I really like scrappy and miss-matched things. Which is probably why I am so fond of Josh. So when I found this paper bead tutorial on Pinterest I thought it was super neat. Except that it was in German, or something. I managed to figure it out, but still, there needs to be one in English, right? So I thought I would take that responsibility upon myself. I'm sure that there is one SOMEWHERE out there in the whole wide internet, but I did not find one.
These are called paper beads so I'm sure you could use them as such. I used them for a cute decorative filler, but now I am having visions of a string of paper beads daintily strung over a vanity mirror or fireplace mantel, hmmmm.
What you need: -scissors/ paper cutter -stapler -staples -scrapbook/ scrap pieces of paper -nimble fingers
To get started, I just went crazy cutting a million strips of paper just to get it over with. I knew I was going to be making a lot. You may just want to make five. In that case, you don't need a million. You could definitely use scissors, but for this part I used a paper cutter.
For this part the width you decide on depends on how large you want your beads to be. For decorative purposes I made mostly smaller ones with a few larger ones scattered in. The wider the strips of paper, the larger the bead will be. Likewise, the smaller the strip, the smaller the bead. Length really doesn't matter so much, I would guesstimate that you need your strips to be at least six inches long.
To make one bead, you need four strips of paper. You can use the same pattern for all or mix it up. For my demonstration bead I paired two of the same patterned strips with each other. Take two of your strips and match them up vertically (It doesn't have to be perfectly aligned at all). Staple one end together about half an inch from the top.
Next, cut the top off from where you stapled diagonally. I don't know why. Just do it! (for the purposes to help me explain this I will call two strips that are stapled together a "strip couple." haha. Polka-dotted strip couple will be strip couple #1 and floral strip couple will be strip couple #2. Just go with it, okay?) Repeat with your other two strips to make your second strip couple.
Next take your two strip couples and weave them together like so- (I will refer to the strip that is cut shortest within each strip couple the "leading" strip. Your second longer strip will be the "follower") Your strips need to be woven exactly as the picture below, it will not work if you have it going the opposite way. The leading strip of strip couple #2 has to be coming out on the top (hopefully that makes sense?).
Hold one of your strip couple #1 in place with your non-dominant hand. Take your leading strip from strip couple #2 that you brought out on top and bring it down behind your follower. Hold it in place with your non-dominant hand.
Here's where the photos get a little confusing, but it isn't hard I promise! Take your follower strip from strip couple #1. Bring it over it's leader and behind the strip couple #2's leader that you had just brought down beside them both.
Still following? If you got that part down, you basically have the whole thing down! Now take your follower strip couple #2 and bring it down behind the strip from strip couple #1 that you just brought beside it. That sounds super wordy and confusing. Basically you are repeating what you previously did with your leader. Then you repeat what you did with the leftover strip from strip couple #2. Now your strips of paper should be configured like this:
Now your strip couples are basically in the same position that we started in after we wove them together, accept going the opposite way. And then you simply keep repeating this process. Once you get it, you'll GET IT. Be sure to pull your strips tightly, but not too tight to where you rip them. You can also tighten them towards the end as well.
Your paper will start to curl like this after about three times of the weaving process- hooray your bead is taking form! When it does this you can tuck your cut ends into itself.
Once you're able to do this you don't have to do the little weaving thing anymore. For this next step, trial and error may be your best bet. It is still a little confusing to me and I did about 50 of these. take one of your loos strips, look for the corresponding part that is woven in and tuck it under the parts that are already woven. It's not that it's hard, it's just hard to tell where the right place to go is. If you tuck it in the wrong place, it will honestly still take bead form, just might not look as clean.
See how I took this polka dot strip and brought it back to tuck it under the woven floral strip? Once tucked under, just pull it on through!
Continue this with each of the loose strips.
It looks bead-like! Once your bead is formed, you can do one of two things: 1. Just keep tucking and pulling until you run out of strip or 2. cut the loose ends. I say, what do I do with three or so inches of leftover strip of paper? I would just throw it away, so I may as well just give it a purpose. So I choose option #1. I also just think it makes the bead more sturdy. Be sure as you are tucking and pulling to pull tightly enough to keep your bead form.
And Voila! You got you a bead!
Here is an example of how I used them in my home! (don't we look intelligent displaying "The Hobbit" on our coffee table?)
I hope you enjoyed (and understood) this tutorial! Happy crafting!