Instructables

How to Make Paper Beads

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Want to know how to make beautiful, light weight, eco friendly, handmade, recycled paper beads! Check out this step by step instructions on how to make a paper bead, and you will enjoy and achieve some stunning results! 

You can find our
VIDEO TUTORIAL on our site.

We also have a 3 Page STEP BY STEP in ISSUE 20 (March 2010), in the the BEAD MAGAZINE

We are MZURIBEADS; professionally rolling paper beads, and exporting fair trade jewelry from Uganda since 2006. This is a fair trade company, aiming to develop communities around UGANDA. By buying our beads - Not only will you be helping these women earn a much need income, but you will be receiving a very high standard of recycled paper bead. 

Our beads pass a quality check, judged on being symmetric, clean, and thickly varnished for a waterproof, smooth and glossy finish. 
We have been rolling are beads for many years, and we are so confident that we are the ultimate masters of this hand crafted skill
......we are more than happy to share our know how (;

Please VISIT OUR SITE for more details...
http://www.mzuribeads.com/
 
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Step 1: Selecting your paper and materials to make the bead

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First collect the following:

  • A colourful page from a used magazine or an old colourful poster. If you want to make beads of a full colour, you must find a full colour page of poster. For example to get ALL blue beads, pick up a page with photo of the ocean! Vogue and House and Home, or some old teenage music posters are my favorite. The thicker the paper the fatter the bead!
  • Scissors
  • Pen
  • Ruler
  • Needle or toothpick
  • Clear varnish - most clear varnishes from local store will do or nail varnish.
  • Fishing wire/plastic wire or some sort of thread similar width as your needle or toothpick

Step 2: Measuring and cutting the paper for the bead

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This is the part where put your paper down on a flat surface and equip yourself with a pen and a long ruler.
Please refer to the RED triangle in the illustration on the vogue page for these instructions:
Use a normal thin ballpoint pen, not a thick marker!
Mark a 2cm point long from the a top corner at (C), and a 1cm point along from the bottom corner at (B). Take your ruler and draw a line from point A to B and C respectively, and you will have drawn a perfect triangle. Continue this routine, until you end up with a zigzaging block of triangles throughout the page.
Cut your triangles neatly out, and discard the uneven one marked blue in the illustration.

PLEASE NOTE:
Measuring your marks on the paper will determine the shape and size of the bead.
Measuring along at 2cm on a page inside a magazine like Vogue will give you an oval, slim type paper bead like this
If you would like a similar shape of bead but longer or shorter, simply increase or decrease the length to 1.5cm or up to 3.5 or 4cm. Simply half the length of A to C to determine point B.

If you would like a round, fat bead like this
you will have to find paper as thick as a poster or front cover of a magazine, and keep the width of the bead to 1.5 - 2cm ONLY. Alternatively you can attempt to double or triple up your paper strips, but this takes time and skill.

If you would like to leave some text of image on your bead, simply cut off the end of the triangle at the point you wish you keep. But, all these special effects will come to you once you get into it, and start experimenting with different types of paper.

If you would like to make tube type beads, simply replace the triangles with simple rectangular strips, easy!

Step 3: Rolling the Paper Bead

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Take your needle, or toothpick. I recommend needle, as the string or thread you string them on (for varnishing) must be equal in width. Starting at the thickest end of the strip, start rolling it tightly around the needle. Using your nails to catch it in at first, ensuring to keep the paper central. Put a dab of glue at the end and press down on it for a few seconds to hold the bead in place. (liquid paper glue works best).

Step 4: Varnish, leave to dry and finish

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Thread all your beads on plastic wire or string. I recommend a thickish plastic, fishing type thread as the beads will slide off easily once dry. Whatever you chose to use, ensure it does not allow for the varnish to seep in and bock the holes. Once fully strung, start varnishing, we use a brush and give them at least 2 coats of varnish. Leave to dry for 2-3 days, and your beads are ready to use!

Step 5: Make your own jewelry or buy now!

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Use your beads to make some beautiful lightweight pieces of jewelry, or simply skip all this work and take a pick of loose beads and stunning beaded jewelry designs from online shop!!
'''[ http://mzuribeads.bigcartel.com/

Step 6: More Recycled Beads

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We know stock RECYCLED GLASS BEADS, BARKCLOTH BEADS, BANANA LEAF BEADS AND COW HORN BEADS. 

Visit or store for more information

http://www.mzuribeads.com


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Mzuribeads (author) 3 years ago
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nkohlheim1 month ago
i'm on it :)
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BigRed19735 months ago

The colors are gorgeous!! Thanks for sharing.....

squishyjoss9 months ago
Excellent
rhensyl10 months ago
can i use a wood varnish to my paper beads?
excellent
Chloe81 year ago
Very colourful and nice! It usually gets heavy with glass beads but this beads solves a problem!
barbaradel1 year ago
Hi,
I see that people are asking about a tool to make Paper Beads. My partner and I have invented one. It is The Easy Roller Paper Bead Machine. A new and very different way to roll Paper Beads. It makes it so easy. This is the only one out there.
Search Etsy and eBay for The Easy Roller Paper Bead Machine.
see our video here
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoGTYhlwmSw
Thanks so much Barbara and Ray
Nozebra1 year ago
really nice! I always asked myself how these beads are made! Thanks!
Your beads are so beautiful! I really enjoyed this instructable!
lovely
falu2 years ago
hi i liked it a lot but there is one confusion that all the beads turn out to be oval u hav photos of circular also how do u make that
Mzuribeads (author) 4 years ago
oooh we have great colours in this month... check them out...
Mzuribeads (author)  Mzuribeads4 years ago
http://www.mzuribeads.com/
Purple beads.jpgfair trade beading.jpgbeads beading beading.jpgrecycled beads.jpg
love the orange and black ones! How do you get one general color?
I made a bracelet from a newsletter that I get from my financial adviser each month that is printed on blue paper and cut my strips from that and then when the strips were cut I took a silver permanent marker and colored just the pointed end of my strips. When I rolled them up, they were blue with tinges of black and silver in the middle, which makes a nice bracelet that goes good with blue jeans. I also made some beads with the pointed tips done with a red marker so then you can be alternated a silver bead then a red bead on a bracelet.
You can us plain white paper and then use an orange highlighter and a black permenant marker to accent it with. I made a hot pink and black bracelet to go with my black shorts and hot pink top. Perfect match.
Use paper or pictures that are predominantly that color. Whiskas cat food bags make lovely magenta and yellow beads, for example. Advertisements commonly have full page color backgrounds with an image and lettering which makes nice stripes and spots against the main background color. If you find an ad with a combination you really like, scan it and save it as a .jpg and make as many prints of it as you want!
I love making paper beads and jewelry from them...although starting to wish i could find pre-cut and beautiful papers for this craft. if anyone knows a good place that doesn't look like kids paper please let me know...thanks
www.etsy.com/shop/candras
dmccomb dtyler22 years ago
There are some people on etsy who sell pre-cut paper strips - janicemae sells papers that are essentially misprints from Philippine magazine covers and advertisements, and they're so-so in color combinations but very heavyweight paper. Somebody else whose name I can't remember right now sells strips cut from children's picture books, but they're too pricey for my taste. For my money, a regular guillotine cutter can't be beat - though if I can ever find a professional guillotine cutter that can go through an entire magazine at once for a reasonable price, that baby will be mine!

For papers, use magazine pages from fashion, decorating and garden magazines, or try finding pictures online in the colors you want and then printing your own to order. Macro photos of flowers and plants are good, as are landscapes, sunsets, quilt fabric samples, etc. Check out downloadable computer wallpapers for really good color contrasts. I like pictures of graffiti, mosaics, and stained-glass windows as well.
These are amazing beads I am so interested in this type of art I make a few myself. Although I admitt im no amatur, I still enjoy the outlook of each one of the beads I make. I just wish I could learn to make mine as rounded as these. I am still using the classic tooth pick/paper clip method but it works just as well right now..... Do you have and tips you could give.
Thank you,
Soon~to~Be
For the really rounded shapes, you have to have a long strip of paper - longer than you can usually find in magazines. What you can do is cut a strip, starting at 1/2 inch and tapering to a blunt end of 1/4 inch. This will leave long triangular strips between them, starting at 1/4 inch. Attach the two 1/4 inch ends, and you have a much longer strip that gives you a rounder bead. Larger papers like posters or sheets of wrapping paper can give you the length you need.
acajjou2 years ago
It looks like the links on this step are missing. Can you give us a different picture?
yellowninja4 years ago
Hmmm. my mom is selling these from Uganda women to people in the US to help get them out of poverty! Nice to know haw to do this.
There is a stand at Epcot in Walt Disney World Florida that sells them too. The ones at Epcot are actually made from old paper products from the parks and all of the money is sent to the women that make them, too.
There is a stand at Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney World Florida also. I was there in Oct. 2011 and it was the 1st time I ever saw them I bought a necklace and now I make them myself. I love them.
blossom92832 years ago
I found this yesterday and tried to make the beads today. I have to say it is fun for something so simple and te beads come out beautiful. I posted a link to this instructable and my beads I've made so far (minus varnish) on my blog. http://funtimescrapping.blogspot.com/2011/12/paper-beads.html
Mauigerbil2 years ago
Would wrapping paper work for this? Also, soaking tissue paper bits in a glue soluotion and placing them on beads dyes them, in case you just want to use regular white paper.
Yes, wrapping paper works for this - the heavier the better. You can get a lot of coordinated beads from a single roll, if you have a large project in mind.
knic2 years ago
This is the best instructions I have read about making paper beads. Thanks for these! They're awesome! Now I know what to do with the stack of office paper I have on my desk. Will have to paint those though. Thanks a lot :)
desip3 years ago
I wonder if something like modge podge would work as a varnish... it is waterproof....
Mod Podge works fine. I just used it on mine a few hours ago. I had some problems with the beads sticking together, but once it dries, you can easily pop them back apart as long as you don't apply it too thick.
It works great for me. Some things probably work better, but I find it to work better than the plain clear nail polish
jblack93 years ago
This is very interesting. Who would have thought you could make such beautiful and real looking beads from paper? Great ideas for going green :)
gardens443 years ago
beautiful jewelry and woman in the photograph. my beads never turn out that well...but i think i need to paint them
ColleenG3 years ago
How did you get the beads soo round??? what size strips did you use? They're beautiful!
Marker10243 years ago
This is nice I've seen these before but never an instructable! Also whoever took those pictures did a great job.
Hi :)
Just wanted to say a great tutorial and beautiful beads. But I do have a question.
To speed up my little production I have going (cause it's so much fun, I can't stop! :P), I thought stringing them like you do would help a lot cause I can varnish larger batches at once. But my question is, do yours ever get stuck together? I use a spray acrylic, so they don't get totally drenched, but it still seems like the ends would dry together where they touch?
I have found that the way around this problem is to give your strings a good shake several times while they dry. Also, narrow-ended beads stick less than wide-ended beads. If you are still having trouble, buy some glass beads at the dollar store and alternate them with the paper beads on the string. You can reuse the glass beads for a long time.
zyx456 0jack3 years ago
I do mine on individual toothpicks
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