I have wanted to try my hand at making paper beads for a very long time. I have seen them made from paint samples, newspaper, junk mail, and more. I decided that not only was I going to make my own beads, I was also going to make my own paper. No, not “go strain pulp through a screen” paper—this is the colorful scrap paper I have left over from art journaling. I have so many beautiful pieces of this kind of paper that it was high time I showed them off.
A wise friend once told me that the “dropcloth” paper she uses underneath her actual art is almost always her favorite at the end of the day. I have found this to be true time and time again. I always keep a piece of paper nearby to catch overspray, wipe my brush on, or blot stencils. These random pages are colorful, beautiful—and begging to be made into beads.
Although plenty of patterns exist online for cutting shapes to make certain types of beads, measuring and I do not get along. Plus, it seemed like the designs on the paper were born so organically that the bead shapes should be the same way. The general shape you need is a tall, skinny triangle. I eyeballed mine with a craft knife.
Once you have several triangles, it is time to make beads. Roll your triangles onto a skewer or small dowel starting with the widest end. Add a dab of glue at the end to hold in place.
Next, coat your paper bead with some sort of top coat to protect it. I used Mod Podge. Allow your beads to dry completely.
What you make with your beads is completely up to you. I combined mine with these wooden beads with graphic black dots and a chain to make an extra-long necklace.
I love the way each bead is slightly different in color, shape and pattern. No two beads are alike, just like no two pages in my art journal are alike, and that is the best thing about them.
What are you going to make your beads from? I’m thinking about a Mother’s Day charm bracelet from all my kids’ art pages next.
This post originally appeared on BlogHer.
Looking for more paper bead ideas? Flip through the pages of my book Naughty Secretary Club: The Working Girls Guide to Handmade Jewelry. Paper necklaces, earrings, bracelets and paperclip beads!