/ Thursday, January 30th, 2014

31 PPDC Epcot Inspired Paper Beads

Hi Everyone! A few months ago, I wrote about making your own pearl jewelry at the “Pick-A-Pearl” area found inside Mitsukoshi® at Epcot®’s Japan Pavilion. And at the end of the post, I promised I’d feature another awesome craft-influenced item at Walt Disney World®: Paper Bead Jewelry!

On the walk between the China and Germany Pavilions in Epcot®’s World Showcase you pass through the African-themed marketplace called The Outpost. I really love strolling through here because there is always something unique to see or taste. Actually, one of my favorite kiosks in all of Walt Disney World® is found here: The Bead Outpost.

The Bead Outpost boasts an eye-catching display of vibrant, one-of-a-kind beads. But when you look closer, you will see that the colorful beads are all crafted by hand and made out of none other than outdated Disney guide maps (as well as other outdated Disney paper products).

Those outdated papers are sent to Uganda, Africa, where artists carefully hand-roll them into beads of different shapes, sizes and colors. The beads come back to Walt Disney World® more durable and now also water resistant. The final stop for these special orbs is Epcot®’s Bead Outpost, where guests can select their favorites and watch as Cast Members craft jewelry pieces using them.

I love that these beads are an item unique to Epcot® and a true souvenir of both Walt Disney World® and Africa.

Now that you saw what goes into making these amazing spheres, would you like to DIY your own hand-rolled paper beads using Walt Disney World® guides and Parks maps? Grab your supplies and let’s get started, together!

You’ll need:

  • Old Disney Parks® maps, Times Guides, or similar pamphlets
  • A ruler
  • A tape runner or glue stick
  • Mod Podge®
  • A small foam brush
  • A few disposable cocktail drinking straws (must be an open straw)
  • Paper scissors


To make the paper beads, you will need to measure and cut out the Parks map into several long, equally tapered triangles.

If you want more round beads, you will measure them out ½ inch at the base x 6 ½ inches long.

If you want more oval beads, you will measure them out 1 inch at the base x 6 ½ inches long.

It is very important that the triangles are as equal on the right and left sides as possible so the completed beads are uniform in size.

Take the base of the triangle and adhere the edge to a straw. Then begin to roll the paper into a bead shape as tightly as possible. You may add a dab of glue or a bit of the tape runner as you go to make the bead more secure. You can do several along one straw. Repeat this as many times as you like.

Approximately 14 beads makes a bracelet.

Approximately 24 beads makes a necklace.

Once you are finished rolling your beads, apply a coat of Mod Podge® to them using a foam brush. Allow to dry thoroughly before using. I would allow at least 24 hours. To complete the beads, cut the straw as close the edges of the beads as possible without cutting the bead itself, and that’s it.

Now you can string your Epcot®-inspired paper beads into jewelry or even use them for other projects. We can cover a variety of those ideas in a future post.

Enjoy making some new Disney memories by crafting these paper beads. And stop by the Bead Outpost next time you are in Epcot®!

(Photos and Photo Edits are by Fran Cassano.)

When you only have a few moments a week to craft or don’t even know where to begin, Fran Cassano invites you to capture your memories through Practically Perfect Disney Crafting… Break out those tools that have been gathering dust. And let’s figure out how, together!



9 thoughts on “Practically Perfect Disney Techniques: Epcot®-Inspired Paper Beads”

  1. Joy Hargraves says:

    Cool, Fran!!!! I never knew that!!! Now I will have a new place to visit on my next trip!! How are you, by the way??? 🙂

  2. DisneyGirlRuby says:

    So easy, I love it! I love modge podge, especially the one with glitter in it! A necklace would be a great gift to give someone. Have a magical day, 8:)

  3. Kendall Foreman (MoretotheWorld) says:

    I absolutely love this idea! Sadly, I had no clue the Bead Outpost even existed. Now I wish I could go back and buy one of these bracelets. It is awesome that outdated Disney Parks papers are being re-used by these African artisans. Just like you said, it is like having a souvenir from both places. I would love to try this myself, but I would really like to have one of the ones made in Africa!

  4. Steamboat Eddie says:

    I never knew about these beads, let alone knowing they are made out of recycled Disney paper!! This is awesome stuff and doing it yourself sounds mighty ambitious, but worth it when finished. Great stuff here Fran, thanks a bunch.

    Have an awesome day!!

  5. Alyssa (ajwiseman09) says:

    At my college, there were products like these ones and the company that hires people in Africa told us that it allows them to give jobs to women that would otherwise have no way of earning income for their families! It would seem like this might be a similar type product and that the money goes to help those people in Africa that don’t have jobs. It’s amazing that one little project might have a bigger story behind it.

  6. Fran Cassano says:

    Hi Joy! I’m great! How are you? Yes, please check the Bead Outpost out on your next trip. Hope to see you soon! Keep in touch 🙂

    Ruby, I love sparkly Mod Podge, too! I think your necklace will turn out even more gorgeous if you use it!

    Thank you so much Kendall! I totally agree with you. While I like making my own bead projects, I love stopping by here to buy the beads too.

  7. Fran Cassano says:

    Yes, Alyssa, Disney works with women in Uganda to do the same thing. But it’s better to let the Cast Members discuss this aspect with you in person.

    In fact, that idea would make for an awesome blog post! Ways Disney helps others world-wide!

  8. Fran Cassano says:

    Steamboat Eddie, you are always so sweet. Thank you for saying such nice things in your comments.

    And trust me, the beads are actually fairly easy to make yourself.

  9. SuzyZee says:

    The only other location we discovered the African/Disney beads at was at Hollywood Studios – kiosk cart on right before get to Rock n’roll coaster. Earrings,bracelets,checkers the 16-18″ necklaces, and longer necklaces available. I noted Bead post had an info card & tag with them, while studios location did not. Perhaps need to ask for it.