the paper bead tutorial! LOTS O' PHOTOS!!!
|ok, so i have had so many comments and emails about this, i decided to get my act together and do a tutorial. this post was the original one that got the ball rolling, and has loads of pictures, and some other basic tutorials. so check that out.|
PAPER BEADS...WHY? this is why i love this project so much...i am cheap. i look at most things and think, "i could make that better and for way less money. and i could add this or try this or do this..." so, as you all know, i am really into crocheting with wire and beads and i realized that beads are really really expensive. nice ones, anyway. and while i may be cheap, i hate cheapo stuff. i saw some paper beads on etsy a while ago. i don't remember who made them, but they were just paper and glue not sealed or anything. i researched how to make them online, and had seen the idea before. the victorian women would make paper beads out of wallpaper scraps and then would string them to make curtains to separate rooms. it is odd that such uptight people were so very crafty. they did loads of neat stuff. anyway, at this point, i realized that you can use any kind of paper, i think that thinner paper is easier to work with, like origami papers or pages from books, but you can use whatever you like.
you can even take plain paper and stamp them or draw on them or paint or whatever you want. papers with really small details work well because you can see it in the beads, but in a lot of cases, it looks like a pattern...for example, these beads: the one on the left is origami paper, the one on the right is floral patterned thin paper, japanese i think. the more coats of glue, varnish, UTEE or whatever coating on them, the more glassy and glossy they look. if you aren't using them in a context that they may get wet, you could just leave them dry. totally up to you. i am a nerd for shiny. a crow. i think i am a crow. ok. so. paper. any kind you like.
WHAT NOW? cut the paper into strips. in some of the other tutorials, you can see different shapes to cut them into to make different shaped beads. i use a triangular strip, long and skinny, but you can make it shorter, experiment. i have a rotary paper cutter and that is the easiest way, i think, of cutting the paper. i initially used a heavy duty utility knife and the cutting matte and ruler, but scissors or whatever will work just fine. you could probably even use quilling strips. try to make the cuts as smooth as possible. for a different look, tear the paper and roll it lengthwise for a long skinny bead.
GET YOUR GLUE ON: the directions i found use white glue or decoupage glue...i think it just makes a total mess. i used a UHU glue stick, and later a UHU glue pen because it has a narrow tip, and it worked great. use a good bit so it is sticky enough to stay rolled up. you could use a toothpick with paste or glue, also.
i rolled my beads onto a piece of wire, as you can see from the pic. you want to roll from the wide side, as tightly as you can, ending with the teeny skinny side and make sure that that end is glued down well. i put about a dozen beads per foot long piece of wire. they will come off pretty easily. i tried using wooden skewers coated in vaseline, but the beads stuck to that. no good. so that is it. you could leave them at that point as is,this is what they look like unsealed... or seal them with mod podge, as many coats as you want. or you could paint the beads, add sparkle or ink or whatever you like. at that point, i antique some of my beads, jacquard has really great sparkly pigments that can be put right onto the bead, or, in my favorite way, added to UTEE which is thick embossing powder and then the bead can be rolled in it and heated or heat the utee in a pot and dip your beads in. the more coats of this you put on, the thicker. this stuff is amazing. use different finishes to make the beads look like metal, gems, or pearls, even...these are a bit lumpy and bumpy, but you get the idea. head over to my flickr bead set to see some of the other ones, and new things will be added all the time.
once you are done, you can sand the edges a bit, or sand the whole thing for another look altogether. the options are endless. make small beads that are more plain, or big ones to use as pendents, and make them into any shape. if you wanted to just layer them, you can cut out a form and go from there, or decoupage over something and drill a hole later. so many options! oooh, and photos! you can make a photo bead or pendant. i am going to!
don't be afraid to try different things. this is inexpensive and fun. anyone can do it, and it is a great project for little kids. for those of us that save every little scrap, this is perfect. i am planning to try yarn and fabric, but keep an open mind and have no fear!
a couple of tips: use either a non-stick cookie sheet or some waxed paper so you don't get glue and paper and gunk all over your table or whatever you are using. also, if you use the utee, it can burn you, so be careful with it. baby wipes are a great thing to have handy so you can get the glue and smutz off of your fingers in between beads, as well as cooling off your fingers if your drip hot stuff. roll a really long bead and after it is dry, cut it into several smaller beads with a utility knife.
make sure to let me know what you make so i can check them out. i think a flickr paper bead group might be in order, eh?
go crazy with it!
***edit...i used the melting pot today and burned the hell out of myself, so please be careful if you choose to use this method, as opposed to a paint on sealant or mod podge. i am going to do some with the mod podge and will post finished pics. and more bead pics coming soon!