Making paper beads is an inexpensive craft project requiring few tools. It is safe even for children and may appeal to a wide variety of crafters, from jewellery makers to green-living enthusiasts. Most of the supplies are common household items, although speciality items are available for purchase on the Internet.
Basic supplies for paper-bead making include paper, white glue and, optionally, a sealing or finish medium. Paper of almost any kind can be used including magazines, newspapers, candy wrappers, printer paper and pages from books. White glue is used to hold the bead together at the beginning and end of the roll. Apply a sealant such as découpage medium or varnish to better preserve the bead or give it a particular surface finish.
Use a cutting tool to make sure the beads have clean edges. The exact tool you use depends on personal preference. Scissors sharp enough to cut paper without tearing it are adequate for the job. Other options include craft knives, rotary cutters, box cutters, razors or paper cutters -- such as are used in scrapbooking, for example. A ruler or other straight edge to guide the blade will help ensure the strips are uniform in shape and size.
The beads are created by rolling the paper around another object, almost anything that will create the desired hole width can be used. Household rolling tools include pencils, straws, toothpicks, knitting needles and screwdrivers. Commercially produced bead winders are also available online and at some craft and hobby stores. They may be used for quilling projects as well. Winders typically have a slot for holding the paper securely in place while you wrap to create the bead.
Other tools and supplies may come in handy. Hold freshly rolled beads in place with small rubber bands. This is particularly useful if the paper used to make the beads is thick or the glue is not drying quickly. Apply glues and sealers with a paintbrush to minimise messes and sticky fingers. Stick rolling tools in a block of leftover styrofoam to let beads air dry while you create more. Decorate plain beads with paint, glitter or other embellishments.
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