Paper Beads are easy to make and a fun way to recycle unused papers!
I go through a lot of paper. Probably too much paper. But then I don’t throw it away and the pile of paper just gets bigger and bigger. I really should address my hoarding tendencies but that’s for another time. Let me stay a hoarder for now.
While doing some research for paper recycling projects, I came across the idea of paper beads. The idea of making beads out of paper seemed interest but I wasn’t sure how it would turn out. So, I decided to try it for myself!
I wasn’t sure if I was going to like them. The ones that I saw online seemed a little chunky which is not typical style. But I love how these turned out and they felt even simpler to make than I initially thought!
Check out the Craft section of MCG for more unlimited ideas. Leave a comment below and let me know what you think and how the craft works for you!
To make paper bead, I needed the following supplies:
- Paper (I used magazine paper since I had an abundance of those)
- Glue Medium (Like Modge Podge)
Not many things needed! I decided to use toothpicks because I like the idea of having a small hole as it would produce a smaller bead. For a chunkier bead, a straw can be used instead. This is great it you are threading the beads on thicker string.
Creating a Shape
The one awesome thing about paper beads if that you can make them into almost any shape you want! The beads can be straight, thick in the middle and thin on the ends, taper off to one side. I had seen all sorts of interesting shapes in my research.
One of the more common shapes is the single hump bead which has a thicker middle and tapers off on both sides. The paper needs to be cut into a triangle to create this shape. I like to start by using a template when creating a shape because I want a consistent outline. But this is pretty easy to freehand too!
Wrapping and Sealing
After cutting out the paper into the desired shape, it’s onto wrapping and sealing. I like to start by putting the thicker end of the paper at the edge of the toothpick. Then I slowly wrap the paper around the toothpick creating that desired finished shape.
The toothpick will effectively create the hole in the center of the bead so that is the thickness of thread to be used on the beads that are created.
Once the paper is fully wrapped around the toothpick, it’s time to seal the beads! The sealing is done using a touch of glue or glue medium. This step can get a little messy especially because I decided to use my hands…
I wanted the glue to cover the final edge of the paper and I also wanted to cover some of the surface as well. The paper bead has a lot of exposed edges, and I don’t want those catching on anything. If beaded onto a bracelet or necklace, there is a lot of potential for snagging on clothing that I wanted to minimize!
This project was easy to do and turned out gorgeously! I can already picture making jewelry with these beads (maybe in a future post 😉) and I’m excited for how they will turn out!
One thing I did notice is that some beads tend to slide then pressure it put against them. This could be solved is glue is applied throughout the winding process. Definitely something to think about in the future.
I was surprised by how hard these beads are. While they are made of paper, they are less flimsy than I anticipated which was actually pretty neat!
Using the Right Tools
Sometimes, the right tool can change a project from a hassle to a breeze. And sometimes, just sometimes, I choose the completely wrong tool for the job!
I decided to use my hands to apply the glue and it quickly became a mess. Especially since I was working with such a small piece of paper (about 1 cm at the base). A brush would have been much better at spreading the glue and keeping my hands from becoming covers in glue.
- 1 Pair of Scissors
- 1 Piece Paper any color
- Glue like modge podge
- Cut Paper into the desired shape (either freehand or using a template)
- Place the long edge against the toothpick. Wrap the paper around the toothpick until the other end of the paper strip is reached.
- Using a glue medium, coat the outside of the bead to allow the paper to stick fully.
- Remove toothpick and use as desired!