Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Paper beads

One of the ways in which I unwind of an evening, after walking my dog,  is to watch TV, but I seem to be like my mother in that I can't just watch TV without doing something. What I do varies according to my interest or needs at the time. I go through cycles.

A while back I had a spurt of making paper beads, and as usual, inflicted some of the results on my long-suffering friends. Paper beads are very easy to make and the results can be surprisingly attractive. The first ones I made were from a free local magazine and I cut the triangles in random widths. They turned out rather well, so I strung them into a necklace and made a pair of earrings as well.
I had an old calendar picture whose colors I liked, so I decided to turn it into beads, too. It had wide white borders, so rather than cutting them off or having white beads, I drew stripes and squiggles on the borders with a permanent black marker. This is the result, the paper beads teamed with copper-colored freshwater pearls. (BTW, the safety pin you might have noticed is attaching the two tiny earrings to the necklace so they don't get lost— it's not part of the design. ;)

My next inspiration was to turn a couple of friend's book covers into beads. I printed the covers out on glossy photo card. This book cover became the necklace and earrings below it. I chose pinks and greys because they're colors my friend often wears.
I wanted to inflict--er, make another lot of beads with another friend's RITA finalling cover and she said, how about a bracelet? So since she wears red really well, I experimented with a few variations on the bracelet design.

And at the conference a few weeks ago I gave to the HeartsTalk people some paper bead necklaces and earrings made from pages of HeartsTalk, the Romance Writers of Australia monthly magazine, which is printed in black and white.

I've made rather a lot of beads now and am moving back to other pursuits. (Friends in various parts of the world heave audible sighs of relief.) Here's a handful of my beads that a friend of mine took a photo of.

If you're interested in making paper beads yourself, there's an on-line tutorial here. It's fun, cheap and the beads can be pretty. I'll probably do another batch as Christmas approaches and make strings of them for the Christmas tree.


  1. Don't you think you should have a contest or something so we the readers can get your awesome beads? They really ARE lovely!

  2. Ooh, Juli, what a good idea. I'm always looking for an excuse to make beads and infl--er give them away.

    I have a new book coming out in October. I don;'t have any copies yet, but when I get them, I'll make some beads to go with it and have a comp -- either here or on WordWenches.

    Thanks for the suggestion.

  3. These look great! I'm going to give them a go. I love your beads Anne.

  4. Anne, you are so clever! Your paper beads are spectacular! As if I don't have enough craft projects already, and now I want to start making beads.

    I have several rolls of wallpaper collected over the past year from Goodwill, to use in my card making. Some of this wallpaper will be perfect for making beads. I can't wait to get started! ~Sherrie Holmes

  5. Keziah and Sherrie, best of luck with the beads. It's fun -- and be warned, its addictive.

    I didn't use plastic straws, BTW, I just wrapped them around a bamboo skewer. I used craft glue which can be wiped away while damp with a damp cloth. For a while there I got a little production line going, where I stuck toothpicks and bamboo satay skewers into a piece of polystyrene and put each bead on a spike to dry. I also glazed them afterward with modge podge (from Spotlight), and used the toothpicks etc for that, too.

    Best of luck. Let me know how you go.

  6. What a talented person you are Anne. I did see the Hearts Talk works of art in Sydney - so wonderful.

  7. Thanks Eleni, they're not hard to make and I thought the black and white HeartsTalk ones were fun. I would have made more, except I thought people might think they were silly. ;)

  8. I've never seen these Anne - they look wonderful.
    I get the watching TV empty handed thing. I have just taken up knitting again. My Gran taught me years ago - I am just doing a wrap that it is for my eyes only, but it is fun watching it grow.

  9. Thanks, Carol. They're just a bit of fun but I also enjoy seeing how the paper beads turn out and then matching them with some other beads to make a necklace or bracelet or earrings. My mother used to knit constantly, mostly small fiddly babies' bootees to give away and sell on school charity stalls, but then she took to knitting fair-isle squares and making beautiful lap rugs from them.

  10. Anne

    These look so lovely I just don't have the patience to sit and do things like this I used to knit a lot once but I haven't done that for ages either too many great books to read LOL.
    Love your newsletter and am soo looking forward to Nash's story whoo hoo

    Have Fun

  11. Ah, Helen, but I don't have the patience for knitting. I'm slow at it and never developed the knack for doing it fast. I blame my mum -- she was a fantastic knitter and she's watch TV going clicketty click and in a little while, there would be a jumper.
    Thanks for dropping in.