I won't go into detail here on how to make paper beads as there is an excellent instructable called "How to make paper beads" - www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Make-Paper-Beads/
- which is where I learned how to make them.
I recommend making beads that are about 3.5cm long (1.5 inches) to allow enough space for the 'flowers' to take shape. The quantity will depend on how long you wish your lei to be. I've used 25 beads in this example.
No need to give these guys a varnish coat at the end as they won't be exposed to water.