Make your own friendship beads from start to
To make bracelets and necklaces you’ll need a batch of dough per
5 children, toothpicks, and dental floss. To make a bead, each
child will need only a pinch of dough. Have kids roll the dough
between their palms until it’s round, oval, or the desired shape.
Use a toothpick to make a hole for threading the string. After the
beads are baked and decorated, create necklaces or bracelets.
Dental floss works great to string beads on; it’s strong and stiff
enough to easily thread the beads.
Salt Dough Recipe
Salt dough can be used like clay; it’s easy to work with and
will bake hard so creations last for a long time. This dough isn’t
good to eat, but it can be used to form ornaments, beads, baskets,
and sculptured shapes.
To make salt dough, you’ll need a mixing bowl, a large spoon, 2
cups flour, ½ cup salt, ¾ cup water, a cookie sheet, a metal
spatula, acrylic paint, brushes, water-based varnish, a large
workspace, and access to an oven. Pour the flour into the bowl and
add salt and water. Stir the mixture into a ball, then dump it onto
your work surface and knead it until it’s smooth.
Allow kids to shape their creations. Then carefully transfer the
formed pieces to a cookie sheet. (Pieces that are too thick may
crack or break when baking.) Bake at 300 degrees for about an hour
or until dry. Cool completely before handling. Then let kids’
imaginations run wild as they decorate their creations. After the
paint dries, apply a protective coat of varnish to one side. Allow
the varnish to dry, then apply varnish to the other side and allow
it to dry.
A Twist on Friendship
Making and exchanging friendship beads is a great way for kids
to connect with each other and remember to pray for one another.
Have children each make one distinctive bead from the clay for each
person in the class. For a colored clay option, see the Drink Mix
Clay Dough recipe. You’ll need clay, drinking straws cut in short
pieces, a cookie sheet, access to an oven, heavy twine or rawhide
laces, and scissors.
Cover your workspace with newspaper, and remind kids to not eat
the clay. Discuss with children the importance of friends. Show
kids the clay and have them choose the colors they’d like to use to
make their friendship beads. Demonstrate how to roll the clay into
small beads about ¾ -inch in diameter. Shape the beads around a
short piece of drinking straw to create a hole in the middle. Then
have each child make one bead for each person in class.
Place the beads on the cookie sheet, taking care to mark each
child’s beads in some way. Then bake the clay beads. If you use the
Drink Mix Clay Dough recipe, beads don’t have to be baked; they’ll
air dry. When the beads are cool and dry, let the children share
their beads with one another. Help them each string their