How to Make Paper Beads, Part II

Now that you have a plethora of long, skinny triangles, it’s time to make your beads. For the next step, you’ll need:

1.  A lot of wooden toothpicks or skewers. They have to be ROUND, not squarish. These will be used as spindles. You’ll wrap your paper beads around the toothpicks to shape them.

2. A block of Styrofoam. As you finish your beads, you will stick the toothpicks into the Styrofoam so that they can rest and cure.

3. Glue. I like Aileen’s Tacky Glue. Whatever you choose should dry clear, dry fast, and grip quickly. I’ve tried glue sticks, but they are too mess. I like to use a coffee stirrer or a toothpick to dip into my glue and use as an applicator.

4. Sealer. Some people use clear nail polish. I prefer Diamond Glaze. I like to apply it with a brush.

Next, I’m going to show you my super-secret, super-duper, extra-special technique tip for making beads. You won’t read this anywhere else.

1. Put the large end of the triangle in your mouth and get it moist. Not wet! This will cause your paper to lightly grip the toothpick.
2. Wrap the triangle around the toothpick. Remember: The big end starts on the toothpick. Try to keep your triangle centered as you wrap it. If it gets off centered nudge it with your fingernail.
3. Dab a bit of glue to the tippy end of the triangle and smoosh it down to glue it to the bulk of the triangle that is now rolled onto your toothpick. You should have a slightly ovoid shape, bigger in the middle and tapered on each end.

4. Stab your toothpick into your Styrofoam block. Admire your garden of beads. Paint the beads with the Diamond Glaze and let them dry. You might want to do two thin coats.
Now we let them dry!

How to Make Paper Beads

Sure, you could recycle those old magazines, but some of the colors are too pretty to waste. Why not turn the pages into paper beads? Here’s how–

1. Start by carefully choosing your paper. Remember, you’ll be wrapping strips of paper, winding them on top of each other, to get a bead, so not all the original image will show. It’s a bit tricky. I suggest you start with a solid color, or nearly solid, like the paper on the right. Also notice that I chose a two-page spread from a magazine. That’ll give me a lot of paper to work with.

2. Use a sticky note to mark a cutting guide on your Fiskars Personal Paper Trimmer. See, you COULD use a pen and mark triangles on your paper, but why? Instead, look at the lines on your trimmer. Lay down a sticky note exactly along the half inch mark. You’ll see why in a minute.

3. Line up the BOTTOM of your “bead paper” with the sticky note. Now…instead of having the paper go straight up and down so that you make a narrow rectangle an inch wide, tilt the top of the paper. See below…

Note that the bottom of the paper is at the sticky mark, which means your cut will be a half an inch wide at the BOTTOM. But the TOP of the paper is right at the cutting line. The bead paper is slightly tilted, see? It’s wider at the bottom and narrowed to a point at the top! In other words, when you cut it, you’ll have a long, skinny triangle! But here’s a big tip: Start the cutting blade at the wide end of the triangle, not the skinny tip. Otherwise the paper will bunch up.


4. Here’s the finished paper. We need lots of these to make our beads.

5. Note: Now your original piece of bead paper has a narrow triangle cut from one side, so flip the whole shooting match over, wrong side up, and repeat the process.