9 Things To Do with Your Leftover Mardi Gras Beads (That Don't Involve the Trash Can)

NEW OREANS, LA - FEBRUARY 12: A Mardi Gras reveler dangles a pair of beads off of a balcony on Bourbon Street in New Orleans on Mardi Gras Day. Fat Tuesday, the traditional celebration on the day before Ash Wednesday and the begining of Lent, is marked in New Orleans with parades and marches through many neighborhoods in the city. (Photo by Rusty Costanza/Getty Images)
Source: Rusty Costanza/Getty Images News/Getty Images

So it's the day after Mardi Gras, and you've got more purple, green, and gold beads than you know what to do with. (How did you end up with so many?? We might have an idea.) But there's a way to repurpose your Mardi Gras beads beyond Fat Tuesday. Instead of piling them in the trash once the party's over, try your hand at some of these simple DIY decor ideas, so you can enjoy that festive spirit all year long.


Coasters

There’s no better way to commemorate your tokens of drunken celebration than by creating a cradle for your favorite drink. With some felt, hot glue, and beads, of course, you can make these pretty little coasters. Rust & Sunshine has a great how-to for this simple DIY. 

Image: Michelle DuPuis/Rust & Sunshine 

Chandelier

Padgett Hoke shares a ridiculously classy way to integrate your beads into your apartment decor. With a slew of beads, a hanging planter, spray paint, and some hot glue, you can recreate this DIY look on the cheap (we’re talking under $30). 

Image: Padgett Hoke

Gift Wrap

Instead of ribbon, try threading a strand of Mardi Gras beads around a gift. Cut the loop so it’s one long rope and twist the ends together where they meet at the top, providing an easy pop of color. 


Mosaic

If you’ve got a lot of time on your hands and a thing for puzzles, this might be the perfect how-to for you. Cut all of your beads away from the string and store each color separately (trust me). Grab some glue (hot glue, preferably) and get to creating, you artist, you. 


Festive Wreath

This how-to from Heavily Edited can be easily tinkered with to create holiday-specific wreaths. Grab all of your green necklaces and never again pay too much for a pine version that’ll last two days before spilling torture-inducing needles on your floor. Gold and silver work great for New Year’s, while purple will just help you give off a royal vibe.

Image: Anne Gray/Heavily Edited

Jaw-Dropping Jewelry

Mardi Gras beads are a great accessory on the day, but they’re a little too kitschy to rock post-celebration. Miss Modish turns your bold bangles into statement jewelry pieces with help from some old ties. By breaking down neckties with intriguing patterns, she covers the beads and secures each one with a few stitches. The best part? Because the ends become scrunched with extra fabric, it won’t matter if your sewing is crooked. 


Quick Centerpieces

Toss some strands in a candle holder and top with your favorite votive or tea light for a quick centerpiece in minutes. Experiment with different vase sizes and styles to best fit your mess of beads. (Check out Simply Stoked for some inspiration.) Color coordinate the necklaces for holidays like Christmas. This quick DIY is perfect for a decorating a table for a last-minute Mardi Gras bash


Bead Curtain

It’s easy for this project to turn out a little too Mardi Gras specific, so spray paint your beads a favorite color and throw in a few forgotten necklaces for good measure if you’re looking to make this a year-round decor fixture. Install small hanging hooks to the top of the door frame or window you’re looking to shade and start threading your beads through. The denser the curtain, the more hooks you’ll need. 


Recycle Them

If you’re in the NOLA area and are too hungover for crafting, let someone else get use out of your old beads The Arc of Greater New Orleans has several drop-off points around the city, and they resell the beads in bulk at discounted prices.