Ugandan Paper Beads

Ugandan Paper beads from Outreach Uganda.

I have been wanting to order Ugandan recycled paper beads for a long time but it was pushed to the back burner because I was wondering what I would make with them.  Hmm.  Odd that I put that in writing because I am not sure that normally keeps me from ordering beads…?  Anyway, they are not typically my style  – (remember my  tendency to shy away from the use of bright colors).  I also did not have any ideas on how to make jewelry with them that did not look too crafty, but I was very drawn to them.  I knew I could make some really cute things for my daughter …  but I was stuck.

So here is what happened to inspire me yesterday.  I ordered Stephanie Wells book The Earring Style Book.  You may know that Stephanie and her sister founded Double Happiness Design, a very successful and popular line of wire wrapped gemstone jewelry – especially known for their big, blingy earrings.  So I was checking out her store and I came upon  some pieces she created in partnership with Project Have Hope.

Double Happiness Design - Lika Bracelet

Double Happiness Design - Halima Earrings

She has created pieces with the Ugandan beads that are modern and fun and it inspired me to hunt down the smallest version of the small paper beads so I could create something of my own with them.  I am happily awaiting my shipment and of course I will share the outcome with you.

Most Importantly These Beads Support A Good Cause

The big motivator for me has also been to make a purchase that supports a cause.  The story behind the women who make the beads is just incredible and by purchasing the beads you are helping to improve their lifestyle in ways that you and I just can’t imagine.   There are numerous non-profits that sell the Ugandan beads and jewelry.   Outreach Uganda and Project Have Hope are just two of them.  Each site offers a different selection.  If there are others you know of let me know so I can add them to this post.

Have you created with Ugandan paper beads? I would imagine there is a real connection you feel to these women when you are able to use and showcase the work that has empowered them to feed and care for the baseline needs of their families.  If so, I would love to see what you have created or a link to your store with your creations.



9 responses to “Ugandan Paper Beads

  1. Just found this post, and enjoyed reading it very much. The Halima Earrings are stunning!

    Click this link to see what I made with recycled paper beads from Women of Worth in Uganda–

    and click here for their blog.

    They are such a small organization, run by one woman in Kampala, that they don’t have web ordering yet.

    I am also writing a book and would like to keep in touch!

  2. Sherry Walker

    Great article! Another fair trade source for beads is Come Together Trading, based in Canton TX. They import God Is Able beads from Kampala, and sell bags of loose beads as well as strung beads. These beads are so beautiful, and wonderful for projects. I will meet the beaders this summer when I travel to Uganda. Love those beads!

  3. I have purchased beads made by artists in Haiti with They are actually made from cereal boxes and newspapers (with varnish that is locally produced) and the organization is really great at giving women (and men) a steady career so they don’t have to give their children up for adoption. I just emailed the site directly and arranged for it. Love your ideas, I am definitely inspired now!

    • That’s great Krystin! Thanks for the info. I had read about Haiti bead projects but I did not have a site. I will update my post soon and add them as a resource! – Tracy

  4. I’ve made some beautiful key chains by pairing handmade paper beads with glass and crystal beads.

  5. Those are beautiful beads. I have that book and have been investigating the forms in it for a custom wedding order. I love what you have done and more that you have stepped outside your comfort zone. Fun!
    Enjoy the day!

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