Paper beads, seed beads

I still use the paper bead bunch keychain that I made, and I still love it. Using the keychain made me want to churn out more of those beads. Here’s what that urge resulted in —

Paper beads, seed beads

Chillin’ out!

I don’t want to make another keychain out of these, though. I wonder how I can use them… I’m thinking they’d do well accentuating a yarn-based project. Any other ideas?

Paper bead bunch keychain

Yay, paper beads are back in my jewelry-making!

Paper bead bunch keychainI spent some time recently making paper beads. I used some junk-mail paper for these. I didn’t really have any sizes in mind, I just wanted to make two sets of beads — one set smaller than the other.

I cut rectangles from the paper, 4 of the same dimensions, and 2 of smaller dimensions. I folded each rectangle diagonally and cut it along the diagonal, giving me 8 large and 4 small right-angled triangles. I rolled them up into simple tapered beads, applying glue at regular intervals to keep the rolls snug.

When the bead bases were made, I painted gradients of acrylic colors onto them. Mod podge followed when the paint dried. The beads were now ready!

I then strung these paper beads and various seed beads through head pins, making eye loops at the top of the headpins. These formed individual units of the bead-bunch.

Finally, for the trunk of the bunch that extends into a chain, I joined small jump rings. While I was adding each link, I also added the bead-bunch units, larger ones at the beginning / bottom. That went — open jump ring, insert it into the topmost jump ring of the chain-in-progress, insert bead-bunch unit #1 from one end of the open jump ring, insert bead-bunch unit #2 from the other end of the open jump ring, close jump ring, repeat.

I just love this keychain! It’s so fun-looking and so light! Needless to say, I’ve already swapped out the earlier chain in my car keys for this one. πŸ™‚

Beaded bracelet

I’m back to using paper beads! I didn’t make new ones for this bracelet that I cobbled together, instead I reused some beads from a set that I’d made years ago. They’d been a part of some jewelry piece for a long time, but have been back in my stash for a while now.

Beaded bracelet

Beaded bracelet

I just love the shocking pink on the paper beads! It goes really well with the black and white. To make the rest of the bracelet look compatible, I used white, black / hematite and red seed beads.

To start with, I cut 4 lengths of about 20cm (8″) flexible copper wire. I crimped one end of the bunch, and strung seed beads through two of the wires. (Using all four wires for beading was overkill, but using just two wires made the structure not strong enough.) After around 1/5 of the wires was threaded, I added a paper bead, passing all four wires through it. More seed beads and paper beads followed. Finally, I crimped the other end of the wires and snipped off the extra. A small jump ring through both crimp tubes was enough to make the bracelet slide on and off my hand without requiring a clasp.

Beaded braceletNow I’m back to pondering about what I can do with the rest of the paper bead set…

Meshy envelope earrings

I love the colors on these earrings, and the texture. ❀ What gave them this texture, you ask? If you read the title of this post, you already know πŸ™‚ — a paper envelope lined on the inside with a loose thread mesh!

Meshy envelope earrings

Meshy envelope earrings

The envelope had arrived by post. I don’t really remember what was in it, but I remember feeling impatient while reading its contents because I wanted to use the envelope, highlighting its texture. πŸ˜€ And I’m not disappointed at all with the result.

How I made them

I cut an approximately 6cm x 9cm piece out of the envelope, placed it mesh-side up, and colored the surface yellow and maroon. You can also see lots of orange there that resulted from the blending of those two colors. Isn’t it beautiful?

A word of caution here — you might not want to use watercolors for this, just in case the threads get detached from the paper due to the water. Or if you do want to use watercolors, you could experiment on a small sample of the envelope first…

Anyway, after the surface was thoroughly dry, I cut out 3cm x 3cm squares out of it. I then rolled them up into cylinders, starting with one corner and rolling it in. Choosing to roll in a corner instead of an edge gives the cylinder a more interesting shape at the edges! πŸ˜‰

Meshy envelope earrings - closeupOf course, I applied a very small amount of glue at the outermost corner to make the structure hold. After the glue dried, I applied a whole lot of varnish, layer after layer after layer, waiting between applications to let the latest layer dry. I did this until the threads from the meshes appeared softer.

I then made them into earrings by threading wires into the cylinders, making large eye loops at both ends. I added the cylinders to earring findings, 3 per earring. To make them hang more freely, I also added jump rings to 2 cylinders (per earring) before attaching them to the findings.

What do you think of these?

Wire crocheted scrunchy bracelet

This is an old project of mine — a bracelet using wire crochet and beads that I made during my early days of discovering wire crochet. It scrunches up a bit if you apply light pressure on it, so you’re safe even if it is slightly bigger than you intended.

Wire-crocheted scrunchy bracelet

Wire-crocheted scrunchy bracelet

I’d just made a few paper beads of varying sizes and shapes (ranging from spherical to thick-saucer) from the same paper, and was looking for ways to incorporate all of them in a jewelry piece. And well, I did want to try out more wire crochet… πŸ™‚ That’s how this project came about.

How I made it

I used three different colors of 26-gauge wire for this bracelet. I cut 5 pieces of wire, each about 24″ (60cm.) I didn’t need to string the beads onto the wires before I started, because the wires are short and beads can be added when needed. (Yay for that!) I divided the beads into three piles, and made chain stitches on three of the wires, adding the beads now and then to the stitches. I made plain chain stitches (with no beads) on the other two wires. I lightly twisted each plain chain with one each of the embellished ones, so there were 3 chains overall. I then wove those into a 3-strand braid. I finally secured both ends and added a clasp.

That was easy, wasn’t it? Let me know if you try it out sometime!

Chunky newspaper bead earrings and pendant

The wire jig has finally been conquered! Okay, maybe ‘conquered’ is a strong word. What I can say for sure, though, is that the shapes I make using my wire jig resemble one another much, much more than they did earlier. More importantly, they resemble the shape that I want them to be. I’m pretty pleased with the earrings and pendant that I created using my wire jig and some chunky newspaper beads that I made earlier.

The earrings

Chunky paper bead earrings

Chunky paper bead earrings

I started the earrings by first making the bottom spiral using my round nose pliers. I used the spiral as the initial anchor to hold the wire while I wound it around pegs on the wire jig. After making the S-shape, I used my chain nose pliers to remove the curves at the point where the S-shape ended. I then threaded the paper bead onto the wire, and made an eye loop at the top.

I took care to duplicate each step for both earrings before moving to the next step; that way, I could make sure that both shapes resembled each other better.

As the last step, I attached the eye loop to an earring finding.

The pendant

I wanted the pendant to be a bit unique. I thought it would be nice if the pendant could be attached to its chain either vertically or horizontally. Of course, I wanted the S-shape in the earrings to be present in the pendant too. So well, this time, instead of a spiral, I made an eye loop and used it as the initial anchor to bend the wire in the S-shape. I strung the super-chunky bead on the wire, and made another S-shape. It was a bit difficult to wind wire on the jig with a chunky bead trailing behind, but I managed it. Another eye loop came last. I made sure the shapes at both ends were roughly of the same size.

Here’s the pendant attached vertically —

Chunky paper bead pendant

Chunky paper bead pendant

And here it is attached horizontally —

Chunky paper bead pendant

Chunky paper bead pendant

Not too bad. What do you think?

Chunky paper beads

Chunky paper beads

Chunky paper beads

Paper beads were what I started my DIY jewelry experiments with, and Janice Mae’s paper bead blog and video tutorials helped me take my first (and many subsequent) steps in making paper beads. I’m so grateful to her.

Now for the chunky beads. I’d decided to make them from newspaper. I’ve made such beads before, and used (and then reused) them in jewelry pieces. Now that my sister has finally added them to some bracelets, I thought I’d make another set. Chunky beads look great when used with wire, but I’ve not really decided how exactly to wire-embellish the ones I’ll make. I’ll leave that inspiration to strike me another day. Meanwhile, I’ll summarize how I made the beads themselves.

I followed most of this tutorial by Janice Mae for the beads, except that I wanted my beads to be chunkier than the ones in the tutorial. Because I used thin newspaper instead of the thicker catalog paper used there, I had to measure and cut many, many long strips of newspaper. Each strip was about a meter long, with the ends of the strip differing in width by half a centimeter.

Winding a paper bead

The long strips made it a little clumsier to work the bead — if I was not careful, my fingers would slip, the paper would get unwound, and I had to do damage control. That’s why I had to use glue frequently to keep the paper in place. After lots of paper-winding that included gentle pushes on the surface of the beads to shape them, the chunky beads had passed the first stage of their creation.

Chunky paper beads

I left them for a while so the glue could dry. Over the next few days, I applied multiple coats of matte-type Mod Podge on the beads, leaving each coat to dry well before the next application.

Chunky paper beads

The beads are now hard, with a bit of shine on them.

Next phase: Operation Wire Embellishment. πŸ™‚