Introduction: Glazing and Drying Paper Beads

Picture of Glazing and Drying Paper Beads


Recently I have fallen in love with paper bead making.

There is always a lot of flyers, brightly coloured newspaper pages and glossy magazines lying around. While browsing for DIY jewellery ideas on Pinterest I chanced upon paper beads. I got interested and did some browsing again and found a treasure of videos and images on YouTube and Pinterest related to paper bead making and jewellery.

After we make the paper beads we need to seal them. During my research on the ideal sealant I discovered the most recommended one is the Polyurethane Water Based Varnish. I looked around for it and was not able to get it in the local stores. I am so familiar with online shopping. So I looked for an alternative. Few people suggested using Mod Podge.

I am sharing the process of sealing paper beads with Mod Podge as the results turned out to be beautiful.

Step 1: Materials Needed

Picture of Materials Needed

The materials needed are -

Mod Podge (I used Gloss Lustre)

Empty shoe box

Tooth picks

Pointed metal rod

Thick paint brush


Empty plastic bowl with wide mouth

Paper beads threaded on to fishing lines, the lengths corresponding to the length of the shoe box. Cut off the lines keeping extra for making loops on both ends to hang on the tooth picks.

Step 2: Preparing the Box

Picture of Preparing the Box

Punch small holes along the breadth of the shoe box using a pointed metal rod and insert the tooth picks into these holes.

Corresponding holes on both sides should in line with each other.

Step 3: Making the Mod Podge Mixture

Picture of Making the Mod Podge Mixture

Pour the Mod Podge into the plastic bowl. (I poured out and estimated amount keeping in mind the amount of paper beads I was sealing.) Add water to the Mod podge, Approximate ratio of 4 : 1, Mod Podge : water. Mix it well with the thick brush.

Step 4: Glazing and Drying

Picture of Glazing and Drying

Holding loops tied to both ends of each beaded string dip them into the Mod Podge mixture. You may use the brush to dip and coat the beads thoroughly.

Dipping one string at a time is recommended. Pick up the dipped sting and hold it up for a few seconds to allow the excess to drip off. Then put each loop onto the toothpicks on either side of the shoe box and let it hang to dry for a few hours.

Once it is completely dry, you may repeat the dipping process if you feel you need more shine or more sealing.

Once they are dry and hard use them as you wish and create beautiful jewellery.

The bracelet is the first piece I made for my daughter. It became very popular among her friends.

I made few more bracelets of a different design for her friends as Christmas gifts.

Step 5: Extra Tip

Picture of Extra Tip

I cut off the pointed tip of a toothpick and split it with a craft knife and used it to roll the beads.

Improvised for paper strips that were broader than the split in the bead roller I have.

Keep smiling and creating.


My work can be found on

Thanks for visiting.


brenSt (author)2017-05-30

Leena, wouldn't there be some concern of 'varnish vapours' emitting onto the dishes that you would later be eating off?

I know it was an accident that your beads fell into the dishwasher. I am just concerned about how someone might interpret this to mean that they could do this to all of their beads.

Nonetheless, I think that your technique is great information esp. about using the shoe box.

I use clear nail polish on my beads, but I diffidently can not leave them in closed container for several weeks as the vapur is too overpowering.

LisaC280 (author)2016-11-18

io per sigillare le perle uso colla vinilica e acqua (molto economica) e poi le lucido con vernice trasparente all'acqua. Si asciugano in poco tempo e durano anni e anni senza nessun problema.

ho collane di 7/8 anni fa perfettamente mantenute.

rickharris (author)2016-02-05

You can save a fortune by using a cheaper white PVA wood glue rather then Modpog - It's the same stuff it may be a little thinner.

mchau2 (author)rickharris2016-02-05

is there difference to dry time, water resistance and painting adaptability? i use white and my fair share of papier maché, i just never felt its ideal as "varnish", the hit and humid weather in homg kong make them sticky in summer...

LeenaJ made it! (author)mchau22016-02-22


I varnished the beads that I had Mod Podged earlier.

When they dried up, they were hard and shiny. I stored them in a box and checked after a few days, they are not sticky at all. I too live in a very humid place.

I had placed my beads to dry on top of my dishwasher and my dishwasher door was open when I was taking out the beads after they were dry.

The next day when I was taking out the spoons out of the dishwasher basket I found one of my paper beads on the tooth pick washed and dried in it. Oh! the bead was still intact, shiny and dry. Even after few days the glue and varnish held on and the bead was perfect and not sticky at all.

Around a week later I found another varnished bead on a toothpick in the same basket. This too was in perfect condition. So I am a complete fan of the Jo Sonjas Varnish I used. I admit it is a bit pricey but I am happy with the results.

I am still on the lookout for a cheaper polyurethane water based varnish. I will post my review once I find it and use it.

Keep smiling and creating.


LeenaJ (author)mchau22016-02-15


I think coat of varnish will solve the problem of stickiness. I am going to try it in a few days and will share my feedback.



LeenaJ (author)rickharris2016-02-10


Before trying out your suggestion, I would like to clarify my doubts.

Does PVA wood glue give the required shine?

Is it skin friendly?


rickharris (author)LeenaJ2016-02-11


yes the PVA will dry to a shine just the same - read the label it is Poly Vinyl Acetate (PVA)

Safety sheet.

So the attributes and drying time and finish will be the same/similar.

As skin friendly as Mode Podge is! It washes off easily and will not stick to your skin. As a teacher I used it for years and usually applied it with my fingers.

Treat it just the same. A small bottle whilst a little more costly than buying by the gallon will allow you to experiment.

At school when we made paper beads this is what we used with great succes.

PVA is somewhat hydroscopic and is not water proof, but then again modge podge is the same.

To water proof and give a bright shine I coated with clear nail varnish, totally water proof and pretty hard wearing. You could of course dip in a water proof varnish if that is the finish you want.

LeenaJ (author)rickharris2016-02-15


Thanks a lot for the detailed reply. I will try and get PVA.



LeenaJ (author)rickharris2016-02-10


Before trying out your suggestion, I would like to clarify my doubts.

Does PVA wood glue give the required shine?

Is it skin friendly?


bizzycrafter (author)2016-02-05

How long does it take for the beads to dry/harden completely? I used gloss Mod Podge for exactly this purpose about a year and a half ago, and the beads are still slightly tacky. And I live in one of the least humid places on the continent (yes, it's -45, but it's a DRY cold...)

LeenaJ (author)bizzycrafter2016-02-10


I let the beads dry for 1-2 sunny days.

I live in a humid place, so I try and do the glazing on a sunny day.

TeameaC (author)2016-02-06

I like the idea of drying them on a string between toothpicks.

rickharris (author)2016-02-05

You can save yourself a fortune by buying a white PVA wood glue and using that. it is the same as Modpog but a little thinner.

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