Mardi Gras beads by the handfuls: What to do with them?

I’ve never been to Mardi Gras but I have beads. My first few came from a good college friend of mine who came back from New Orleans with a smile on his face and tales of forgetting that he’s from a “nice” family. Not really, I do know he had a grand time and bought beads back for everyone.

Acquiring lots of beads and trinkets is one way to measure how much of a good time one had at a Mardi Gras parade. I imagine the experience is like a giant pinata that takes forever to empty–all those colors flying.

These beads have been part of Mardi Gras since 1920s when throwing trinkets to spectators started to become a feature. The original “throws” (what is thrown) were cheap glass beads instead of the lightweight plastic ones of today. [Check out this National Geographic article for a detailed history.]

If Mardi Gras beads rain your way there are some things you can do with them once you get them home. Here are directions for how to make a floor lamp. You can also knit a scarf. How about a bead dog?

I bet you could glue those beads on about anything. Buy a cheap picture frame, cover it with beads and show off your favorite Mardi Gras snapshot. That’s my idea.