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DIY Paper Beads: Magazine and Catalog Bicone Bead Examples - Part 2

In Part 1 of this series, we looked at magazine and catalog images that were nice, neat rectangles but contained patterns/images that were irregular (i.e., not a repeating pattern like scrapbook paper), producing sets of beads that were different from each other to varying degrees, though they coordinated well.

Today I will address two other common types of magazine and catalog image situations:

(1) You are only interested in part of the image;

(2) The image contains colors you don't want/like for your beads.

(As a reminder, the tutorial is here.)

Let's get started!

You are interested in part of the image: Example 1

This large image from a Lands End catalog contains a nice broad area of a mostly-regular red and navy check/houndstooth pattern that I think would make a very nice set of beads! But the shirt area of the image is not a nice and neat rectangle that can be cut out from the page. No can cut the image to create your own rectangular sheet for making the bicone strips.

How you decide to cut the rectangle from the image is up to you. I didn't mind the idea of getting part of the shirt's button up placard in my sheet but I did want to remove the solid navy collar. Just use your ruler / cutting mat / paper cutter to make a rectangle with straight edges and as close to 90 degree corners as possible. It's OK to just eyeball it to cut a section away from the page to work with if you want to, but be sure to clean up that section to be a good rectangle before you start cutting your strips! Cut the triangular strips as we always do for bicone beads following the directions in the tutorial. The first cut from the corner is half the desired width (e.g., 0.5" if making 1" bicones) to set up the correct angle, then corner to full width (e.g., 1") after that.

Here's that image again...

The right side of this photo shows you some of the 1" bicone strips that I will use to make beads for a bracelet. These all have a nice mostly-regular print on them that should roll up well into beads.

Here's how the 1" bicone beads turned out, compared to the original print on the shirt on the paper below them. The pattern on the beads is not as neatly delineated as in the original print, but because the print is small in scale, it still bears a reasonably strong resemblance to the check/houndstooth pattern.

I added 5mm red glass pearls as spacers to make a stretch bracelet with 7 of the beads.

You are interested in part of the image: Example 2

I really liked the navy and white floral print on the bedspread, again from a Lands End catalog. As with the check shirt in Example 1, it covers a good area of the page but is not already a rectangular shape. With this page, I picked a spot at the upper right of the bedspread to be the corner of my rectangle (around the 7" mark at the bottom and the 5" mark at the side) and then cut out the rectangle. I stayed within the area of the bedspread because I wanted my strips to come entirely from the floral print. But if I was OK with having more variable strips/beads, I could have included more of the bedding in my rectangle or even used the entire image.

I made mostly smaller 0.5" bicones from this sheet. Notice that the strips are entirely from the bedspread's floral print as desired, though the folds and shadows from the image do come through. These "imperfections" that come with using a photograph of a 3D object rather than a flat print designed for paper don't bother me at all. I think of them as part of natural, organic element of paper beads, adding extra depth and interest to the final result, and chalk up the small deviations from the norm as part of their "freedom to vary."

This is how the beads rolled up, compared to the original floral print. An interesting thing to notice here is that I made both 0.5" wide bicones and 1" wide bicones from strips of paper that were the same length...and though the difference is quite subtle, the resulting pattern on the 0.5" beads is a bit "blurrier" than on the 1" beads because the edge area that shows on the 0.5" bead is narrower and the image is more chopped up. (If you're like, Eh, I don't see worries. The difference is tiny.) As we've seen before, the fact that the original paper was a floral print is completely lost once the beads are rolled up. This floral print was larger in scale than the navy/red check/houndstooth shirt in Example 1 so less of the detail comes through in the final bead.

The 0.5" bicone beads made a very nice stretch bracelet when combined with silver cube spacer beads and a flat silver flower bead for interest. (Even though the floral print of the paper was lost, I managed to get that flower element in there anyway!) I typically use 7 1" beads to make a bracelet but 12 0.5" beads. That's 7 total inches of paper beads vs. 6 total inches because using more paper beads means more spacer beads too. If you decide to make stretch bracelets with your paper beads, you will have to experiment to find what the right numbers are for you in the various widths of paper beads you make. So far I have only done 0.5" and 1".

You are interested in part of the image: Example 3

I just LOVED this photo of a gorgeous elaborate floral necklace made from seed beads (a silver medal winner in a contest) that appeared in the Fire Mountain Gems catalog. Of course the necklace itself is just stunning, but as we have seen, the details of an image get lost when making bicone beads...fortunately the color scheme is also beautiful and just what I was looking for. But awkwardly, there were areas of text on a white background mixed in with the pretty necklace and green background! So I had to create my own rectangular sheet, avoiding the text parts. My first rectangle was the lower left section of the image as oriented here, starting below the pricing box at the top and the information about the necklace creator in the middle. I was able to cut a rectangle a little over 5" tall and about 4.5" wide.

I was able to get 7 1" bicone strips from that rectangle plus the two extra end pieces.

But I wasn't done with this paper! I still had a couple pieces left over to work with.

I cut the two sections to the same height, stopping just below the text box on the larger section, so that I could cut strips from both sections that would roll up to the same size.

I turned those two sections into the 0.5" bicone strips on the right.

Here is how the beads turned out...the 0.5" bicones on the left and the 1" bicones on the right. It's a little more apparent here than in Example 2 that the narrower bicones have...well, smaller "pixels" of image showing than the wider bicones have. Do you see what I mean? In any case, both sets turned out quite well!

And yes, I turned the 7 1" bicone paper beads and half a dozen 6mm wine agate beads into a stretch bracelet! (Some day I will venture into other paper bead jewelry territory, but for now I'm loving these easy stretch bracelets.)

That sums up the "you are only interested in part of the image" portion of this post...let's move on to the second scenario:

The image contains colors you don't want/like for your beads - Example A

After making the navy/red check/houndstooth and the navy/white floral bedspread beads above, I wanted to make a third bracelet with a navy/dark blue/red color scheme to accompany them as a set. This full-page photo from (yet again) a Lands End catalog struck my eye due to its colors and its size. But I wasn't sure how the extraneous colors from the skin tones, background, and white areas would look.

I cut my 1" bicone strips vertically and this is what I came up with. Eh...that's a lot of faces and teeth and hands and expanses of white...not going to make the boldly colored beads I'm looking for.

So I revisited this concept: the only parts of the paper strip that will be visible once it is rolled into a bead are roughly indicated by the blue color on this diagram...i.e., the edges and the tip. If I could fix up those areas on the strips, I'd be good to go.

The two methods I've used to fix up my strips are acrylic paint and permanent markers. The scrap paper I use to protect my countertop from the paint and markers does a good job of showing you that the metallic paint provides a wash of color that doesn't completely cover the image/text on the paper. The markers, like the black you can see at the top of the paper, are not entirely opaque but are close to it. You could also use opaque acrylic paint, of course, for more coverage.

For these strips, I used the red and navy markers from the giant marker set I bought on Amazon (72 markers for $20). I added color to the edges and the tips where skin or white sections were showing. I don't know precisely how much to cover so I erred on the side of covering a little more with the markers than I thought would show. Are the colors from my markers exactly the same as those on the printed strips? Nope, but it really doesn't matter! This is a case where the fact that bicone beads obscure the details works in our favor. As long as it's a similar color, it will blend in. And naturally I argue that to the extent it is a bit different, it adds depth and interest to the resulting beads!

Here they are all rolled up. The top bead is made from a strip that I didn't color with the markers. It still has the white areas and skin tones from the original image. It doesn't look bad at all, but it's not nearly as bold-looking as the other beads rolled from strips I'd fixed up with the red and navy markers! Those beads have the rich depth of color that I had envisioned for this particular project.

Two coats of Diamond Glaze made the colors look even more saturated, and the bracelet with simple round silver spacer beads turned out great.

The image contains colors you don't want/like for your beads - Example B

I loved the color scheme of this sweater + scarf image on the cover of a Coldwater Creek catalog but there sure is a lot of other extraneous colors and text to deal with here. I cut a rectangle that started at the lower left corner up to a point below the red box and to the left of the blue box. So this rectangle had both the desired pink + blue + grey section and some extra area of brown and white.

The triangular strips I cut looked pretty good for the most part, but I realized that even in the strips without the brown, the pink and blue areas were small and were not going to have the colorful impact I wanted. Markers to the rescue!

I actually did two different things to doctor these strips. First, I added pink and blue to the edges and tips of most of the strips. I didn't fully cover all the white and grey areas, but added more of the color to make the ratio of colors to neutrals more even. Second, because I was using strips cut from the cover of a catalog, which was somewhat thicker than a normal magazine or catalog page, I used a metallic silver marker along the cut edges of the strips on both sides of the triangle. See, when you cut your strips, you get a white cross-section on the sides of the strips. An advantage of the typical thin magazine or catalog paper is that it's so thin that the white cross-section is not much of a factor. But when using heavier paper, that white core shows up when you roll your beads. So unless the white works with your vision for your beads, it's a good idea to color them in some way. I thought the silver metallic would coordinate well with the color scheme. It's not only OK if some of the color gets onto the top of the strip as well as the side, it actually looks pretty cool that way! Again, you don't have to do this perfectly, so don't stress. You'll experiment with different things and figure out what you like.

The result of those silvered edges is apparent in the beads on the left...they have thin silvery stripes. The beads on the right are made from the mostly brown strips above that I didn't color in any way, and you can see that the white color from the cross-section of the paper is coming through on the ridges. Again, there's nothing inherently wrong with the white ridges; it's all a matter of your preferences and how the white works with the overall color scheme and pattern of your beads.

Shockingly, these 7 beads with the silvered edges somehow turned themselves into a stretch bracelet with round silver spacer beads!


(1) If you only want to use part of the image, cut yourself a rectangle including the areas you like.

(2) If your strips contain colors you don't want for your beads, use markers or acrylic paint to doctor them up on the tips and along the edges that are visible when a bicone strip is rolled.

(3) If you use thicker paper, like a magazine cover, you might want to color the sides of your strip so that the white core of the paper doesn't show when the bead is rolled; then again, the white might look just fine to you.

(4) Experiment!

And remember, if you have a print that you absolutely love and want to feature on the bead, the bicone bead shape is not your best option because the print gets chopped up and obscured. I will discuss my favored alternative, the tube bead, in my next paper bead post.

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