Sunday, May 1, 2011

Paper Beads

Since I tend to go slightly overboard when shopping at Michaels (as my boyfriend can attest to) over the last few months I have accumulated several 12 x 12 pads of designer paper. I just can't resist the all the pretty colors! A portion of this paper was alloted for paper flowers (post pending) but since I still have several hundred pieces of paper left I thought I would try my hand at making paper beads.

Step 1: Cut elongated triangular shaped pieces of paper
I prefer paper that contains at least 3 seperate colors. The piece shown to the right was obtained from Recollections's Fashionably Chic Collection. 

Now, this is my first official craft post.  Bear with me... 

The first step involves cutting a long triangular piece.  I tend to free hand a lot of my designs, so the dimensions aren't quite exact.  The base width will determine the length of your bead (mine are approximately a centimeter).  The length will determine how thick the final product is ( mine are about 7 inches long).

Step 2: After applying glue, roll paper around wire
After applying a thin layer of glue to the back surface of the paper strip with a glue stick, start to role the paper around a thin rod.  I originally tried bamboo skewers but I felt the resulting bead had too wide of a opening.  I found that 16 gauge floral wire worked much better.
Step 3: Keeping the paper centered, finish rolling the bead.

 Continue to roll the paper around the wire.  Make sure to keep the tip of the triangle centered in the middle of the bead.  Upon reaching the end of the paper apply a dot of glue (I've been using Elmer's Craft Bond Paper Craft Glue Gel) to prevent the bead from unraveling slightly.

Varnish the finished bead with your sealer of choice.  After one coat, let beads dry. Apply additional coats if necessary.

After the beads are dry, insert jewelry wire through the opening.  Using pliers, bend both ends into loops. 

Step 4: Varnish bead and finish
by bending jewelry wire into loops
And you're done.  The whole process should take about 1-2 minutes per bead.  Less if you practice. One thing, I can't really comment on their water resistance.  The varnish should provide some protection; however, I would probably not wear the finished earrings or bracelet to the waterpark. 

These beads are obviously a great way to utilize left over paper, junk mail, old magazines, etc. Recycled chic is very in these days... 


  1. Thanks Linda...great instructions and I had a lot of fun making these today! I didn't have varnish so used some clear nail polish.


  2. I have a necklace like this that a friend gave me years ago that was made out of old church bulletins. This is a great way to use my paper scraps! Thanks for posting.