Written by editor Nicole Bennett of Gidget Goes Home.

My craft stash doesn’t just include sewing supplies, much to my husband’s dismay (though that would be plenty if it were all I collected).

One of the things I’ve been holding onto for years is plenty of beads. I’m not sure why I have so many of them–some are from old projects, others from broken necklaces and jewelry whose beads were too pretty to part with– but for years and years they’ve just been collecting dust.

Since we use cloth napkins in our home almost all the time, one thing we’re always deciphering is whose napkin is whose (because let’s be honest, we tend to use our napkins for a couple of days if they’re fairly clean and we’re all healthy). Sometimes it’s easy to tell, other times we’re resorting to trying to remember who sat where last (we rotate seats) and who left theirs folded a certain way.

And so birthed the idea of using my bead collection to create individual napkin rings, one for each person in the family. It was a simple, practical project, one that my older kids (almost 6 and almost 3) were easily able to help with.

I love it when we can use our creative skills to actually fill a need in our home!

How to make beaded napkin rings

Supplies needed: a variety of beads, wire, wire cutters, and pliers (optional).

There are really only a few steps here. You’ll want to secure your first bead to hold the rest on. Choose a larger one and thread the wire through it leaving a little extra on the end that you can wind back and twist around. Your next bead should have a large enough hole to fit over the twisted end to hide it.

Then just put your beads on in whatever pattern you choose. We went for random, varying the shapes and sizes.

We did make sure to use something noticeable on each napkin ring. Above, Gigi is making her brother’s with the signature large green bead that will help us know it’s his. Another fun option would be to use letter beads for initials or to spell out the names of each family member.

When you get to the end, use your pliers (or fingers) to bend the wire, keeping the beads taut, and then wrap it around between the last and second-to-last bead, tucking in the end.

If this happens mid-project, don’t be surprised if it was mom who spilled the beads, not the kids. Oops!

I love how each napkin ring came out a little different. We can wrap them or twist them, securing them on the napkins any way really. I especially love seeing old beads and shells that I remember from a favorite bracelet.

If you use cloth napkins, who do you keep track of their owners? What other project ideas do you have for a stash of beads?