Make your own paper bead jewellery

Most of us have a little stash of leftover decorative papers from projects and parties. But before you put your scraps in the recycling bin, take a look at what you can do with them. These colourful beads can be made from any paper – junk mail, magazine pages, used giftwrap or leftover stationery papers – and they’re so easy, you and the kids can whip them up by the dozen.

Paper beads

Gather your supplies
Paper; ruler and pencil; scissors; wooden skewers; glue stick; disposable plates or plastic container; gloss spray varnish; leather cord, for stringing; necklace findings (2 silver leather clamps, 2 jump rings and a clasp per necklace); needle-nose pliers

Note: For a triple-string necklace, make sufficient beads for 3 strands of beads. Each strand can be a similar length or you can make different lengths.

Here’s how
Step 1 Use Bead templates to choose the shape of your paper strips. Vary the width according to desired bead size (2-4cm), the length is determined by the thickness of your paper. For thin magazine pages, a strip 2cm wide across the bottom and 20cm long is ideal; for thick paper, about 15cm long. Rule strips on the back of your paper and cut them out.

Step 2 When you have cut a number of strips, you can start to roll your beads. Begin by rolling the thick edge firmly around a skewer. Then run the glue stick along the remainder of the triangle and continue wrapping the paper around the skewer until you reach the end. Make sure the paper is wrapped tightly on itself and the end is glued down really well.

Step 3 Continue to roll beads this way until you have covered most of the skewer. Then rest skewer ends on the edges of a plastic plate or container with beads not touching plastic to allow glue to dry. Repeat.

Step 4 Spray an even coat of gloss varnish over the beads. Rotate the skewers so the beads are evenly covered.

Step 5 When beads are completely dry, slip them from skewer and string together as desired on 3 leather cords. Using pliers and a leather clamp, join the 3 strands together at one end; repeat for other end. Attach jump rings to each clamp and a clasp to one of the jump rings. If you prefer, you can knot the strand ends together instead of attaching necklace findings.