Beaded Pens

by Sarah Moore

Turn ordinary writing instruments into works of art.


  • Sticky Strip™ or Double Sided Industrial Strength Tape Sheets (Also known as “Terrifically Tacky," “O’so Sticky," “Wonder,” or “Red Liner” tape)

  • Translucent microbeads

  • 2” X 4” shipping labels

  • Pentel R.S.V.P™ or pen of similar style

  • Scissors and/or paper trimmer

  • Bead tray or suitable container

  • Ruler

  • Bone folder or other burnishing tool

  • Embossing heat tool

  • Small image stamps

  • Vivid colored water-based ink

  • Scrap cardstock


  1. Step 1

    Stamp an entire shipping label with selected images and inks.

    Tip: remove the label and place it on an empty label sheet or square of waxed paper before stamping.

  2. Step 2

    Using the scrap cardstock and a ruler, measure pen length. To measure around the pen, use a strip of scrap paper. Create a template for the pen for later use and store it with the microbeads.

    Use the template to cut the adhesive sheets to size.

    Tip: If using Sticky Strip™ instead of sheets; apply strips of tape to waxed paper before trimming to template size.

  3. Step 3

    Trim the stamped shipping label to size using the template as a guide. Disassemble the pen.

  4. Step 4

    Apply the stamped shipping label to the pen. Use a bone folder to firmy rub the label onto the pen.

  5. Step 5

    Apply the Sticky Strip™ over the label and press down firmly. Do not allow the ends to overlap until the tape backing is removed.

  6. Step 6

    Use embossing heat tool to heat the adhesive/pen for a few seconds. Do not overheat and melt the adhesive.

  7. Step 7

    Roll the pen with the warmed adhesive in a tray of microbeads until well coated.

    When fully covered, roll the pen on a flat surface and press beads into place. Set aside briefly to cool.

    Tip: However tempting it may be, don’t play with the beads! The oils in your fingers will coat the beads and prevent them from adhering to the adhesive.

  8. Step 8

    Reassemble the pen and enjoy! Add a little bow for a cute finishing touch.


    Quick Tip
    For a really quick and easy version of Beaded Pens, use trim patterned paper to size and run through a Xyron™ machine to apply adhesive to the reverse. Use in place of stamped shipping labels.

Your Turn

You've seen the tutorial, now you try it! We've got a section of the gallery set aside for Beaded Pens. Try this technique, then upload your artwork to the gallery. Show us your creations!

***Please note - Internet Explorer/Edge is not a supported browser, and will not allow you to see the videos. Please use Chrome, Firefox or Safari to view our tutorial videos.

Questions and Comments

We'd love to get your feedback or questions. Leave your comment below.

I love making these pens but I am wondering if anyone has any tips for the edges. the beads are uneven at the top edge and they randomly drop off. Any suggestions for a crisp, professional look for the edge???? Help! I would love to give these to my kids teachers. thank you
karen  |  Sat Feb 9, 2008 at 8:28 AM
To prevent the beads from falling off, you may want to try coating the end of the pen with Liquid Glass.
Harriet  |  Mon Apr 7, 2008 at 6:58 PM
As a former teacher I think these pens would be great gifts!!! Great idea Karen!!

Thanks Sarah for the cute idea. I've got my supply list and I'm off to Hobby Lobby now!!

I just LUV Splitcoast Stampers!!!!
Pam  |  Thu May 1, 2008 at 11:19 AM
After I made the beaded pen and let it sit for one week, I gave it as a gift and the beads fell off during the first use. I tried coating the pens with Mod Podge, but the beads continued to fall off - although much less quickly. What am I doing wrong?
Amy  |  Wed May 14, 2008 at 9:50 AM
I've looked everywhere for microbeads and, alas, can't find them anywhere!!!! Ideas?!!!!
Pam  |  Wed May 14, 2008 at 9:54 PM
Stampin Up used to sell the microbeads and they always have the best quality of everything! I've also bought them at Michaels.
Amy  |  Thu May 15, 2008 at 3:28 AM
If your beads are falling off, you might not be using strong enough tape, make sure you have the industrial kind. you might have not had the tape warm enough, cold tape does not adhere as well, or you might have had oils on the beads.
Nicole Miller  |  Wed May 21, 2008 at 7:10 AM
Thanks Sarah for the suggestion (purchasing the beads at SU-duh!!!!). I've ordered them and will await the arrival. wink

After reading the comments I want to make sure I have the right adhesive. Where should I purchase the adhesive?

I appreciate your patience w/all of my questions. Can't wait to create my own pens! You're so creative!!

Pam  |  Wed May 21, 2008 at 1:42 PM
I have been covering some shoeboxes to use for storage of stamps etc. with some really attractive contact paper and had a small piece left over. I used it to cover a pen and it looks pretty nice. I'm thinking this is a good way to be sure you get your pens back at a meeting. grin I don't think the beads are necessary -
Sally  |  Thu Jun 12, 2008 at 5:22 AM
I make a matching mini spiral notebook to go with the pen. I give them as little favors or gifts at showers! They love them and fight for the prize! Just attach the matching paper that is used under the beads to the spiral. (I use the machine that makes paper a sticker.)
Jeanie  |  Tue Aug 5, 2008 at 8:55 AM
I made matching post-it holders to go with these beaded pens. EdieB gave me the idea!! Way to go Edie!!
agrowl  |  Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 1:19 PM
I made these pens for my registration table at my wedding. I bought two colors of beads and mixed them to get the color I wante. When I was done I coated the beads and the ends with clear nail polish. I have had them for 9 months now and have not lost any beads.
Teresa  |  Tue May 19, 2009 at 7:43 PM
clear nail polish is brilliant teresa! i actually may give it a try now!
jeannine  |  Wed Jun 17, 2009 at 4:40 AM
I used printed papers I love, roll them around the ink barrel and place it in the pen, then I funnel the microbeads into the pen, add a drop off glue and replace the endcap. Beads are inside, look great, and I use my inscribe to engrave a message or name on the barrel. They last forever and can be easily changed if you find a new favorite paper!
Denise  |  Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 7:23 AM
Have you seen this? Are these the beads you were talking about? XO.
Susan Houston  |  Mon Aug 24, 2009 at 3:46 PM
Aw these look lovely! I'm going to send this page to my sister, she would love making them!
Promotional Pens  |  Mon Dec 7, 2009 at 10:32 AM
they look really nice, my daughter would love making these! Thanks!
Promotional Pens  |  Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 7:20 AM
I love these pens, and have attempted to make them several times in the past with poor success. I have never considered using a heating tool, what an awesome tip, I will try this again, they make wonderful gifts! Thanks.
Yvette Lovvorn  |  Fri May 14, 2010 at 7:47 PM
looking to see what the term "burnish" means. Please and thank you
paula  |  Wed Oct 6, 2010 at 9:14 AM
Hi Paula!

To "burnish" means rub firmly. You would burnish rub-ons to transfer them, or in this case, rub the label firmly to get it evenly applied to the pen.
lydia  |  Wed Oct 6, 2010 at 9:49 AM

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