Wavy Cut Paper Bead How-To

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Introduction: Wavy Cut Paper Bead How-To

I love making paper beads for use on my art dolls and for jewelry. I found that zig zag blade on my paper cutter makes beads that look wonderful. The colorful ones are like diminutive mosaics, while the monochrome make me think of snakeskin.
Using glue stick gives a soft, squishy bead, but using a combination of archival paste and glue stick just for the tips gives a solid bead reminiscent of paper mache.
It's addictive - and a fantastic way of using all those junk mail catalogs.

Step 1: Cut Your

Choose a page where the images and color reach the edge of the pages, unless of course you want white beads.
Cut wedges shapes alternating the widest point between the top of the page and the bottom of your sheet. You can cut lengthwise or widthwise - lengthwise gives a slightly fatter bead. I usually make the widest part 1-1.5 inches.

Step 2: Colorful Pieces

Step 3: Rolling

Start to roll from the widest end. Some people have success using a round toothpick, but I don't bother with that. I need a hole wide enough to accommodate yarn most of the time, and I have found no trouble making beads with a very small wire sized hole just by hand.

Step 4: Archival Paste

I like a small flat stiff bristled brush since the paste glue is..well, paste.

Step 5: Glue the Strip

I leave a tail of between 6 and 8 inches and paint on the glue thinly.

Step 6: Gluestick the Tail

I use glue stick, which is tackier than wet paste, on the last 2 inches of the tail. This prevents the tip from lifting as the paste dries slowly.

Step 7: Continue to Roll

Finish rolling the bead.

Step 8: Seal the Glue

I find that running the completed bead back and forth between my palms and fingers really seals the edges and begins the drying process. My hands get mucky, but that is easily solved with a wet wipe or nearby moist facecloth kept nearby. Also watch out for you glue brush drying out and hardening. I stick mine in water between beads.

Step 9: Here They Are.

Step 10:

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    59 Comments

    Oh, my goodness! The wavy edge really elevates your beads several levels!

    1 reply

    Thank you. I agree, and it takes no longer to cut with some kind of wavy edge blade or pinkers than with regular blades.

    Can't wait to make these - they look so beautiful. Thank you for such clear and appealing instructions.

    wow.this is a darling idea.its like wavey lace.on a pretty dress.thanks for sharing your great fun idea. you have inspired me very much.love always donise feb 13,2015

    I had really good luck using mod podge. It is slightly water resistant so soaking it would destroy it but it won't get messed up if water splashes on it when washing your hands.

    So clever and cool!


    Thanks for the wavy cut idea. I've been using just a little school glue (like Elmer's) once I get the rolling started. I usually don't use anything to roll them on because I find it easier to tighten the paper when I can hold the bead between my finger and thumb. After I get a bunch of beads made I stick a toothpick through one end and then into a piece of styrofoam to hold them while I give them a swipe of Modge Podge using a brush. Someone had given me the matte finish, so that's what I've used, but there is also a glossy. The beads harden nicely after they dry, but I still plan to use an acrylic as a last coat to give a little more protection. Someone gave me a couple packages of scrapbooking paper and it makes great beads - nice weight. Also, since many of the packages have a theme or color scheme, it's a good way to make beads that mix and match.
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    Thank you for these instructions. This will be my very first time doing anything like this...it looks fun!!!!

    1 reply

    It is fun. Good luck with them.

    They look great, I will try the wave cutter tonight. I made paperbeads last week with shiny wallpaper, they looked like shells. I used a gluestick only for the end part and painted them with transparant nail varnish, to protect them. In the end the beads didn't look like paper at all. On top of that I started with silverwire, then around the beads and a loop at the end. Is worth trying.

    1 reply

    I recently found a necklace my sister in law made for me back in the late 70's. I was so happy to find it, made from rolled paper beads! Oddly enough, I stumbled on to your instructable just a week later! Guess what I'm doing this weekend! =) Thanks, they are so pretty!

    I don't wrap them around anything, just themselves, but I have heard of other people using toothpicks, skewers, even knitting needles, so I guess wire would work fine. I guess if your end use demanded high consistency wrapping around something would be important. It's more than I need to worry about. As for whether wrapping around something makes it faster, we'll have to take input on that. Lately I've been upping the quality of my paper beads by wrapping around their widest middle with varieagated craft threads, and even beading onto the threads. Also I've been winding jewelry/craft wire around some, also with seed beads threaded on to the wire to make fancy beads. Pics on my blog

    I keep a small amount of cornstarch in a bowl and just get rid of the stickiness temporarily so I am not dealing with damp or sticky hands. Save the clean-up for later, once I am done for this creative session. Works great.

    Is yes glue the same as modge podge?
    Very nice instructable!

    1 reply

    No, although both work. Actually since following a suggestion here, I've been using modge podge on my beads and it works just fine - although it does need  sealing.
    Yes Paste is an archival glue paste for paper and other materials. It's a lot thicker than modge podge, which is an acrylic medium.

    They look so pretty, filling up a basket. =D

    Hola: Me encanto la idea Tengo un monton de catalogos y revistas las voy a
    aprovechar. Muchas gracias.
    Besos.

    Is that Yes paste? I love that stuff! It smells so good!