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?

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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. 🙂