end of the strand around the wire form in a spiral pattern, spacing the wraps about an inch apart. When a strand ends, join another strand of the same color and type by twisting the last and first bead together like a balloon. Then continue wrapping.

Try to keep all of the twists on the back of the wreath so that they don’t show. After going around the wreath in one color, start wrapping again in a new color. Try to make a pattern so that the colors are evenly spaced around the wreath.

When the wreath form is completely covered with the common beads, start wrapping with the big or special beads that you’d like to highlight. Again, try to go around the wreath one time with each type of bead. Space the beads to make a pattern so that the styles and size are evenly distributed around the wreath.

If desired, use a small mask, or the plastic trinkets that are on some necklaces (like alligators or doubloons) for a bow. Use hot glue or plastic model cement to attach the items in the desired location.

To finish the wreath, wrap a piece of sturdy wire around the wire form to make a hanging loop. Make sure the wire and the twists are strong enough to support the weight of the wreath.

©Paula Hrbacek All rights reserved. Please link to this article instead of reposting it. For reprint rights use the contact form at www.paulahrbacek.weebley.com. Follow me on Pinterest to see my other holiday craft ideas. http://pinterest.com/phrbacek/