Paper beads can incorporate recycled materials and are a low-cost craft project. Experiment with paper beads and make a final project with them.
To make paper beads, you’ll need to have:
- Scissors or craft knife and mat or paper cutter
- Knitting needle, sewing needle or other item to wrap paper around
- Pen / pencil
- Foam or something to place toothpicks into while beads dry
You probably have these items in your home. Collect them before continuing.
2. Material adjustments for kids.
If kids are planning on making beads, try rolling the beads on pencils and a glue stick to glue the end down. This works better for little fingers.
3. Bead shapes.
Download the four PDFs with bead shapes. Print out the shapes on cardstock for templates. Make at least one bead of each type to see how they look.
4. Paper for beads.
Paper for beads can be found anywhere, including:
- Wrapping paper
- Scrapbook paper
- Wallpaper samples
- Construction paper
- Origami paper
- Sheet music
- Any other type of paper
Try a variety of materials and find the one(s) you prefer to work with.
5. Decorating your beads.
If your paper starts out as rather boring, you can use paint, markers or anything else to decorate your beads. Try decorating a few beads to see if you prefer decorated or non-decorated beads.
Don’t limit yourself to decorating after you’ve rolled the paper. For example, if you use a metallic gold pen on the edges of a triangular black paper before rolling, you’ll have thin gold lines on your final bead.
6. Coating for beads.
After the beads are wound, they need to be sealed to keep the paper in good condition. Some of the ways you can do this include:
- Clear nail polish
- Decoupage medium and paint brush
- Embossing fluid, embossing powder and heat source
- Acrylic sealer spray
Seal the beads you made using one or more of these methods.
7. Making beads from recycled newspaper.
Instead of cutting strips and rolling beads, create beads from recycled newspaper pulp. Try this way of making paper beads.
8. Paper pod beads.
Paper pod beads are made with paper punched shapes. You punch multiples of the same shape, fold them in half and glue them together. Explore this way to make paper beads.
9. Covering wooden beads.
Try a different way to make “paper” beads by gluing paper over wooden beads. Make sure the bead is clean. Thinner papers, such as tissue paper, will wrap over the bead easier. Mulberry paper will hold together better as it is stretched over the bead. Glue the paper and coat it with one of the coating methods listed in Step 6 or one of your own.
Using your beads
10. Beaded curtains.
You can take many paper beads and make curtains or room dividers. Determine how many beads you’d need to make to create a curtain. Time how long it takes you to roll and seal a bead. Is this a possibility?
11. Beaded jewelry.
Paper beads can be incorporated into necklaces, bracelets, earrings, rings and more. Create enough beads to make a piece of jewelry.
12. Paper embellishments.
Paper beads can be used to embellish scrapbooks and other paper crafts. They can be strung on ribbons or strings. Brainstorm places you can place paper beads as embellishments.
13. Bead people.
Combine a variety of sizes and shapes to create unique “bead people.” By combining beads, you can use your bead person on a keyring or necklace. You also could use a bead to create a person or face by painting features on a bead.
14. Trading beads.
Swap beads you have made with others. Incorporate your collected beads in one of the above projects, SWAPs or another project.
15. Start a collection.
If you love your beads too much to part with them, start a collection of your favorites to show others.
16. Share the fun.
Teach a group, lead a meeting or find a way to teach others to make paper beads.
Sites to Explore