Monday, October 27, 2008

Cheap Thrill: Paper Beads

I hate being called crafty; it makes me feel like I'm destined to be a crazy cat lady who crochets tea cosies instead of interacting with other humans. But, on occasion I have been known to make a thing or two by hand, and I think a little DIY chutzpah is an essential weapon in any fashionista's arsenal.

One of my prized handmade possessions is my paper bead necklace pictured above. I made it years ago for a college art course that asked me to construct a wearable book, and it was delightfully simple. You can make your beads of any old standard weight paper: magazine tear outs, photos, old texts, or your $.20 copy of Carter Brown's The Sad Eyed Seductress as I did.

There is a great photo stream on Flickr by sgjennin showing all of the supplies needed to make recycled paper beads:
You'll need your paper selection, a ruler, a sharpie, scissors, an old school bottle of Elmer's, and toothpicks. Start by dividing your paper into oblong triangles. The widest part of the triangle will be the width of your final beads, so use your ruler to measure out your desired dimensions and your sharpie to mark the triangles, then cut the triangles from your paper source.

Once you have your triangles, coat the "wrong side" with glue and begin rolling them around a toothpick, starting at the wide end first. When the bead is fully wrapped around the toothpick, let it sit for a few minutes just to let the glue set a bit. Then, slide the bead off of the toothpick and start rolling your next one.

Repeat the above steps until you have enough beads to string your necklace, and then set the beads aside to dry. Once they have fully dried, you can string them and either add a clasp or knot closure to secure. The final step is to wear your handmade necklace proud as a peacock and sleep well at night knowing that you not only saved a few bucks and recycled some paper, but you also made something with your two little hands.

The fun thing about recycled paper beads is that the paper you use can change their whole look. I love that you can sort of still read my beads, but the pictures below from Flickr user and Etsy star Jesssprkle show that you can choose color over content to gorgeous effect.

Make these and I'll call you resourceful, not crafty. Send me pics if you take on the project; I'd love to see what you come up with.


La Cindy said...

Love, love, LOVE this necklace.

Anna Yanofsky said...

Thanks Cindy...

Christiana said...

Dude this is a perfect rainy day project. Thanks for the idea!