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Paper Beads

Project by Sheelagh Tomsett

What you need

Any paper can be used; scrapbook, newspaper, wrapping paper, book pages, colour magazines, map paper.


Ruler and pencil

Cocktail stick or quilling tool

Tip!  When using a cocktail stick, it is sometimes easier (to get a better grip) if you lightly sand one side of the stick to flatten slightly.

Step 1

(For our instructions, we are going to use a piece of 12 x 12 scrapbook paper.)

On the reverse side of 12 x 12 scrapbook paper mark along the top from the right side at 1” intervals. At the bottom mark first at 1/2” then at 1” intervals.  Start by drawing a line from the bottom 1/2” mark to the top right hand corner. This piece will be discarded as the tail is not centred, or can be used to make a cone shaped bead.  Continue to connect the lines from top to bottom as shown in the photo below.

Step 2

Cut along the lines to create your strips.

Place the cocktail stick or quilling tool along the wide end of the strip and roll the paper tightly around it with the pattern facing out.  

Step 3

You will not need to add glue until you reach the last 2” tail of the paper. Use PVA glue, and continue to roll around, smoothing excess glue over the whole bead. Hold it in place for a few seconds for the glue to set and to stop it unrolling. (A glue stick could be used instead of PVA glue)

Step 4

Note: The fine tip glue applicator used in this picture is available here.

You now have the finished bead! Place it on a cocktail stick and mount it onto a foam cushion or similar. Allow it to dry thoroughly before sealing.

Step 5

The beads below include tube beads which you can make using a straight strip of the width you choose.  If you are using a plain colour, you can decorate just the last 2” inches as this will be the only area that will show on the bead.

Some of these tube beads have been stamped with random text using Archival black ink pad, which won’t bleed or blur when the beads are sealed.

To seal the beads, use any dimensional glue (such as Glossy Accents, or Diamond Glaze), clear or glitter nail varnish. This will intensify the colours on the paper.

For a deep glossy finish, roll the bead onto a Versamark pad and coat with UTEE (thick embossing powder). Leave to dry on the cocktail sticks.

Experiment with different shape beads such as two pointed tails (snake tongue).  Different thickness and length of paper will produce a very different size bead. It is easy to get different effects plus you will find they are very addictive!   

You can embellish your finished beads in a number of different ways; with wire wrapping, dots of coloured varnish can be added using a fine tip stylus, the ends can be painted with gold nail varnish.

Your finished beads can be made into bracelets, necklaces, key charms etc.

For your convenience Sara has created PDF templates that you can print on to the back of your patterned paper to create different sized beads.

Click here to download the zip file.

Try and keep the tail centred until it is glued, although before it is sealed it can still be adjusted to the centre.

Below is a slideshow of the paper beads made by some of our members for our swap to inspire you in your own paper bead making.