Monday, March 19, 2012

Paper Beads? Who Would Have Thought?

I ran across a wonderful jewelry project that just captured my fancy. They were triangular earrings with paper beads in the center of them. She apparently saw some on Anthropologie, and made her own! I love that, when someone figures out a way to make something fashionable for less money, a knockoff for something expensive. I did that one time when I saw an evergreen wreath decorated with seashells and grasses in a Coldwater Creek magazine. I made one for my mom and it turned out just like the one in the catalog!  I made it for less than a third of the price shown in the catalog.

Jewelry can be SO expensive....Here are the earrings she made...
The gal that does this blog, has a tutorial on her blog on how to make the earrings and how to make the beads. Here it is in case anybody wants to make paper beads or the earrings...

Basically, you take colorful magazine pages, measure triangles and start cutting the paper into triangle strips! Using a rotary cutter and quilt mat is highly recommended, but not necessary. Because I live full time in an RV, I don't have all my cutting supplies from my quilting days, so I just used scissors....Not quite as precise and maybe the beads won't roll as centered as if you did use a rotary cutter, but good measuring is the key too!  Once you've measured and cut your triangles, then you start rolling the paper around a toothpick. You don't glue the paper to the toothpick when you start or you'll never get them off the toothpick! You put a speck of glue at the end of the skinny tip of the triangle on its final wrap around the toothpick. After it has dried, you brush ModgePodge, that craft acrylic coating that goes on looking like Elmer's Glue on the beads while they are still on the toothpick. A final coat of  polyurethane spray varnish is recommended in the tutorial, but to me that's overkill with the ModgePodge already serving that function. But if you want a lot of gloss on the beads, then that might be a good idea. ModgePodge comes in different finishes, by the way...There's a gloss finish and a matte finish if I remember correctly.

So now I'm on a roll!  (tee hee, hee) I've been rolling paper beads for the last week! 

I have found that using magazine pages...your common magazines that are published weekly or monthly, make very skinny beads...there doesn't seem to be enough substance or thickness to the pages to make a nice bead. It's also difficult to pick good pages that make a nice color when rolled...You try to look for really cool graphic pages with quite a bit of one color for the beads but those are hard to find. I had a lot of women's magazines on hand that I started with, but just wasn't happy with the colors or the thickness of the beads when rolled.  Finally, I resorted to using scrapbook paper (NOT the heavy page weight but the thinner weight) and was much happier with the results. All the beads shown in the above photo were made with Colorbok scrapbook pages...a collection of 24 pages in one book, purchased at WalMart for 5.00....the nice thing about using a scrapbook collection, is the pages are color these bead colors go wonderfully together! I'm going to call these my "tropics" beads...

The wire used for these triangle earrings was jewelry wire hammered flat, but I think I'm going to use square wire instead of round, so I don't have to worry about hammering it flat.
And now, I'm ready to attempt the earrings, just as soon as I get some gold jewelry wire...16 and 22 gauge....Hopefully, they should be done by next week! 

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