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Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Wavy Cut Paper Bead How-To

I am crazy for paper beads! I use them as part of the embellishments on my dolls and other things. I enjoy using paper from catalogs and junk mail. Mine have a fairly large hole to accommodate yarn. Sometimes I paint the edges gold.

Up until recently I made beads from torn strips. Then I acquired a paper cutter which includes a zig zag blade. I love the beads that result! The monochrome ones make me think of snakeskin and the colorful ones are like tiny mosaics. And the manufacturing process is absolutely addictive!

Here is my step by step tutorial for making paper beads.

Choose your paper. I like catalog pages where the color reaches the edges of the paper.

The cutting can be lengthwise or widthwise. I alternate up and down the sheet tilting back and forth. No two beads will be exactly alike by this method. I like to cut up a couple of pages at a time with the wide edge being about 1 to 1.5 inches and coming close to a point.
Here is a selection of long and shorter wedge shaped cut papers with the wavy edges.
For basic beads, start rolling from the wide end until the tail is about as long as your finger. Then a swipe of glue stick on paper work surface (I usually use old catalogs and turn the pages when they get grubby), finish the roll and roll it over in the hands to "seal".

Here is the difference in thickness between a bead made from a lengthwise cut, and a widthwise cut. For most of my purposes it isn't very important.

The glue stick beads are fairly soft and can be flattened easily. I have found that using an archival paste glue, such as "Yes", results in a harder bead, almost like paper mache. However because it takes a bit longer to dry, sometimes the beads end up like this, with a lifted end.

The solution is to use a dab of glue stick and roll the bead on the paper for a moment to flatten.

When I roll with paste, I pause with a longer tail and paint on the glue with a brush. Then I will dab gluestick on the last 2 inches. I finish the roll and then roll the bead back and forth between my palms. This gets a bit mucky on the fingers after a few beads. A box of wet wipes can be helpful.

Here's the difference between torn beads and cut beads.

I can't get enough of my new beads.

Soon I will post about some jewelry I am planning with some of these.


Cid said...

I'm so glad you posted this tutorial...
I've been going to make paper beads for weeks now and just hadn't figured out the (after I pick up the house, finish the taxes and outside bookkeeping work and feed my family, lol) I can start on some :) to use on bookmarks ( coming soon!)
your dolls, and your beads are beautiful- and you're inspiring!

Robyn L. Coburn said...

Thank you! I warn you, the beads are addicting. I cut a lot of wedges then sit at a folding table next to my daughter while she works on her computer. Then bang I suddenly had about 400 beads in the course of three days.

Daisie said...

Brilliant, I've just got into doing things with beads this will be really good to do with my girls too, fun for everyone!! Thanks xxx

Robyn L. Coburn said...

Thanks Daisie!
If you (or anyone)make some of these and take some photos and blog about it, please let me know - I'd like to link to your blog/s.

Have fun.