October 20, 2020

How to Make Beads From Your Newspaper

For so many reasons, right now is the perfect time to start a soothing and gratifying craft project. It’s even better when you can use what you have, like the very newspaper you are holding.

People have been making rolled paper beads for many years using wallpaper scraps, magazine pages and newspaper. The templates here are just a jumping -off point to make different-shaped beads: The simple rectangle will give you a tubular bead; the right triangle makes a conical bead; the isosceles triangle results in an oval bead; and the snake-tongued template creates a bow-tie bead.

Experiment with different shapes, sizes and solid versus patterned areas of your paper. Once you start mining the pages for pretty spots to cut up, you’ll never look at a newspaper the same way again!

  • Newspaper

  • Pencil

  • Ruler

  • Scissors (or a craft knife and self-healing cutting mat)

  • Skewer, dowel, smooth round pen, knitting needle, or another stick to roll your bead on

  • Glue stick or white glue and a paintbrush

  • Optional: Clear nail polish or acrylic sealant or medium, like Mod Podge (a.k.a. decoupage glue)

  • String, such as clear stretchy beading cord

Image
Credit…Stephanie Gonot for The New York Times

Use these templates or draw your own strips. (Make marks on your paper and draw lines connecting them with a ruler, then cut out.) The width of the strip at its widest point will be the width of your bead. The length of your strip will determine the thickness of your bead. If you want to make fatter beads, use longer strips of paper.

1. Cut out your strips with the scissors or craft knife and ruler.

2. Starting with the widest end of your strip, roll the paper around the skewer or dowel making sure you have the strip centered on itself so it rolls symmetrically. Take it off and rub on some glue stick (or brush on a very thin layer of glue) and reroll. The strip should be snugly rolled around your stick but not so tight that you can’t slide it.

3. If your bead is rolling off center, carefully peel it back and reroll to correct it, or push one side if you are able to recenter.

4. To make your beads shiny and sealed, thread them on a skewer and brush them with clear nail polish or acrylic sealant. You can rest the skewer across two glasses while the beads dry.

5. Thread the beads onto a cord and knot it off.

Tip: If you get to a spot where the bead is big enough and you like the color and/or pattern that is visible, feel free to stop there and snip off the rest of the strip. Once you roll a few beads, you’ll get the hang of what colors and patterns will show up based on which side of the strip you start rolling.

Download printable bead patterns here.


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