This month as I was getting ready to attend Art is You Stamford for the first time, I really wanted to come up with a little something I could make so I could participate in the trades, but I was drawing a blank. It sounded like most people were making charms, and that's not something I've done a lot of! But then it came to me... paper beads! Specifically, stenciled paper beads. I thought it would be a fun way to do something handmade that looked a bit fancy, but which was actually fairly quick and easy to make.
I pulled out paper, glue, stencils, paint, and ink, and got to work. I happen to have a lot of beads and jewelry supplies on hand (I'm not kidding when I say that I try everything!) so I was able to do it without buying anything but the clasps. Here's what I came up with:
For those of you who have never made paper beads and want to learn how to make them, here's how I did it. For my charms, I just made the plain tube-shaped beads.
I started with a few sheets of 32lb white copy paper - sturdier than normal, but thin enough to roll and glue easily. I used either ink and a blending tool or paint to stencil a design about half-way up the sheet (realistically it only needs to be a few inches at the bottom - the rest won't show.) I used the Square Celtic Knots stencil by June Pfaff Daley, and for the black and white ones, I used the Doodle It Tornado Bloom stencil by Maria McGuire. For beads, a stencil that has a relatively small, tight pattern will work best.
With the paper in strips, it's time to roll them one by one. I have a little tool that I bought from the lady that taught me to make beads. You could make your own (it's made from a dowel and some kind of pin or clamp, all held together with polymer clay and baked.) You can also use a quilling tool, a toothpick, or anything similar. You just start rolling, keeping the edges even and wrapping it fairly tightly, but not so tight that you can't get it off the tool when you're done rolling.
Until next time, happy stenciling!