I made a ton of paper beads in 2006 for a paper dress competition. Here is the winning dress!

And here is the corresponding paper bead tutorial that you know you love. You’re welcome.

paper dress










Here’s how you get on the paper love train and make some of those pretty little things:

FIRSTLY- The motto of bead making and/or life- Just roll, baby. Just roll.

Step 1: The first step to making paper beads is cutting. The method used here is an exacto knife and a long ruler. You could also use scissors. Keep in mind that if you draw lines for cutting these will show up on your beads. Make marks at each end of the paper to ensure a true triangle for a tapered bead. If you want to make a 1 inch bead- at the top of your paper mark one inch in from the edge. At the bottom, mark 1/2 inch in from the edge. Then, mark 1 inch intervals from here at both top and bottom of your sheet. With your ruler, connect the two points and cut. The cutting will alternate between the tapered end being at the bottom and the top.


Below are some examples of ways to cut the paper to make different beads.




Step 2: Roll the paper strip on something cylindrical. For example – a knitting needle, a pen, a thin paint brush, or whatever else circular that will make the desired bead. For a symmetrical bead, try to keep the paper centered.




Step 3:To finish the bead, spread a small amount of white school glue on the final inch of paper. Continue rolling the paper around, spreading the excess glue onto the bead. You will get gluey hands.








 Step 4: The bead should be solid. Slide it off the needle.



Step 5: To varnish the bead- hold it in a pair of thin tweezers and paint on the varnish of choice. Here a varathane wood varnish is used, other options are white school glue diluted with water (as in paper-mache) or liquid wax. Cover the bead with the finish and let it dry. To  be extra efficient, make the beads in batches and varnish them all at once.









p 6: Here is the apparatus used to dry the varnished beads. It is a styrofoam cup with wooden skewers (bought at the dollar store) poked through. Through trial and error, it is best to take the beads off before they are completely dry, to prevent sticking. The varnish may get on the inside of the bead, and if it is left to dry, when removed it may unravel from the inside, which is painful. Here, a mark has been made at a point on the cup, and the beads are put on the sticks from this point, clockwise . Once all the skewers have been filled around the cup the first beads varnished are usually ready to take off and transfer to a parchment or waxpaper sheet to dry completely. The beads should generally not be left on the skewers more than 30 minutes.


Making paper beads is a fun and addictive way to pass the time. Different paper will produce different beads – try newspaper, magazines, wallpaper, wrapping paper, flyers … there are many different possibilities for many beautiful beads!

The End

 My Messy Self and my Hubby at the NOW Anniversary Party- notice the paper bead necklace. Quite a statement if you ask me!