Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Paper Beads

Sustainable Crafts: From Recycled Materials
Well, it is the start of the latest Bedwas Adult Education Centre course and I say... making jewellery doesn't need to be a difficult and expensive endeavour, it can just be fun and imaginative. Kids love drawing, painting, colouring and glueing bits and bobs for a reason..they enjoy doing it! This is where we will start on our journey towards gaining accreditation in this recycling unit. By using things that can be found all around us, we can become more creative and try out ideas that using precious materials may not allow. The jewellery produced can be highly wearable designs or prototypes of ideas that can be further developed for other, more traditional materials.

Tapered Paper Beads
I'd not had a  go at making paper beads for many years and so I took a  tour of You Tube and Pinterest (click for my board of Paper Projects & Upcycled Projects) to get me pointed in the right direction. There are great ideas on these for anyone wanting to make a serious venture into this particular craft. Templates for different shaped beads are online as well as useful tools and materials such as bead rollers, glues and varnishes. We however are going to keep things very simple and cost effective and use household items wherever possible to create our beads.

 Gather your paper. I had a wide selection of pretty, printed paper sheets in my collection but using magazines or thick wrapping paper is a great idea for cheap bead making.
Step 2

 Choose your sheet and using a craft knife, cutting board and steel rule, cut the paper into long, narrow strips in a  triangle shape. The finished bead size will be determined by the width at the bottom and length of sheet. For my gold beads I measured 3cm at the base, length approx 30cm.
Step 3
Repeat to make as many beads as needed
Step 4
In place of a professional bead roller tool, use masking tape to secure x 2 metal skewers together leaving approx 2 1/2 inches at the top to make the beads.
Step 5
Slot the wider section of one strip between the skewers, dab some glue to secure, and begin wrapping the strip tightly around the two skewers.
Step 6
Keep rolling, keeping it tight to avoid undoing.
Continue wrapping until just the narrow section is left, secure with small amount of glue. I've used a  water based PVA glue that is white but dries clear. I found it more than up to the job and as it is popular as a glue for kids, easy to locate. Specialist glues and varnishes are available, research online for card making suppliers (some jewellery suppliers like The Bead Shop also stock selected items) to learn about Diamond Glaze and Mod Podge, brand names for combined glues and glazes.

Step 8
Once secure, remove bead from the metal skewers and transfer to a single wooden skewer. Use this to first ensure the folds inside sit neatly. 
Step 9
 Use a  paint brush to coat the whole bead and leave to dry. Try experimenting with nail varnishes to add interest. I used a subtle gold nail enamel to coat some of the beads and a clear one to give them a more solid finish.
Alternative Idea
For added interest to the bead, carefully paint black nail varnish along edges of the strips before rolling. Leave to dry and they will give the finshed bead a different effect. Coat with clear varnish to finish.
Finished bead selection

Finished necklace design
I added gun metal & gold plated beads to the paper beads, creating links with gold plated wire. I drew a rose with a gold marker pen onto black shrink plastic for the pendant and added an orphan bead to give the necklace some weight.
Tube Bead Shape
 For a tube bead shape, cut your paper into long strips, my measurements were 4cm width, 30cm length
 Use same techniques as shown in steps 5, 6 & 7 above.

Paint the edges with coloured nail varnish.
Finished Necklace
I used gun metal beads and silver plated wire to create links of the paper beads, added pretty metal beads as spacers and a  handmade 'messy' wire bead as a pendant.
Shrink Plastic
 Our other projects will include using Shrink plastic and I can't wait to see what everyone manages to make! Most craft suppliers have shrink plastic (brand named 'shrinkles' I believe) sheets on sale, try Hobbycraft and The Range who both usually stock a selection of colours. I like the basic , frosted one best and  this works well with stamped designs. The brand ink Stazon is best for not 'bleeding'. The thing to remember with shrink plastic shrinks!! Obvious maybe but until you've seen it, it's hard to comprehend just how much it shrinks. So. any design needs to take into consideration that it will shrink approximately 7 times smaller. Also remember to punch your holes before heating. Sharpie pens, pencils and other colourants can be used to decorate your plastic before heating. Shrink plastic can be heated in a conventional oven ( follow manufacturer's instructions for use) or heated with a craft  heat gun. Ensure you do this over a  heat resistant surface (also cover with foil) and take safety precautions to avoid potential fire or heat damage to surrounding area...and yourself!!

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