How to Make a Paper Bead

When I was a child, I was very interested in arts and crafts, much like I am now. But when I was younger, there seemed to be a huge trend in bead working. Women wore pattered beads, children wore animal-shaped beads, and men wore wooded beads. I noticed that artists made colorful and intricate beads from glass. They made beautiful beads from polymer or fimo clay. They even used papier-m�¢ch�© to create their own beads.

As a young girl, I was very lucky to have a supportive mother who would spring for all my art supplies, so I had the opportunity to try all these mediums. Glass beading I found was too advanced for my average skills. When I tried working with fimo, my hands were not strong enough to make even a dent in the clay. (Have you even worked with fimo clay? It is very hard!) I even tried papier-m�¢ch�© and found that it was not really my thing. Too messy for my tastes. So, I sat and thought. What was I good at working with? I figured it out: paper! I always loved paper-construction paper, cardstock, notepads, you name it. I loved to cut designs, experiment with origami, and draw. I found it fun and easy. Why should making paper beads be any different? So, I set out to find a way to incorporate my love of jewelry and my skills with paper. I came up with a unique and fun way to create new beads.

Now you can do it, too. And the best part is, you probably have all the supplies you need right at home.

Here is the list of supplies:

�· one pair of scissors
�· a couple of different catalogs and/or magazines
Ã?· Elmer’s glue
�· a Bic pen, a ruler
�· clear nail polish

1. What you do is simple. Page through some old catalogs and magazines, such as Glamour or Vogue to find designs that you like. Catalogs and magazines are great to use because they have a glossy finish. At the time, I was a big cartoon fan, so I paged through Warner Brother catalogs to find pictures of cartoon characters, like Sylvester the Cat or Bugs Bunny. However, like I mentioned before, any kind of design will do.

2. Cut your desired design from the magazine in the shape of a rectangle, no more than 1 �½ inches tall and 1 inch wide.

3. Place that picture to the side.

4. Cut some rectangles from the magazine about 2 inches long, 1 inch wide. You will see these rectangles on your bead, so you can randomly cut the magazine. Depending on how thick you want your bead will determine how many rectangles you should cut. (I would cut around 10.)

5. Take a round pen (any normal Bic pen will do) and place one of your rectangle around the pen. Glue the ends together.

6. Put some glue on your finger and coat the paper around the pen with the glue. Place another rectangle on top of the first. Continue to layer the rectangles on the pen in the same fashion until you reach a good thickness (5 centimeters thick, for example). Glue the picture of your design on top of the last layer.

7. Apply a thick coat of clear nail polish to the bead. Let it dry for about 10 minutes. The nail polish gives the bead a finished look, similar to glass.

8. Take the bead off of the pen, and there you have it, your own hand-made, hand-chosen bead.

You can complete this process with any design that you find in any magazine. You can also determine your size of beads. It just comes with practice. I have many cartoon character beads, but I have even more designs, such as tye-dye, paisley, and even Burberry. This is an easy arts-and-crafts project anyone can learn. Be creative and have fun!

If you are interested in Beads, check out our beads Category! This section is filled with tips on bead making, crafts and projects for kids and adults.

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