Paper Bead Art

Paper Bead Art

When we were kids, my sister Joyce and I rolled paper beads; little did we know we were doing something girls a hundred years earlier had done. Although Joyce and I made funky necklaces with our beads, our Victorian counterparts used the fruits of their labor to fashion curtains for doorways. Nowadays, I like to use paper beads to create 3D art, including greeting cards. 

The great thing about this craft project is that you probably already have everything on hand to do it.

What You Need

Colorful--or not so colorful--interior pages from a magazine

A few toothpicks

Glue (Although something like Elmers will work, I suggest using a tacky craft glue)

A utility craft knife or scissors

A cutting surface and ruler if using a craft knife

What You Do

Cut strips of magazine pages as shown. Mine are about 7 inches long with the fattest end measuring about an inch wide. As you make these, you’ll want to experiment with length and width to create different looks.

Apply glue 3/4" up from fat end to tip on the wrong side of paper strips. (You don't need a lot of glue here; just a thin line will do.)

Place your toothpick at fat end and start winding up paper to tip, as shown. Don’t worry about glue ooze; just smooth it over your bead at the end with your fingertips. It sort of acts like Modge Podge.

Slip bead off toothpick. It’s important to keep the toothpick free of glue, or it’ll be difficult to remove the bead. If the pick does get sticky, clean it off with a bit of water or use a new toothpick.

Now, what to do with my beads....hmmm. A little art perhaps, or.....

a greeting card.

For more information about the history of paper beads and alternative bead shapes and materials, check out Paper University's great tutorial. Although, they do suggest using plastic straws, which sort of negates the whole biodegradable aspect of the project.

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Mzuribeads on Mar 14, 2010:

Lovely to see paper beads used on cards. These are beautiful.

We hope you don’t mind us leaving a note to tell you about our fabulous Ugandan Recycled Paper Mzuribeads, Barkcloth, Banana leaf, and recycled Glass beads ON SALE at http://www.mzuribeads.com/

Here you can check out a selection of ethical and eco beads all made by groups building sustainable businesses and promoting environmental awareness.

Thank you for your support, and for promoting sustainable bead projects.


Caya123 on Mar 13, 2007:

I like the idea about the bead curtain. It sounds painfully time-consuming, but it sounds really cool.

Sister Diane on Mar 13, 2007:

This is so cool! I have a bunch of these beads that my great-great grandmother made, and I didn't really want to wear them as jewelry. But they'd be awesome in a shadow-box frame. Thanks so much for this inspiring post!

endash on Mar 13, 2007:

Beautiful! This just may have inspired me to make something for my new place.

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