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Due to the Corona virus, the Surface Design workshop has been postponed until this summer. The new date for it will be announced when the Art House re-opens.


I'll be teaching this one-day workshop on March 14, 2020 at the Art House! Learn to design your own unique papers and other materials for collage, card making, scrap booking, journal making etc. I supply all the materials. All you need to bring is a sack lunch and a beverage. Hours are 10-4; fee is $90 per person. Register online at or call 678-543-5777. Act now! Seating is limited!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Making an Asian Style Paper Bead

Recently I gave myself a challenge: find ways to make unusual paper beads. Emphasis on unusual. This is how my mind works. Take a good idea and try to make it better. In this case I was after bead designs that were out of the ordinary.

After playing around with various concepts, I came up with some beads that don't look much like standard paper beads, which are often rolled from magazine photos or calendar images cut into elongated triangles. Not that there's anything wrong with beads made that way. Heck, one of my very favorite necklaces is constructed with beads made from a photo from an art magazine. I wear it proudly and often. It never fails to elicit oohs and aahs.

But I wanted to come up with beads whose construction and visual appearance were altogether different from the much-loved rolled paper style. Here's the first of my many experiments:

About 3/4 " in length, this Asian themed bead features tiny calligraphic symbols and floral Origami paper.

Asian Style Beads

This bead was the first design I came up with. A vintage "found" Japanese engineering manual whose pages were filled with tiny calligraphic symbols inspired the Asian motif. Floral-themed Origami paper in red, green and gold made the perfect compliment.

Here's how I made it:

1. First I made a rolled paper cylinder out of black acid free card stock to serve as the base.

2. Next I cut a strip of paper from the engineering manual. The calligraphy symbols had been printed in vertical, columnar format. I was careful to cut so all of the calligraphy remained intact.

3. After determining the length of the calligraphy strip needed to go around the base, I marked the dimensions in pencil and cut two out.

 4. Using Weldbond glue, I glued on the calligraphy paper over the black base, placing the calligraphy paper flush with the ends. (Using ModPodge as the glue would have been ok, too.)

5. I then measured and cut a length of Origami paper and glued it between the calligraphy papers. I left just a tiny bit of the black base showing in between the paper strips for interest.

6. After the glue was completely dry, I encased my Asian themed bead in gloss finish ModPodge, then applied acrylic gloss varnish.

I really liked the way this design turned out so I made up several more beads to use them in a necklace. At a local arts and crafts store I found a set of red and black round glass beads that look great with the paper beads. Their shape reminds me of Japanese paper lanterns. Together they'll make a beautiful pairing that will look stunning worn with a black, red or ivory color sweater or top.

These paper beads are considerably more time consuming to make but I think the effort is worth it.

I'll be using this design concept in future projects because it lends itself to endless variations. In my next post, though, I'll be featuring a second bead design that's sure to get your creative energy going as it inspires you to pick up your pen or brush. Intrigued? Watch for it here on the blog next week.

Text and image ©2014 Lynn Edwards

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