Friday, January 27, 2012

Making Paper Beads

Rose brought home some beautiful jewlery from Africa last fall.
Some of the colorfully beaded necklaces were made from paper.
Inspired, she got on Utube and found a how to video so that she could make her own paper beads,
just like the ones she saw African women make.  
It may have turned into an obsession.  She is certainly motivated. 
Rose can now manufacture 40 beads per hour.  Around 80 beads are needed for each necklace.

First, we weeded out some old magazines, and she cut them up into long rectangles, 
from 1 cm on the wide end, going all the way down an 8x10 sheet, 
to 1 inch on the wide end.
The wider the paper, the longer the bead.

Then, she rolls the paper onto a toothpick, starting with the wide end, 
and making sure the paper stays centered, and tight. 
At the end of the triangle, a little glue is needed to stick the end down.

Rose stabs her toothpicks through a cardboard box while the bead dries.

Once the beads are dried, Rose paints them with a craft varnish. 
Clear fingernail polish works really well too.  
Once painted, they are stuck back into the cardboard to dry, then they are done.

For stringing the beads, Rose uses a craft filament, placing eye beads in between the paper beads, 
and securing the necklace with a clasp hold.  
We have found that our children under 8 years old are not really able to make the beads,
and that 1 year olds LOVE ripping up magazine paper.

Thicker paper produces fatter beads. 
The African's paper of choice is cat food bags.
Really, any paper will do.


  1. BEAUTIFUL! My daughter is also making these, out of scrapbooking paper. She's just learning...for an art activity for school. Very fun project and so beautiful.

  2. They are lovely!

    Thanks for the tutorial...


  3. This is great! Thank you Rose for sharing.

  4. Thank you! My girls can't wait to try this. (And I still need to get out for that walk!)


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