Sunday, 25 October 2015

Paper Bead Bracelet

I do like making paper beads. They are very simple to make and with the vast array of beautiful patterned papers on the market it's easy to find whatever colours or designs you desire. Alternatively, you can, of course, use recycled paper, wrapping paper, magazines, newspaper, etc. or even make them with plain paper and decorate them yourself. Haven't tried that yet but it's on my to-do list!

Having made my easel card the other day using Be Creative papers, I wanted to make a bracelet with the matching papers. Here are the materials I used. (I also used Diamond Glaze to seal the beads, but forgot to put it in the photo!)  The crochet hook, around which the paper is rolled, is size 6.00mm.

The Be Creative paper pads are 8" x 8". For each bead I cut a strip of paper 1cm wide using the full length of the paper. Fortuitously, 8" is just the right length for the type of bead I wanted to make, which was a "Pandora" style bead with metal end pieces. The diameter of the finished bead will also depend on the weight (thickness) of the paper, and again, the Be Creative papers are such that my bead turned out exactly the right size to fit my end pieces, which have a 5mm diameter hole and are basically large eyelets. For different sizes of eyelets you would use a crochet hook (or it could be a knitting needle, or any cylindrical implement)  the diameter of which was 1mm larger than the diameter of the eyelet hole.

I thought it might be fun to see whether I could do a photo tutorial (my first ever!) to show how I made my beads, so here it is!

1. First stretch the paper strip by holding it between your thumb and the crochet hook (wrong side next to the hook) and pulling it through from one end to the other so that the paper starts to curl. This will make it easier to roll, especially when using thicker paper.

 2. Decide which end of your paper strip will form the outside of the finished bead, ie, the end which will still be showing after you've rolled it up. At that end, using your finger nail or (very carefully!) the tip of a craft knife blade, separate the two layers of paper (the Be Creative papers are double sided) and tear off about a centimetre of the inside (or wrong side) layer.

Then, with the wrong side facing you, tear off a tiny piece of the right side (as little as possible so the strip isn't shortened too much). This will prevent a harsh edge on the finished bead. If using thinner paper, Step 2 could be omitted.

3. Begin rolling the paper strip around the crochet hook, keeping it as tight and as even as possible. After the strip has gone round once and met itself, secure the end with a thin layer of glue. You  only need a little. I used the Be Creative Glue Wand. The fine roller ball tip makes precise placement very easy. Make sure you stick the paper just to itself and not to the crochet hook, otherwise it will be very difficult to remove the bead from the hook. I speak from experience! It is important to glue down the inside end so that it will not distort when you insert the end pieces.

4. Continue rolling the paper around the hook. There is no need to use more glue until you get to the end. About a centimetre from the end, stop rolling, add a thin layer of glue making sure the end is covered, and then complete the roll up. You may need to hold it in place for a few seconds until it is stuck.

5. Slide the bead off the hook, and if necessary stand it on its end and gently press down on it with something flat, eg. an acrylic mount, to even it up.

6. Put a small blob of blutack or similar just inside the bead (see photo) to secure it to a cocktail stick.

Seal the bead with a non-yellowing glaze or varnish, eg. Diamond Glaze for a glossy finish, or Ranger Glue n Seal Matte if you prefer a matte finish. Set aside to dry, then repeat with a second coat.

7. Finally, glue an eyelet into place in each end and admire your finished bead!

I needed six paper beads interspersed with various other beads (see first photo) to make my bracelet. Having decided on my design I simply threaded them on to a length of clear stretchy bracelet elastic (from good craft shops or available online, eg. from eBay or Amazon, as are the eyelets) knotted the ends tightly together and tucked them inside a bead. If you're worried about it coming undone, a spot of superglue on the knot should do the trick, but make sure it doesn't touch the beads before it's dry.

My next task was to make a gift box for the bracelet.

The patterned papers I used are all from the same Be Creative paper pad from which I made the beads, also the card in my previous post. Here are some close ups of the details.

 The bracelet being modelled (after some persuasion!) by my grandson, who just happened to be there so he got the job!

Finally a photo of the complete set: bracelet, box and card.

I can definitely see myself making more of these, I think they will make lovely Christmas presents.

The brand new Be Creative website is scheduled to be launched this coming December, but if you can't wait until then, all the products I've used are available now from Once Upon A Stamp. Some of the products are on their website, but others, eg. the paper pads are not yet. However, Once Upon A Stamp will be very happy to take orders for any of the products by telephone. Contact details are on their website.

Anyway, I really enjoyed making my bracelet and doing the tutorial. I hope someone out there may find it useful. Any feedback will be gratefully received, positive or otherwise, especially ideas for how I could improve it, should I ever do another one! Thanks for looking!

Edit: Several people have asked where I got the eyelets from. Here are a few eBay links.

And from Amazon:


Sally H said...

A most excellent tutorial, Lynne. I love the bracelet card and box too. What a wonderful gift. I am sure Justin and Gordon will be delighted with the tutorial x

craftimamma said...

Excellent tutorial Lynne and the photos are very clear. The bracelet is really gorgeous and totally unique and together with the box and card makes a wonderful set anyone would be over the moon to receive.

Lesley Xx

Sandma's Handmade Cards said...

Wow, that's absolutely stunning Lynne. I couldn't have imagined making beads from paper but your tutorial explains each step so clearly. The finished bracelet is gorgeous and matched with the gift box and card makes a perfect gift.

Maxine D said...

Oh what a fabulous bracelet this is Lynne - thank you for the very clear tutorial, and for being able to see the trio together. A wonderful gift idea that I am sure will be well received.

Jeannie said...

hello Lynne

Great tutorial and your instructions were very clear. You say the eyelets are available on ebay. Can you give a link to where you bought from as your project has really inspired me to have a go!
Thank you

Julie said...


Jean said...

What a beautiful bracelet Lynne, thank you for super how to tutorial. The box and card are gorgeous as well and all together a really wonderful gift.
I am going to have to check out these lovely papers and stamps they look so beautiful.
Jean x

Lynne K said...

Jeannie, and everyone else - Thank you for your lovely comments. Here are a few links for the eyelets. If you search for eyelets/grommets for beads you will probably find more.These links are for various sizes of eyelets. You may also find them in shops which sell eyelets for leatherwork etc.

Jeannie said...

Dear Lynne

Thank you for the links on where to buy eyelets - it is most useful. As there are lots of different sizes could you please tell us what size eyelet is needed to fit the crochet hook you used and what size was the hook.

Your beads looked wonderful and more attractive even than the famous (and expensive) ones! Each bead created in this way is totally unique.

Lynne K said...

Hi Jeannie. My eyelets were 5mm diameter and my crochet hook was size 6mm. If my eyelets were 4mm diameter I would use a 5mm hook. In other words, the diameter of your hook (or knitting needle or whatever tool you prefer to use) should be 1mm larger than the diameter of your eyelet. Hope that helps! And thanks again for your kind comments, much appreciated.

Jeannie said...

Thank you so much Lynne. That's a great help. I have just come back from Once Upon a Stamp who stock the new BeCreative papers so now I'm raring to go with your fantastic idea. Christmas presents coming up!

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