Saturday, March 22, 2014

Super Fast and Easy Paper Beads

Here's a way to make embellished paper beads very quickly without going to the trouble of getting out your paints and brushes: use paper that's already printed and dress it up with some fast, simple techniques..

Text weight scrapbook papers are good candidates for this method, as are non-glossy old book pages, magazine photos, even junk mail brochures. With this method you can create many different beads in a short period of time.

Start by making a cylindrical base bead. (See my post on 3/19/14 for instructions.)

Next, embellish a piece of scrapbook paper or other paper that has been printed with designs, images or text. Two speedy ways for adding embellishment to printed papers are:

1. You can use a stamp and permanent ink in the color(s) of your choice

2. You can use permanent markers such as Sharpie permanent markers in different colors.


Here's where the fun begins. Printed materials take on a whole different look when lines, patterns, geometric shapes, etc. are superimposed over them. A page of plain text, such as a page from an old textbook, turns into a fine candidate for bead making when you stamp a small floral pattern over it in a contrasting ink color.

A piece of scrapbook paper with a floral design, say, becomes more intriguing when you use a text stamp to superimpose a "handwritten letter" in cursive writing over it. (Picture scrapbook paper printed with pink and yellow roses overstamped with flowing "handwriting" in crisp black ink. Much more interesting than roses alone.)

Trim the embellished paper to fit the base bead then glue, seal and varnish to complete it.

A few tips on stamping:

Whatever design you choose to overstamp with, make sure it's small in scale. Large patterns or designs don't work well for beads.

Use only permanent inks. Let them dry thoroughly before attempting to glue the stamped paper onto the base bead.

Using permanent markers:

These are a lot of fun to use. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Look for small black and white illustrations and color them in with the markers. Pick out the more interesting parts to use for the beads.

Cover printed pieces with small geometric designs in a variety of colors.

Apply scribble patterns or doodles to photos cut from magazines or advertising circulars.

Use fine tip markers to make Zentangle-like patterns.

Use different colors of markers to "color between the lines" on pages of plain text, creating stripes. Or use various colors of  markers to shade the lines of text, and use an altogether different color to fill the spaces in between the lines.

When you've made enough embellished papers, following the directions posted earlier on 3/19/14, cut them into small pieces to fit the base beads. To finish the beads, glue on your embellished papers, seal and varnish, and allow to dry. Now your beads are ready to become a new bracelet or necklace.

©2014 Lynn Edwards

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