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

Picture of 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.
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suayres3 years ago
Oh, my goodness! The wavy edge really elevates your beads several levels!
dezignarob (author)  suayres3 years ago
Thank you. I agree, and it takes no longer to cut with some kind of wavy edge blade or pinkers than with regular blades.
doniseg6 months ago

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

quantumpink3 years ago
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.
maikaew3 years ago
So clever and cool!
Time4Me3 years ago

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.
mbranwen4 years ago
Thank you for these instructions. This will be my very first time doing anything like this...it looks fun!!!!
dezignarob (author)  mbranwen4 years ago
It is fun. Good luck with them.
MJMATHOT4 years ago
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.
dezignarob (author)  MJMATHOT4 years ago
Sounds very pretty.
kplaisance4 years ago
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!
You use a wire to wrap it around?
dezignarob (author)  crazyaboutbeads4 years ago
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
Robin E4 years ago
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!
dezignarob (author)  craftyrn19595 years ago
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
cocoisa5 years ago
Hola: Me encanto la idea Tengo un monton de catalogos y revistas las voy a
aprovechar. Muchas gracias.
imaluma6 years ago
Is that Yes paste? I love that stuff! It smells so good!

kcls5 years ago
One of the other paper bead 'ible's say to spray glossy varnish on them once the glue dries, to hold them together better. do you recommend this?
dezignarob (author)  kcls5 years ago
I would recommend some kind of sealer for several reasons. It prevents mod podge (if used) from becoming sticky; it retains the colors in the paper which I have noticed will fade otherwise or sometimes smudge; it makes the beads more solid.

I have been painting on Future Floor Wax, an inexpensive acrylic sealer. But I see no reason why a spray varnish wouldn't work just as well if you turn the beads to spray all over. Worth trying if you can afford the spray.
mahonia5 years ago
Thank you for the simplicity, that is usually a bit more comprehensive.
Sshebba6 years ago
Very beautiful beads! What is "Archival Paste/Glue" and what type of store do you purchase it from? I've never heard of it before.
buy it at micheals
dezignarob (author)  Sshebba6 years ago
I use a brand called "Yes". It is available at art supply stores (like Graphaids), including online, and at scrapbooking stores. It might be at your local craft store depending on how comprehensive the art supply section is, and at your local Aaron Brothers frame store. It is the paste glue that makes the beads very solid and hard. That might be excess to your needs, and a glue stick would be sufficient. Archival paste is cool because it is acid free so helps to preserve the paper, and it reduces wrinkling. A little goes a very long way, so even though it seems to be expensive by the pot, it becomes very economical by the project.
I love making these :) I hadn't thought about making them wavy, thanks!
For mine, I just mod podge as my paste. Once rolled up, I put a coat of it on the ouside of the bead. Then, once that dries, spray with clear acrylic. Makes them durable and the acrylic makes it waterproof :)
dezignarob (author)  MaryOfExeter5 years ago

The acrylic sealer is important with mod podge to make sure the bead doesn't get tacky and stick to other paper surfaces. My question is how solid are the beads made with mod podge. I mean do they flatten easily (as glue stick beads will) or not? I'm liking the idea of using mod podge as it is probably less expensive than Yes paste.
Check my blog next week, after Thanksgiving in the US, for some pictures of some very fancy paper beads I made for a round robin doll, with varigated embroidery thread and glass bead embellishments.

There is also 'outdoor' Mod Podge. It seals from moisture. We just started  this project in our after-school programs. Silly teens are too busy flirting though. Hopefully we'll get enough done to make some cool necklaces. Thanks.
Mine seemed to hold up pretty good with the mod podge. I put some pressure on them and they wouldn't budge.

I'll be sure to check out those pictures once Thanksgiving is over with. Sounds neat!
WOW! you're very good at these, i have a younger sister who's only 10and I would like make these with her. Do you think she could handle it?
dezignarob (author)  rjscheergirl5 years ago
That depends on your sister. My 9yo daughter will sometimes make thesewith me. She has the fine motor dexterity to be able to roll small beadseasily. But after a while she gets bored. She doesn't seem to enjoy therepetitive meditative quality to the task as much as I do.

If tiny rolling isn't her thing, perhaps your sister would enjoy cuttingthe strips for you. You could make a big batch of strips for later rolling.

My dd likes running her hands through a bowl of them, and also makesearrings. I think she would like to make jewelry from the beads. Perhapsyour sister would prefer that part of it.
jumpertoad5 years ago
i cant seem to cut correctly
dezignarob (author)  jumpertoad5 years ago
I'm not sure what you mean by "correctly".

However it might be that your blade is not sharp enough?

I use a sliding cutter, the kind that is sold for scrapbooking work, with interchangeable blades. Once the blade gets a bit blunt, the whole thing is much harder.

It's not an exact science!
ANTQNUT6 years ago
Holy smokes! u made ALOT of beads! great instructable!
dezignarob (author) 7 years ago
Well I said I would come back when I had done some experiments on sealing my beads. I am pretty happy with my first idea - the wonderful and economical Future Floor Wax. This is a clear, fast drying acrylic substance available from Ace Hardware and some regular supermarkets in the floor cleaning aisle. Probably lives at other home stores too. I tried painting Future onto the beads with ordinary artist's paint brushes and setting them on upright toothpicks stuck into a piece of styrofoam to dry. Worked fine. A little time consuming, but as I said very econmomical otherwise. The Future applied thinly like this gives a light sheen rather than a high gloss. More as it happens.... If you try dipping into something like this, I'd love to hear how they turn out.
I was thinking of using some kind of paper glaze to seal the beads, but Future Floor Wax sound interesting. Does it have an odor?
dezignarob (author)  container_gardener6 years ago
Sorry to take so long to reply, I only just realized that you had asked a question. The odor is vanishingly slight to my nose, and disappears anywhere with drying. Much less than acrylic spray sealers for example.
No problem...I forgot that I even asked the question!
mcshawnboy6 years ago
On DIY Network's "Jewelry Making" with Jackie Guerra she showed a bracelet made of outdated coupons.
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