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Paper Beads

Visit the Paper Bead Gallery

Almost anything can be made into a bead. And almost everything has been.
Many things you have around the house can be turned into beads.

In the 1920s life was slower because there were few cars and almost no airplanes.
Nor was it as busy because there were not so many after-school activities.
Life was full of time because there were no TVs, no computers and no Internet.

 But there were books and magazines and newspapers and many
of them had sections just for children. They often gave ideas on how to make beads at home. Some of these worked pretty well.

Others were just stupid. I have not tried all of them, but here is one
I have tried, and it is fun. They are paper beads:

Paper beads. Can you tell which two I made myself?
The other two are older, but I cannot say how old.
See more beads in the Gallery.

1. Take some nicely colored paper. You can use almost any sort -- plain white paper is O.K., but colored paper or colored magazine and advertising pages are better. Wallpaper works well. Maybe you can get some samples at a store.

2. Cut the paper into a long strip a half inch to an inch (1.25 to 2.5 cm) wide and maybe eight to ten inches (20 to 25 cm) long. Put a thin coating of white paste or some other glue along the length of the paper, leaving a small area at one end without glue.

3. Take a knitting needle or something similar and carefully roll the paper around it, beginning with the unglued end. Roll it so it is tight and the edges stay even. Be sure the end of the paper sticks well and does not come unglued.

4. Let the glue dry and slip the paper off the knitting needle. Now you have a cylinder bead. You can paint designs on it or spray paint it or varnish it to make it shiny.

5. You can make beads of different shapes. If you begin with a long triangle, the finished bead will be thicker at the center than at the ends and you will have a round or olive-shaped bead. If you start with a rectangular strip of paper with a triangle cut out of the middle, the bead will be spool shaped.

Use differently shaped strips of paper for differently shaped beads.

Look at the green shapes. Rectangular paper makes cylindrical beads. Triangular paper makes rounded beads The third shape would make spool-shaped beads.

6. Make different shapes of beads in different colors. If you want to make a necklace, make at least two beads of each shape and size so that when they are strung the necklace is balanced. One large bead can go in the middle.

7. If you find this to be fun you can make a lot of beads and hang them on long strings to form a beaded curtain for your room.


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