activity tissue paper jewels

Tissue Paper Jewels

Your preschooler can revel in their own finery and maximize their design thinking with straws, yarn and colorful tissue paper.


This involves lots of little, floaty pieces, so expect to have some fun gathering them up.

MATERIALS - click to buy
  1. 3-inch circles, squares, and triangles made from bright, colored tissue paper, like this kind found on Amazon.
  2. Yarn in the color of your choice, like this example, about 2 feet long per necklace
  3. Colorful, plastic drinking straws or paper straws like the ones found here, cut into small pieces, about 1-½ to 2 inches long.
  4. Sharp scissors - Adults only, to cut straw pieces
  5. Plain masking tape found here - One piece about 2 inches long per necklace.
  6. Optional: Small containers to hold your tissue and straw pieces. We like to use recycled carry-out containers with lids like these for easy clean up and storage.
  7. Optional: For a glitzy effect, use your aluminum foil or left-over holiday wrapping paper
  8. Optional: Beads left over from old or broken jewelry
  9. Optional: Child-sized scissors like these for older 3- and 4-year-olds who are able to cut with scissors
  1. Start by cutting your materials. To speed up making tissue shapes, cut several layers at a time when making circles, squares, and triangles. Don’t worry about them being perfect, the more irregular, the more interesting the final product. If your 3- or 4-year-old is able to cut with scissors, they can help you!
  2. Adults, create a small fold in your tissue pieces to make small cuts -or- use one blade of your scissors to make a hole in the center of your shapes. Make sure they're large enough for yarn to go through. Drop each material into a small container for easy access. Let your child can help you do this, sorting is great math practice!
  3. Knot one end of the yarn. To make a “needle,” wrap a piece of masking tape around the other end. Prepare one piece per child.
  4. Skilly Spark: What do we usually use straws for? Look at how long the straws are now-- what new shapes can you see? Let’s add tissue paper in more colors and shapes, and discover what we can make together. Let's take a good look at your supply of tissue-paper shapes and straw pieces. Which ones do you choose and why?
  5. Show your child that the process goes like this: String a tissue paper shape on the yarn, then a straw piece, then a tissue paper piece, alternating as desired.  
  6. Now, get your child started with their own string. Continue stringing until the necklace is complete or your little one’s interest wanes. It’s ok if a necklace is too long for your preschooler’s attention span, a bracelet will do!
  7. Tie the ends of the yarn together to complete the jewelry.
Keep the fun going
  • Make a matching set! Use the same process to create bracelets, a belt, a crown ... anything your wee designer comes up with to wear with your necklace.
  • Practice patterns! Older children, ages 3 years and up can create a repeated sequence of shapes or colors to build their preschooler math skills.
  • Who does this new, colorful ensemble inspire your preschooler to be? Bring your Tissue Paper Jewels to your next pretend play session and accessorize your child’s dramatic play!

+ Inspiration/photo credit goes to the African-American artist and humanitarian Josephine Baker, pictured here in Paris in 1925. You can learn more about Ms. Baker here on Wikipedia.