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Paper beads are something I taught myself to make fairly recently. It’s a fun way to pass the time and it’s something that’s perfect for all ages. Kids can make them and string them on pieces of wool, great for learning dexterity. Adults can make them, seal them and finish them and they can make some truly stunning jewelry!
This craft costs next to nothing because you can use things you likely already have or can pick up at the dollar store. If you want to do this as a hobby to make money it may cost a fraction more but certainly nothing that will break the bank!
~ Supplies ~
White glue. Any kind of white school glue will do
Bamboo skewers, toothpicks, chopsticks or straws. (chopsticks and straws are better for little people fingers) Personally, I prefer bamboo skewers.
Paper. Just about any kind will work. Flyers, magazines, newspaper, junk mail, scrapbook paper, old books, you can even paint a design on paper with any kind of paint or make the bead using white paper and paint it whatever way you’d like. Use your imagination. My suggestion is, try it and if it doesn’t work you really haven’t lost much.
Paper cutter or scissors
Something to hold the beads while they dry. A piece of styrofoam or something similar. I use an empty kleenex box turned upside down, the skewers poke a hole in it so it’s perfect and cost nothing which is even better.
If your making these as for jewelry, you’ll need some sort of varnish for them to make them strong. You can even use clear nail polish, however if you’re making a lot of these it can get costly because it takes several coats.
There a variety of templates for paper beads online which are available to print off or you could experiment, which is what I did. You can just freehand cut them or measure out with a ruler. You’ll definitely get some interesting shapes and figure out what you like best for your projects.
~ How to ~
Measure and cut you paper into whatever shapes you desire. Take one end and roll it tightly over the skewer (not so tight that it won’t come off though) Once you get to the last 1/2 inch use a paint brush to paint on a bit of glue. Press the end down and hold it there for a few seconds with the end of your paint brush until it stays. Make sure the tip sticks flat before you move on. If it’s not then while it dries the tip can curl and then no matter what you do it won’t be flat.
The time it takes to hold will vary depending on the type of paper you use. The thicker the paper the longer it will take for it to stick. Once it sticks paint more glue on in a thin layer around the whole thing especially the edges.
It will take a little time to figure out what technique works best for you but it won’t take long.
Once it’s stuck and you feel you’ve added enough glue, remove it from the skewer and place it on whatever you have decided to dry them on.
The skewers come in slightly different widths, try and pick the wider ones for wrapping and the slimmer ones for drying.
I’ll fill up the slimmer skewers to the top with beads to dry rather than just one on each skewer. This seems to work better for me.
Once the beads are dry you can paint them or dunk them in whatever varnish you choose. Modge podge works but didn’t give the finish I was looking for so I started to use clear nail polish but I was going through that too quickly, so I went to Home Depot and got some diamond wood finish and so far so good. My
~ Using your paper beads ~
Earrings, bracelets and necklaces are perfect for these beads or if you’re really adventurous you could make a beaded curtain! 😉