Paper Beads, As You Wish (Jewelry Crafts Tutorial)

Just the paper bead tutorial for people who want to have a bead assortment on hand to use for jewelry crafts. A combination of cardstock and magazine paper from theater programs make unforgettable moments live everyday.

If you would like to see what project I am using paper beads for, learn more in this post:

Have You Ever Locked Your Keys In The Car? Here's What To Make So It Never Happens Again.

If you read the article related to this project and this sounds like something fun to learn, let's get started!

List of materials: (Yes it's a long list,  but its worth using all of these materials for this process of making these strong beautiful beads.) 

Cardstock 8.5” x 11” (Michaels)

Magazine Paper (Theater Program, Playbill)

Paper Trimmer with Sliding Blade (Fiskars)

Non-stick Safety Scissors (Fiskars)

Cocktail Straws (Any brand)

Pink Soap Brush Cleaner (Speedball)

Freezer Paper (Reynolds, optional to lay down and keep space clean)

Small Cups with Lids (Diamond Daily)

Small Water Bottles (Michaels)

Small Paint Bowls (Michaels)

#4 Flat Brush (Plaid)

#1 Round Brush (Plaid)

Matte Medium (Liquitex)

White Glue (Elmer’s)

Non-Toxic Watercolors (DaVinci)

Large Awl (Dritz)

Small Awl (Tulip)

Triple Thick Gloss Glaze (Deco Art Americana)

Silicone Baking Tray (Michaels)

Hard Foam Block (Michaels)

Wood Toothpicks (Any Brand)

Gather paper to make Paper Beads:

3 colors of Cardstock (8.5” x 11”, Use as 11” x 8.5”)

Magazine Paper (For the Theater program remove center staples and use whole pages. These are 8.5” x 11” as well, Use as is at 11” x 8.5”)

Measurements of cut paper strips:

Large Bicone Bead: 1/2” Wide by 8.5” Point. (Cut one cardstock paper strip and one magazine paper strip)

Round Bead: 3/8” Wide by 8.5” Point. (Cut one cardstock paper strip)

Rondelle Bead: 1/4” Wide by 8.5” Point (Cut one cardstock paper strip and one magazine paper strip)

Cut paper strips into triangles  with sliding blade paper trimmer:

1. To cut first paper strip. Start step two by moving paper over about an 1/8” of an inch beyond where mark for bead width is and trim on angle. Keep this piece of cut paper for scrap to make unique beads. Then move on to step 3.

2. Hold paper horizontal. Place top corner at marking of bead width, then push bottom corner toward trimming area and make sure it lies to right of trimming line. Trim on angle to cut triangle paper strip.

3. Hold paper horizontal and move it down to bottom of trimmer. Place bottom corner of paper near mark of bead width. Place top corner toward trimmer area and keep it on right of trimmer line. Trim on angle to cut triangle paper strip.

Repeat Steps 2 and 3. Alternate top cut paper with bottom cut paper for each triangle paper strip until you reach end of cardstock paper or magazine paper sheet. Keep end cut paper strip for scrap to make unique beads.

Set up bead drying area:

1. Use hard foam block and wood toothpicks to set up drying area. Stick the toothpicks into foam block so they are staggered across it. Set an odd row of toothpicks, then an even row of toothpicks all the way to end of block. This gives each bead enough space to dry.

2. Pour some pink soap into a small paint bowl. For each bead use a half straw to keep the bead on as its formed. Cut each straw in half and coat it with Pink Soap. Dip your fingers into soap and slide your finger up and down cut straw to coat it evenly. Set aside cut straw to dry for 10 minutes.

Form paper strips into beads:

1. In a small cup with lid, mix 1:1 ratio of water and white glue.

2. Take a cut paper strip with the wide part towards you. With flat brush, paint a 1/2” from the bottom up with water and white glue mix.

Round beads use one paper strip. For round beads Skip step three and go to step 4. For bicone beads and rondelle beads go to Step 3.

3. Then take a magazine paper strip, and from an 1/8” inch from the bottom of the first cut paper strip place up top over the bottom strip and paint a 1/2” of glue from where it starts up.

4. Take a straw and from the center roll the strip from widest part up to tip. Brush water and white glue mixture onto each paper strip as its rolled to create the bead. Then brush water and white glue mixture around bead and near hole of the bead.

5. Take straw and place onto toothpick.

Once finished, put lid on the cup to save glue mix to make more beads.

Continue steps 2 through 5 to make more beads.

Paint beads with Watercolor and/ or Acrylic Medium

1. In a small cup with lid, mix 1:2 ratio of water and matte medium.

2. Brush one rondelle bead with this mixture using a flat brush.

3. Place straw back on toothpick.

4. In a small cup with lid, mix a 2:1 ratio of water and water color. Then combine that mix with matte medium at a ratio of 1:1.

5. Brush one bicone bead and one round bead with this mixture using a flat brush.

6. Place straw on toothpick.

Varnish beads:

1. In a small cup with lid, pour about a teaspoon of Triple Thick.

2. Brush outside of bead with one coat of Triple Thick. Set aside to dry for 3 hours. Then paint one more coat of Triple Thick onto bead.

3. After painting, place straw back on toothpick. Let bead dry for 24 hours.

4. Once beads are dry, take straws off toothpicks. Cut each straw on both sides of bead to about an 1/8” inch.

5. Take small awl and stick it between straw and bead. Move the awl around the hole of the bead until straw breaks free from hole. Use large awl to push straw through, if it doesn’t come out.

6. With round brush paint hole of bead with Triple Thick. Lay each bead on its side in silicone baking tray and allow to air dry. 

Making paper beads is a labor of love. They take time, yet they are worth it. If you like this tutorial, please share with your friends on social media.

If you’ve got any questions about this tutorial, feel free to ask me in the comments and I will get back to you soon.

Take Care


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