Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Mini Tutorial: Recycled Envelope Paper Beads!

Hey there! I hope you all had a lovely weekend in the sun! I did plenty of lazing around and not enough making, but I've been wanting to try making these little paper beads since my lovely friend Jem made me these pretties:

...and I thought I'd share the process with you! I've made the following out of used envelopes, as their insides tend to be heavily patterned, which is perfect for making tiny things like these...and also because we have hundreds of them hanging around waiting for me to do something with them! But obviously you could use any paper you like - thin paper seems to be the best as it curls really easily; tougher paper tends to fold instead of roll.

All you need is:
- some tough card
- patterned paper
- a fine cylindrical object that you don't mind getting glue on (I used the inside of a biro that's never worked and the end of a crochet hook!)
- some PVA
- a pen, ruler and scissors!

I wanted to try making a few differently-shaped beads, so I made a few different templates out of some old card (previously used as a glue-board!) - these are all cut from a roughly 1"(2.5cm) x 4"(10cm) rectangle, but you can make them any size you like.

Once you've decided what shape template you're going to use, trace around it onto your envelope (it's best to do it on the unpatterned side, as I realised when I was rubbing out pencil marks...!) and cut out. Tesselating shapes like triangles are excellent for making the most of your paper, too!

Once you've got a few shapes cut out, spread glue onto the whole of the unpatterned side (I used ordinary PVA at first, then watered it down, which was much easier to use!) and start to roll it around your biro / crochet hook / whatever!

Curl it right round to the end, and then slide the bead off the biro.

Template A makes an oval bead:

Template B makes a bit of a cone shape (not a big fan of this one!):

Template C makes a smaller, rounded bead:

Template D makes a sort of hour-glass shape:

Template E was my favourite, it makes this lovely rounded hour-glass shape (goodness knows where the template went...!):

Slide the beads onto thread (I used old necklace wire - nothing is thrown away in our house, haha!), hang over a bowl and varnish with some watered-down PVA or clear nail varnish to harden them (yes, that is the rest of the broken biro - frugal or what?):

And that's it! Simple, eh? I made this little pile in about an hour, including working out the templates, but you could make hundreds really quickly once you've worked out what shape you want to make your beads!

I'd also like to say a massive THANK YOU! to everybody who helped out with my last post - your answers were really interesting to read, inspired me with my own blog and got a great response at work, so thank you, you lovely lot! I have a treat in store for you all as a thank you :)

And a final reminder about the Big Blog Card Swap! If you want to join in (all you have to do is make one card!), send an email with your name and address to bigblogcardswap@gmail.com by this Thursday lunchtime!

Let me know if you try making paper beads!


Bluebelle said...

Nice idea - and great recycling as always!

TS Hendrik said...

That's pretty cool stuff. My sister used to have do all kinds of bead work with her, so I can really appreciate the idea.

Aut said...

Beautiful! I've been wanting to try this too; I think I will soon. Thanks for the inspiration!

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