Remember those paper scraps left over from the calendar envelope project? Well, that’s them up there, and I have another project for putting those scraps to work: paper beads.
Pictured above are some paper beading tools. Not one of them is “necessary” for this project, but they come in handy. All you truly need is some paper cut into strips and a bamboo skewer or round tooth pics, and some glue. If you’re doing this with small children (pre-school age), then you could even use a pencil instead of something as slim as a skewer to make it easier for little fingers who are developing their fine motor skills.
I set these three pieces aside because I loved the little dog, the fox and there’s a rather charming fake fish on the middle sheet. Those got turned into stickers to use as envelope embellishments on plain envelopes.
I cut the paper into small strips. The strips range in width from 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch wide. Below is a close up of the Paper Bead Tool I have at my disposal. The metal shaft has a gap down the middle and the edge of the paper is fed into gap.
Once the paper is fed into the gap, slowly and tightly wind it around the metal shaft.
As you can see below, the 12″ long calendar scrap makes quite a large diameter bead. Any type of paper can be used: scrapbook paper, old magazines, damaged books, newspaper slicks, etc. The thinner paper is a bit easier to work with than the thicker scraps and doesn’t require as much glue.
Once the paper is rolled onto the tool, a thin layer of glue is applied and I give it a good roll, pressing down firmly to give the glue a chance to adhere to the paper. Just like with the calendar envelopes, just about any type of glue can be used from Elmer’s to specialty glues like Diamond Glaze. I used the 3M Dual Applicator paper glue.
Below is a bead winder from Green Creativity. The bottle is a handy holder for finished beads as well as a base for the winder.
There are two small pieces of metal at the top and the paper is fed between the metal.
Wind her up!
The bead is finished in the same fashion. Once the beads are dry, they can be strung onto yarn, embroidery floss, thread, etc. for bracelets and necklaces. If you’re feeling ambitious, you could always paint the outside of the bead with clear nail polish or spray it with a clear fixative. If you’re wanting to make a bracelet, it might be wise to spring for elastic or stretchable plastic string used for jewelry making. I do this craft with my five year old and he gets a kick out of winding the handle as fast as he can, and it’s the type of craft that can be fiddled with for a bit here and there with no real big time commitment. It’s also great for slumber parties and the participants can wind beads while watching movies and have a bracelet or necklace to take home as a party favor.