Introduction: DIY Gift Paper-Bead Bracelet
This is something I threw together at the last minute because I wanted another gift for my daughter, but it turned out to be one of my favorites. The final product looked very professional.
And I mean, what self-respecting artsy-crafty person doesn’t always have just tons of paper and glue lying around, right? Also, I had been looking for things to make out of old books. I had purchased a cartful of books at a large Goodwill store that sells them by the pound for a different project that has since been deconstructed. My daughter loves to read, so I thought a bracelet made from book pages would be perfect.
Many of the paper beads I see are made of rolled triangles, so that they are thicker in the middle and taper off on both sides. I experimented with those but decided I liked a proper cylindrical shape better. The words can be read on the finished bead this way. So I cut strips from the book pages about 4 to 6 inches long and varying widths, from about ¼ inch up to an inch or so.
I rolled the strips around toothpicks, which worked great. You’ll want to think about what you’ll be stringing your beads on and make sure the center is large enough for string to pass through the bead. I started out putting glue on the whole strip and then rolling, but that was pretty messy and it didn’t allow me to reposition the way I had rolled if it went crooked. It worked better to roll the bead and then glue just the last bit. I think (and have read) that a glue stick would work well, but mine were dried out, so I used school glue and a small paintbrush.
I also experimented with cutting the strips in different directions. Doing this, you can make the words read across the bead or around the bead. I tried to cut and roll some of the strips so that certain words were visible.
After your beads are all rolled and the glue is dry, coat them with clear nail polish. Yes, some type of sealer would work, but I really liked the shine of the nail polish. I think that’s a big part of what made the bracelet look professional. Shimmery, pearly, or glittery polishes would make an interesting bracelet, especially if you used colored paper or magazine strips instead of book pages. Place the bead on a toothpick to coat with polish and stick the toothpick in some clay or Styrofoam. Don’t be too generous with the polish or the beads might get stuck to the toothpicks.
Once the polish is dry, you’re ready to construct the bracelet. I used some braiding cord that I had and alternated my paper beads with some round black beads. I attached a toggle clasp, salvaged from an old bracelet. I used one of the longer paper beads next to each end of the clasp and hid the loose end of the cord inside the bead. (Sneaky, I know.)
And here it is! It’s one of a kind, my daughter loves it, and it only took a couple of hours, including the time I spent experimenting with the size and shape of the strips. I will definitely be making more of these.