Introduction: Layered Paper Jewelry

"You are what you wear."

This old saying is not true; real beauty lies within. However, fashion plays an undeniable role in today's society. It has almost become an art in the way people use it to express themselves.

If you are a creative person or a DIYer or someone who loves art and craft, this paper jewelry will truly show your personality. Crafted from a hundred layers of paper, these pieces of jewelry are art in of themselves. They are fully customizable; I preserved several pages from an old book in one pendant.

This jewelry crosses the lines between fashion, craft, and art. It converts paper to pendants, bangles, beads, and earrings. It converts flat paper to a three dimensional piece that holds the beauty of carefully cut agate gems.

Step 1: Materials


  • Paper cutter OR scissors and ruler
  • Paint brush
  • Dremel rotary tool with sandpaper bit OR electric sander OR sand paper


  • Craft glue
  • Polyurethane
  • Colored cardstock paper
  • Any other paper you want (optional)*
  • A shallow bowl or plate to put glue and polyurethane in (optional)

*A note on paper: For this project, any paper will work. I just used cardstock paper for most of it because it gives vibrant colors and bulk to the jewelry. If you want, you can use crêpe paper-- you'll just have to glue a thousand layers together one by one...

Step 2: Paper Cuts

What you'll need for this step:

  • Cardstock paper
  • Any other paper
  • Paper cutter OR scissors and ruler

Paper cuts are annoying. And they hurt. However, making these paper cuts is a painless process. It's simple: first, cut a sheet of paper into 2 inch strips. Then, cut those strips into 2 inch segments, so you end up with a bunch of 2 inch by 2 inch squares. Now just repeat with the rest of the paper.

These squares were the perfect size for the jewelry I was making, but if you want jewelry that's larger or smaller, simply adjust your measurements. Just make sure the pieces you cut out are all the same size.

Step 3: Glue, Paper, Glue, Paper, Glue, Paper...

What you'll need for this step:

  • The paper you cut in the last step
  • Glue
  • Paint brush

To be honest, this step is pretty much explained in the title. Take a square of paper, brush glue on it, and put another square on top. Make sure to completely cover each one with glue-- you can always wipe off any excess later. Also press each square down to squeeze out any air bubbles or wrinkles.

Now simply repeat with 100 more sheets of paper (or until reaching the desired thickness of your jewelry).

Tedious? Yes.

Worth it? Definitely.

Step 4: Peeling Back the Layers

What you'll need for this step:

  • Block of glued-together paper
  • Dremel rotary tool with sandpaper bit OR sandpaper

At this point, you have nothing to show for your work but a block of glued-together paper. Great.

In this step, we'll start peeling back some layers of that block to reveal its inner beauty. Attach a sanding bit to your dremel and begin sanding along the edges and corners of the paper block. Shave down the sides until you have a smooth outline of your jewelry shape. I opted for an oval egg shape.

Now that you have the outline, sand at an angle along the edges, essentially beveling it and rounding out the edges. Colors will begin to emerge on the surface, naturally forming smooth, beautiful lines. By altering the angle at which you're sanding, you can change the form of the lines that form; sanding at a steep angle will result in narrow lines close together, while sanding at a shallow angle will result in wider lines that are farther apart. Take your time on this step-- go too fast and suddenly twenty layers of paper will be gone. Remove layers slowly to reveal new sweeping colors. It's kind of like coloring with markers but in reverse; instead of applying color to paper, you're removing paper to reveal color.

Once you're done shaping the piece, switch out your sanding bit on your dremel to a drill bit. Drill a hole through the jewelry wherever you plan to attach the string/clip/etc..

Step 5: Finish

What you'll need for this step:

  • Your piece of paper jewelry
  • Polyurethane

Your piece of jewelry is still in its natural, raw beauty. Now we'll add some makeup on it to enhance its colors. Plus, this makeup will protect it from the elements by waterproofing it and adding a thin layer of protection against day-to-day wear. This miracle makeup: polyurethane. You can tell by the name alone this is not something you want to put on your face.

Anyway, we'll put a thin layer of this varnish over the jewelry. You can just spray it on, but it won’t be very precise or controlled (and you'll waste a lot of polyurethane). If you still have that shallow plate you had glue in from step 2, just clean it out and very slowly spray the polyurethane into it until you have a shallow layer on the bottom.

Next, use your paint brush and lightly coat one side of your piece of jewelry with the polyurethane. Let it dry, then flip it over and coat the other side. Once this is dry too, repeat this step again to put another layer on. These two layers are enough, but I like to add up to five layers, since it makes the colors glossier and protects it more.

And.... you're done!

Step 6: Admire

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