Monday, October 7, 2013

Paper Beads & Bracelets

Do you remember making paper beads as a child? My grandmother showed my cousins and I how to roll magazine strips of paper around toothpicks and glue together with flour paste. I don't remember what she used to give them the shiny look, but we all had fun wearing our 'Indian Beads' as she called them.

Forty years later and I am making paper beads again. it is really addictive once you get started. I have loads of scrape booking paper some which is really good for making beads, other like card stock is only so-so good as you have to roll it tightly to get it smooth and card stock does not roll very well.

The above picture shows some different styles of paper used to make beads. Magazines and old books are ideal for bead making (if you use old book you may have to line you page with a white sheet of paper if too thin.) Card-stock makes chunky, not really round beads but very heavy and boxy looking beads. Artisan papers like homemade papers really soak up the glue and Mod -Podge used as a sealer(light green and silver ones shown).
To make paper beads you need to have a 1/4 dowel , scissors, Elmer's clear school glue, small clothes pins(optional) pattern for tube or cylinder beads My pattern shown below is 9' long, 1" wide at one end, and 1.25 inches at the other. It is marked at 7" for use with  card stock. I cut my pattern out on a heavy cardboard for repeated use and durability.
After trial and error I found that if roll your paper from the small end your sides of the bead will funnel inwards , I like this shape better. But either side is an option, try both and decide for your self. Also, from doing it from the small side  it makes a nice rounded hole for beading, as the bead will fit into the end nicely as shown in the picture below.
After making the beads its time to glaze them with either Mod-Podge or spray on Acrylic.
I like the Mod-Podge as I can layer on the coats, I paint them on and let dry for 24 hours before strings them.the picture above is self explanatory on how to paint on the Mod-Podge and how I dry them. Note: after the glaze dries clear and before taking them off the dowels, rotate them to make sure they were all coated well. If not re-glaze and continue drying.   
After they are completely dry it is time to make them into necklaces or bracelets. Necklaces are the easiest as you can just string them on until you get it the length you want. Bracelets can be made this way to, just use a rubber band style cording to make them fit . 

I like the style shown above as it connects together using a wand and loop closure.I added beads to give it some oomph and bling. You can watch how to put them together on this you-tube video.

To bead I just followed the same path as above, just added a bead on each end. then I went through and stitched in-line one more time to help keep the shape. 
There are many great ideas for using homemade paper beads on Pinterest and on the web. 
Have fun, until next time