August 17, 2010

Paper Bead Tutorial

If you’re like me, you hoard magazines for decoupage and other crafting needs. Unfortunately, I never can seem to use up the entire mag…which, to the dismay of my poor husband, means that there are stacks upon stacks of old, cut up magazines taking up half the closet. Normal people would call this “junk” and immediately toss them. Not me! If I have even the tiniest of inklings that I may be able to possibly use them in the future, they stay! Because, you know, they might just stop making magazines all of a sudden – and then what would I do? ;)

Here’s a great way to use up some of those magazine pages (you can also use newspapers or scrapbook paper scraps) and get some cute jewelry out of it.

So, go dig out all that extra paper you have laying around and let’s get started!

What You’ll Need:

- Paper (magazines, scrapbooking paper, newspaper…take your pick!)
- Glue
- Mod Podge
- Paintbrush
- Scissors
- Ruler or tape measure
- Pencil
- Toothpicks
- Styrofoam cup or something else you can stick toothpicks in


1.) Choose your paper and get out the ruler. (I used a tape measure). Decide on the length for your bead. I decided to do a 1” long bead, so I marked one inch on one side of the magazine page.
2.) On the opposite side of the page, make a mark where the center of your marks lies. This will create a really long triangle shape. If this doesn’t make sense, refer to my awesome MS Paint Skills below. :)

3.) Connect the dots using a straight edge and cut out your long triangle shape.

4.) Take one of your toothpicks and wrap the triangle around it starting at the wide end. Make sure the colors you want on the outside of the bead are facing out. It doesn’t need to be absolutely perfect, but try to keep it centered.

5.) Once you reach the end tip of the triangle, place a small dot of glue or Mod Podge on it and complete the wrapping. The paper will stay nicely on the toothpick. If any glue smooshes out the end, just smooth it out with your finger. No problem!

6.) Take one end of your toothpick and stick it into the bottom of a Styrofoam cup. This will make it easier to Mod Podge the bead and let it dry. If you have a better way of doing this, go for it. It’s basically just to ensure that the bead gets covered completely.

7.) Use a paintbrush and apply a coat of Mod Podge. I used the matte finish, but feel free to use the glitter or glossy finish for a little added funk. I like to let it dry completely and add another final coat. Make sure to get the ends, but be careful not to glue it to the toothpick!

8.) Once the Mod Podge is dry, carefully remove the bead from the toothpick. Make sure it is completely dry before doing this step or you can easily yank the paper and cause the bead to become crooked.
9.) Make bunches of fun beads and create jewelry or other embellishments!

Other Tips:
- If you want to do a larger or smaller bead, play around with the width and length of your paper triangle. You can make many different sizes! The longer your triangle, the "fatter" the bead will be.

- You can always paint your beads if you want a more uniform color that you’re not getting from your magazine scraps. After the glue dries from securing the rolled paper, add a few coats of paint. Once dry, do your two coats of Mod Podge.

- Can’t get the bead off the toothpick? Gently try holding the bead in place with one hand and twisting the toothpick in the direction the bead was rolled. This should loosen it up enough to slide it off the end.

- If you want your beads to be as uniform in size as possible (for making a necklace, for example) make sure to cut them as close to the same size as you can.

- Rip the paper a little bit while you were rolling it? No problem! Just keep going. Mod Podge is like the duct tape of crafting…it can fix almost anything!

Questions? Comments? Drop me an e-mail or jot a comment below and I’d be more than happy to help!


  1. These are really cute! Can you post something you've made with paper beads?

  2. what a fun idea , i have to try these myself

  3. What a great tutorial! Thanks -- they are absolutely adorable! :)

  4. Have enjoyed reading your tutorials. Such cute and creative ideas. Hoping to read more. Found you on the Blog Hop list - will be following you.

  5. awesome tutorial! This is such a cool really caught my eye at the Creative Chick Parade.

    :0 Erin

  6. These are so cute. Thank you for the tutorial.


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