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Photography by AARON BENGOCHEA

Assembly line projects are the best. Set up shop on a flat surface, lay out all your materials, and bang out 10-15 multiples of one fantastic, fool-proof DIY in the course of an hour. I love giving these DIYs as gifts, but they also make for the perfect group crafting-sesh amongst friends. These key rings are just that: mix and match beads (colors and sizes) for a gift-worthy, handmade accessory.

What You’ll Need:

Photography by AARON BENGOCHEA


  1. I like a mix of raw, unfinished wooden beads, solid painted beads, and splatter beads (which can happen over raw beads or sold-painted beads). Be sure to set aside a nice variety of raw beads to put to use once you are ready to build your rings.
  2. Cover a flat surface with newsprint. Fill multiple plastic containers with paint, so they are at least two inches high. I like to add a teaspoon of water (for every 10 teaspoons of paint). Water thins the paint down just a tad, allowing for more even coverage on the beads.
  3. Set up a “drying station” which should consist of a few wooden skewers on top of an empty takeout container.
  4. Using a plastic spoon, roll wooden beads into the paint color of your choice until fully covered. Transfer to your drying rack by stringing the bead on the skewer (this also gets some of the paint out of the bead hole) and allowing it to hang over the empty takeout container. I like to tap the bead a few times once it’s hanging over the container to get excess paint to drip off.
  5. Repeat until you have enough solid painted beads completed. Let dry for 30 minutes.
Photography by AARON BENGOCHEA

Splatter bead technique:

  1. Set up a splatter station. Cover a flat surface with newsprint. String several painted or raw beads onto a skewer that is hanging over a plastic container. Dip the head of a tooth brush into your splatter color of choice. Hold the paint-filled toothbrush over your beads and using your thumb, quickly stroke the bristles to prompt splatter. Work away from your body so you save your clothes, and don’t be afraid of small drips of paint—it ends up looking great!
  2. Allow 30 minutes for drying.

Last step:

Lay out all your pretty beads and map out varying key ring designs before stringing. Fold a 9-inch piece of leather cording in half and use a Lark’s Head Knot to connect your cord to the key ring. Assemble your key rings by slipping beads onto cord, finish with a knot.

See more gift-worthy DIYs:

15 DIY Ornaments That Don’t Look Like You Made Them Surprisingly Simple DIY Bath Bomb Recipes 10 DIY Coaster Ideas to Give Your Coffee Table a Unique Upgrade