How to Make Upcycled Marker Beads

Marker Barrel Crafts
These colorful beads used to be dried out markers! Upcycled marker beads are easy to make, if a little messy.

These colorful beads used to be dried out markers! Upcycled marker beads are easy to make, if a little messy.

Crayola has a marker recycling program that includes all markers, but it’s not available in all geographic locations or outside of schools. If there’s not a marker recycling program near you, then you might prefer to upcycle your used markers. Upcycled marker beads are a fun way to give the shells of your old markers a new life.

The ink reservoirs of those markers want to be made into watercolor paint and alcohol ink, but how about the barrels?

They probably want to be made into upcycled marker beads!

upcycled marker beads

Upcycled marker beads are easy to make, if a little messy. Depending on your marker, they can be quite colorful, and kids, especially, will find the wide openings (especially the ones in fat markers) simple for their little fingers to thread onto cording. Make necklaces, keychains, or light pulls with them, or simply keep them out on your art table and wait to be inspired!

The only tool that you need to make these marker beads is a saw, and a variety will work. You’ll spend a little more time on the project if you use a hand saw, and you run the risk of some of your beads cracking as you work if you use a jig saw, but those two options, and anything in between, are still suitable for the task. The best tool for this job is a Dremel with a cut-off wheel, however. If you can beg or borrow one, do it!

If you can pop the end cap off of the marker and remove the ink reservoir before you begin to cut, do that. It was impossible to do for the markers in these photographs, though, so I simply cut off the end with my jig saw and pulled the reservoir out–a little messier, but still effective.

Once the ink reservoir is removed, just cut the marker barrel into beads that are the size that you want. You’ll waste a little barrel at the end, because you’re going to be careful of your fingers.

upcycled marker beads

Right? Be careful of your fingers!

I like to save my dried-out markers, then make a big batch of upcycled marker beads at once. I keep them with my other craft supplies, and when someone needs a few bright, colorful beads for a project, out they come!

These colorful beads used to be dried out markers! Upcycled marker beads are easy to make, if a little messy.

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Written by Julie Finn

I'm a writer, crafter, Zombie Preparedness Planner, and homeschooling momma of two kids who will hopefully someday transition into using their genius for good, not the evil machinations and mess-making in which they currently indulge. I'm interested in recycling and nature crafts, food security, STEM education, and the DIY lifestyle, however it's manifested--making myself some underwear out of T-shirts? Done it. Teaching myself guitar? Doing it right now.

Visit my blog Craft Knife for a peek at our very weird handmade homeschool life, and my etsy shop Pumpkin+Bear for a truly odd number of rainbow-themed beeswax pretties.

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  1. There are special cutters for plastic pipe – they make easy, clean cuts. I use them when I cut tubing for hula hoops. I think it would be much faster and cleaner then saws or a dremel tool

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