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DIY Paper Straws – How to Make your Own Custom Paper Straws

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Decorative paper straws are too cute! Unfortunately, a lot of times they’re literally too cute, plus they can be too expensive if you don’t buy them in bulk. What do you do if you want just a few paper straws or something that isn’t stripes, chevrons, or polka dot? Make your own, of course! I hope you enjoy making DIY paper straws as much as I did!

DIY custom paper straws. Easy to make, inexpensive paper straws from any scrapbook paper!

These straws have a Halloween theme, but you could make them for any holiday, shower, wedding, etc. They’re really inexpensive, too! When you only buy a couple dozen decorative straws, they can easily cost $4-5 a package. Each 12″ piece of scrapbook paper makes 8 straws and I actually got the two pieces used in the tutorial for free along with the papers I ordered for our wedding, making my cost pretty much nothing. Even if you have to buy the paper, you should still come out ahead. Plus there’s the added benefit of being able to make the straws with whatever colors and patterns you want.

halloween paper straws

If you’re even casually crafty, you probably have most of the needed supplies at home already. If not, they’re inexpensive and easy to find!

Supplies for DIY Paper Straws

  • Scrapbook paper (1 12″x12″ sheet should make 8 straws)
  • A paper trimmer (I’ve been using this one for three+ years now!)
  • Non-toxic white glue. Original Tacky Glue is my current favorite, though Elmer’s is pictured.
  • A 1/4″ wood dowel. If you have a full-length dowel, you’ll also need a small hand saw. Save yourself trouble and just get some pre-cut dowels like these!
  • Scissors
  • Paraffin wax
  • A tall glass container you don’t mind filling with wax. I like to reuse jars from things like sauces or olives.
  • A cooking pot
  • Paper towels

If some of these supplies seem a little bit strange, let me explain:

-I’ve seen a couple other tutorials for straws that have you roll the paper around a plastic straw or a chopstick. In my opinion, plastic straws are a little flimsy and difficult to work with and most wood chopsticks change diameter, which makes for an odd-looking straw. I got a 48″ long 1/4″ wide wood dowel for about a dollar and have 36″ left over for another project.

– When you get your paraffin wax, go for the basic canning wax. It is food safe and cheap. You could also use beeswax, but your straws will taste and smell like beeswax! I don’t mind that, but my husband does. Soy wax tends to have a low melting point and feels greasy to me, so I decided not to use it.

– If you don’t have an official wax melter, you need to heat wax in a double boiler. In other words, you put the wax in a container and then set that container in a pot of water that you heat gently over the stove. Your glass container for holding the wax needs to hold enough wax to dip at least half a straw in at a time. I used an empty olive jar and it worked fantastically! If you do have a little wax melter, you can just set the tall glass container directly on it.diy paper straw supplies

How to Make DIY Paper Straws

1. Cut a 12″ section of dowel. I held it in a vice and cut through it quickly with a handsaw, but I’ve also used hedge trimming shears and even tough scissors on dowels in the past. Alternatively, save yourself the trouble and just get 12″ craft dowels like these.

2. Cut your paper into 1.5″ strips. You should be able to make 8 12″x1.5″ strips from each sheet of scrapbook paper.

cut paper into strips

strips of paper

3. Working with one strip of paper at a time, lay a thin bead of glue about 1/4″ inch in along one long edge on the “wrong” side of the paper. This will be the inside of the straw, so if your paper is double sided, make sure you put the glue on the side you don’t want showing.

place a bead of glue

4. Place one end of your dowel at an angle across one end of your paper opposite from the glue, as shown. You can experiment with what angle ultimately works best for you, but an approximate 45 degrees seems to work well. Begin rolling the paper, using the dowel as your guide.

begin rolling

5. Continue rolling the paper. It should stay at an angle so that each wrap overlaps with the wrap before it. Make sure the roll is snug, but making it extremely tight will make the straw difficult to remove from the dowel later!

continue rolling

6. When you reach the end, you may need to add an extra dab of glue to the final tab. Press the end tab down, wipe up any excess glue along the straw with a paper towel, and hold the end in place for a few seconds until the glue starts to bond.

finish rolling

7. Remove the dowel from the paper straw and begin again with the next strip of paper!

rolled paper straw

8. After you’re done rolling all your straws, it’s best to let them dry fully before cutting or coating them. I let mine sit overnight before continuing.

pointed ends on straws

9. Trim your straw ends to get rid of the pointy bits. You’ll notice your straws aren’t all exactly the same length – this is also the time to cut them to size, if you’re like.

cut pointed lends off the straws

10. Break up chunks of your wax and put them in your glass vessel. I used two of the 4 sheets in my box of wax in order to get the melted level high enough to coat the straws.

jar with parifin wax

11. Place your jar of wax in a cooking pot with high sides and pour water into the pot until it is almost full or the water comes most of the way up the jar, whichever happens first.

wax double boiler

12. Heat the pot over low to medium-low heat until the wax melts. This will take several minutes, especially because you need to turn down the heat if the water tries to simmer.

13. Working with one straw at a time, dip one end into the wax and then lift it out. Let a little wax drip back into the container and then gently wipe the excess off with a paper towel. Repeat with the other side of the straw. The wax on the straw will harden pretty quickly, but you can set freshly-coating straws on a plastic bag or piece of wax paper if you’re worried about getting your counters waxy.

14. Continue dunking your straws in the melted wax until you’re finished.

15. Use your cool new straws!

custom diy paper strawsAnd that’s all, folks! It seems like a lot of steps, but they’re very easy to make and most of the steps only take a minute or two. You can practically make these in less time than driving to the store to buy some! Plus, of course, there’s that whole “make them in any color you want” part that’s pretty darn cool.

Have you ever made your own custom decorations or paper goods in order to match a theme?



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{ 20 comments… add one }
  • them8triark August 11, 2017, 14:15

    Natasha, can you please tell me why the paraffin wax is needed if the straws aren’t being used to drink through?

    • Natashalh August 11, 2017, 14:21

      You certainly don’t have to coat them in wax if you’re not planning to use them for liquids, or you could use beeswax if you’d rather use something more natural.

  • Kristen July 28, 2015, 11:36

    Is the scrapbook paper you used non toxic (if so, where did you get it from)? Is it important to make sure that the paper used is non toxic or no?

    • Natashalh July 31, 2015, 22:54

      Honestly, I didn’t worry about that too much because the paper was entirely costed in paraffin wax and I intended for them to be a one-time use item. If you plan on using them a lot, you might want to look into non-toxic papers. Whatever you feel comfortable with =)

  • Natasha in Oz October 9, 2014, 17:24

    Thanks for sharing your fabulous idea at the Say G’day Saturday Linky Party. I’ve just shared this on Pinterest/Facebook/Twitter.

    Hope you can link up with us again this Saturday!

    Best wishes,
    Natasha in Oz

    • Natashalh October 9, 2014, 19:21

      Thanks so much for sharing! I plan to stop by again this weekend. =) I always have to support a fellow Natasha!

  • Linda October 9, 2014, 16:20

    PINNED. Thanks for the inspiration! Linda Crafts a la Mode

    • Natashalh October 9, 2014, 16:35

      Thanks for pinning! I appreciate it – and that you host the What to do Weekends each week!

  • LeAnn October 5, 2014, 02:00

    Those are SO cool!!

  • Marieken October 4, 2014, 07:50


    • Natashalh October 4, 2014, 08:16

      Awesome – thank you, Marieken!

  • Michelle @TheGraciousWife.com October 3, 2014, 05:53

    I love this! So cool that you can make the straws match anything now! Thanks for sharing! Pinning!
    -Michelle @TheGraciousWife.com

    • Natashalh October 3, 2014, 07:04

      Thanks so much! I appreciate you stopping by and hope you have fun with the project. =)

  • Lana October 3, 2014, 04:35

    I taught a fashion classes in college a few years ago. And one of the class was a bids making – it is a similar technique as paper bids I think. But this is a perfect for a season… especially paper you choose! Love this!

    • Natashalh October 3, 2014, 07:07

      Working with paper can be so much fun. It’s usually an inexpensive medium and it’s amazing how many different things you can do with it!

  • Duni October 3, 2014, 03:06

    You’re incredibly crafty, Natasha! I love these!
    I think it’s great that one paper makes 8 straws 🙂

    • Natashalh October 3, 2014, 07:06

      Thank you! It’s a lot of bang for your buck, as it were, especially if you can use paper you’ve had sitting around the house.

  • Edi October 2, 2014, 09:47

    What a fun DIY. I do love the fact that you could make these for any season/theme. How fun for all the upcoming holiday parties!

    • Natashalh October 2, 2014, 11:52

      Thank you! I was casually looking at paper straws for our wedding and I was really surprised by the lack of colors/patterns available. I ultimately decided not to make them then, but I now I’m looking for an excuse to use these fun Halloween ones!

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