Hands-on History – African Bead Necklace

Let’s have a go at making an African Bead Necklace from our Hidden History Project.

This activity was part of our learning programme that looked at how some African villagers make a living today.

You will need:

  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Glue spreader or paintbrush
  • PVA glue or glue stick
  • Magazine pages
  • Cocktail sticks or matchsticks
  • Thin thread or elastic        

We hope you can find all these things easily at home!

Step 1 – Use a ruler to draw a long thin triangle about 4cm x 20cm and cut it out with scissors.

Step 2 – Use your cardboard template to draw around on the magazine pages.

  • You will need about 20 triangles to make a small to medium length necklace.
  • Less for a bracelet, but you could make a long necklace with lots of triangles if you want!                                                                        

Quick tip! – If you fold over your magazine pages, you can cut out a few triangles at once.

Step 3 – Starting with the wide end of the triangle closest to you, leave about 1cm and then carefully spread a thin layer of glue all over your triangle.

Step 4 – Lay the cocktail stick/matchstick on the unglued wide end of the triangle. Carefully start to roll the paper around the cocktail stick.        

Step 5 – When you get to the pointy end of the triangle dab a little bit more glue on the end as you finish rolling.

Step 6 – Carefully slide the bead off the cocktail stick and start again. Make as many beads as you want, but at least 20 for a necklace.

Step 7 – When the beads are thoroughly dry carefully thread together. Tie the ends of the string together and wear your necklace.   

Quick tip! – Here we used a flower and seed catalogue to make our beads, but any glossy paper would do. You could even colour in your own triangles if you used plain paper.

You could vary the size of your beads by making the triangle thinner, but try and keep it around 20cm long.

Hidden History – Yorkshire Dales and the Wider World

2007 was the 200th anniversary of the Act abolishing the British trade in enslaved Africans. In response to this, the Dales Countryside Museum and North Yorkshire County Council Record Office began to look at this long-hidden part of our history, taking Black history in its widest context. We researched many of the people and places of the Dales that have been connected with Africa, the Caribbean and India, whether through slavery or for other reasons. We found out about people who came to live in the area and encouraged people to think about the impact that the transatlantic slave trade had upon the Yorkshire Dales and surrounding areas.

‘Hidden History’ is an ongoing project to which we hope you will be able to contribute. We would love to hear from anyone who has information about their own family history that shows African or Asian ancestry or who has discovered archive material that helps to paint a picture of how and why the Dales and Africa are connected.