How to Make a Wampum Belt

By Terry Moore ; Updated September 15, 2017

Things Needed

  • 1 box Ditalini noodles
  • Empty coffee can
  • Vinegar
  • Red and blue food coloring
  • Grid paper
  • Strainer
  • Paper towels
  • Strips of cardboard
  • Glue stick
Native Americans used wampum belts to tell stories.

The founding of the Iroquois Confederacy was symbolized by the wampum. Native American messengers wore a wampum to signify that their messages were legitimate. The wampum beads were made from mussel shells and were used in various patterns to tell stories. Dark colors were used to tell a sad story or report a serious event. What your wampum belt says will be up to you.

Pour half of the box of Ditalini noodles into the empty coffee can.

Cover the noodles with vinegar.

Add equal parts red and blue food coloring until the noodles have been dyed purple. The Iroquois used only variations of purple and cream to make wampum.

Strain the noodles and place on a paper towel to dry.

Draw a geometric pattern on grid paper. The design should be the same length and width as the cardboard strip. Then glue the grid paper to the cardboard strip.

Glue both the dyed and the undyed noodles to the grid paper, using the geometric design as a guide.

Wrap the cardboard strip around your waist and staple the edges together to form a belt.

About the Author

Terry Moore has been a writer since 2004. She has worked with a variety of publishing firms and content providers including Destination Media Group and Sunrise Publishing House. Her areas of expertise include art history and graphic design. Terry earned a bachelor's degree in liberal arts in 2006, majoring in English literature with a minor in fine arts.