Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Here and Now: Paper bead jewellery

Paper beads is so similar to quilling. It is just tight coils but instead of using a straight cut strip, a diagonal cut strip is used. Depending on the shape of the cut paper, length of strip and thickness of paper, there are so many bead shapes one can come up with. The more you practice, the more you learn to figure out what patterns will give beautiful colours to the beads.

Here are a couple of sets that I have created using different types of beads.

For the first one, I have used saucer beads. I created these beads by using a thick pamphlet paper that was 40 cm long. I cut out diagonal strips that were 0.5 cm on one side and which tapered down to almost 0 cm width on the other side. Like a long narrow triangle. Then using two of these identical strips stacked together, I rolled these strips. Basically by using 2 strips together, I increased the thickness of the paper and thus got a flatter bead that is bulging out from the center. And since the paper was so narrowly cut (0.5 cm at one end), I got the saucer shape. If I would have cut it wider to say 1 cm and only used one strip for rolling each bead, I would have got a rounder bead.

I used to earlier apply glue to the complete paper strip before rolling but with experiment, I have seen that I have more control of the shape if I apply glue to the very last bit of the strip while rolling. This way I can adjust the rolled tapered layers to give a neat finish and apply glue to the whole finished bead to harden it. Depending on the thickness of the bead, I give it a one to three coats of glue. Later I finish off the glue with either varnish or with nail polish. With tube kind of beads, I have even tried heat embossing and that gives a thicker layer over the bead.

For the saucer bead set, after the varnish layer, I painted the beads in multiple acrylic colours. (I couldn't decide on a particular colour and wanted the set to go with all my clothes so this seemed to be the best option :) )

Here are pictures of the beads and the finished set.

For the other set, I used tapered beads in different sizes. Using a white A4 printer paper (scrap with one side printed), I cut out the strips in pairs of identical sizes. The first two were triangles with 0.5 cm width, the next two with 1 cm width, the next two with 1.5 cm width. I assume you get the pattern. The best way to do this is to first draw parallel lines on paper. I wanted more strips out of my paper so I used the shorter side of the A4 paper as the length of my bead. I drew my first line at 0.5 cm from the edge of the paper, the next one 1 cm away from the first line, and subsequent lines increasing the distance by 0.5 cm. Once, I had these rectangles with progressively increasing widths, I drew a diagonal line through each of these triangles and get them out to get pairs of triangles with different widths.

Next I got down to colouring these triangles. I used permanent marker pens for this and only coloured about 2 mm on the edge of the triangles. Starting with 1/5th length as blue, the next 1/5th as black, then red, then again black and lastly blue. (I forgot to take pictures at this step, but the next set, I am creating, there will be pictures of intermediate steps.)

And then on to rolling. Here when I rolled the beads, starting with the wider side, instead of letting the narrow side roll to the center, I rolled the beads in a tapered fashion more like a cone. Once rolled, I sealed the edge, fixed the bead so that the layers were even and applied glue over the whole bead. An additional layer of glue after the first one dried and then a layer of transparent nail polish. I finished off the set with some glass beads and wire and here is the finished set.

If you find my work inspiring and create something similar, please quote my work and blog in your post. I would also appreciate if you leave a comment. All budding artists do need a pat on the back! Thanks for visiting!


  1. OMG, I am speechless! These are stunning!

  2. These jewelry pieces are beautiful! I admire the way you experiment to get new looks. The saucer beads are a wonderful shape - very different!


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