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  • Writer's picturesallyinstpaul

DIY Paper Beads: Magazine and Catalog Tube Bead Examples - Part 1

In my tube paper bead tutorial, I demonstrated the technique of cutting and rolling the beads using this photo of a plaid fleece dress in a Lands End catalog because the nice thing about tube beads is that only the end of the paper strip will show; all the white area with black text in the catalog will be covered when the bead is rolled.

I showed how easy it is to cut the paper in this way...

...and roll it to produce a smooth tube bead (with white ends that you can paint before glazing).

I painted the ends of the beads with red metallic acrylic paint and strung them with white pearl beads on stretchy cord to produce a simple but striking bracelet. I use around 12 0.5" tube beads to make a bracelet, which means I need 6" of paper with the desired color/print on it.

But sometimes you want to make beads from an area of paper where you don't have a 6" length to work with. Today I want to discuss a method for making a small area of desired paper stretch to make many more beads than you might have thought possible. Let's get to it!

Example 1

I loved this photo of peacock feather findings in the Fire Mountain Beads catalog. (Of course, using a bead catalog to make paper beads feels very appropriate, right?) But as you can see from the ruler at the bottom, I only have about 4" of peacock image available to me, which would make only 8 beads instead of 12.

The trick to making this work is glue your desired paper to the end of another sheet of paper and cut the strips from that. Here are the steps.

(1) I trimmed away all the excess paper to create a rectangular sheet with the peacock print.

(2) I cut the peacock image into four smaller rectangular sections. That gave me plenty of width to work with...close to 8" total.

(3) I found a fresh magazine page to attach the feather images to, and I placed a slick magazine cover underneath to protect my mat from the glue. Note that this is just a plain thin magazine page from The Economist, a weekly magazine that supplies me a lot of boring paper. (I'm sure they would love that characterization, haha!) But remember that the thicker the paper, the chunkier the bead, so I could have used a thicker paper (e.g., my alumni magazine page) if I wanted a fat bead. You don't have to match the thickness of the boring paper and the fancy paper; one can be thicker than the other and it will be fine. This allows you greater control over the end result.

(4) I glued the fancy peacock paper to the ends of the boring paper using regular Elmer's glue and a slightly damp paintbrush. You don't need a huge amount of overlap between the fancy paper and boring paper; as you can see here, I overlapped the two pieces about a third of an inch, maybe? The more you overlap the papers here, and the more glue you use, the thicker and stiffer that section of your strip will be. When it gets too thick/stiff, it's hard to roll. So use enough glue and overlap your pages enough to have a secure connection but don't go overboard with it.

Note that you don't have to perfectly align the fancy paper to the boring paper at the edge or anything. You're just making an extension of the boring paper with a fancy end section that you will then cut into rectangular strips as usual in the next step. You can cut any funky unaligned edge sections away when you start cutting the strips.

(5) Once the glue is dry, I cut my 0.5" rectangular strips from this two-part sheet of paper...with the fancy feather image at the end of the strip, of course.

(6) Here are my final strips. (For some reason, I have 11 of them instead of 12. Oops! No worries, I'll make it work.)

At this point, you roll, glue, paint, and glaze just as described in the tutorial. Two things I'll mention:

(1) When you reach the end where your two pieces of paper were glued together, you may need to add a little bit more glue between the two papers because they can come loose. It's not a big deal if that happens; just dot on a little glue to reinforce the connection.

(2) When you are rolling the glued part around your bead roller, you may need to finesse the paper somewhat to get it to roll nice and smooth. As mentioned before, the paper can be stiff where it's glued, and thus not as easy to roll. But again, it's not a big deal even if you don't get your bead to be perfectly rounded right at that point. Paper beads are robust to all kinds of imperfections in their creation!

Here is how my bracelet using the feather image turned out. I painted the ends with peacock blue metallic acrylic paint, and since I only had 11 beads, I used somewhat larger spacer beads to get my desired length of bracelet.

Example 2

In Example 2 in this DIY bicone paper bead post, I showed how I made the mint/black bicone beads in the upper right from a magazine image of a painting of a man and birds. I wanted to make a pair of stacking bracelets using those bicone beads for one and tube beads for the other. When I found this sweatshirt image in a Coldwater Creek catalog, I thought the colors and the details of the print would make a terrific tube bead bracelet.

As I've mentioned before, one great thing about catalogs is that you often get more than one catalog with the same items for sale. In this case, I had two copies of the sweatshirt image to work with from consecutive issues of the Coldwater Creek catalog.

I cut rectangles from the catalog pages, isolating the desired part of the sweatshirt image with the dark trees and the wash of mint and teal colors in the background. Now if I were to cut strips on these pages across, I could get 10 0.5" strips, 5 from each page. But that's not the orientation I wanted for the strips. I wanted to take advantage of the array of light to dark colors and orient the images this way but cut strips up and down. In other words, I wanted to cut strips in the opposite direction of how the page was laid out. I didn't realize this until I had already cut away the excess catalog paper!

So I cut away even more excess paper until I had the primo section in two rectangular pieces. I have a total of 7"+ in width from these two pieces.

As in Example 1, I glued these fancy paper sections to the ends of some boring magazine paper.

My strips turned out like this...with the desired variation in color from the light to dark areas of the image.

When I made my bracelet, I alternated between lighter and darker paper beads, which I think is an interesting visual effect.

Here's how the two bracelets look together. I like the combination of bicone and tube paper beads in a coordinated set!


Because only the very end of the tube paper strip will show on the rolled bead, you can glue a piece of fancy paper to the end of a piece of boring paper to make a larger two-part page for cutting strips. Today we saw how this played out in two scenarios:

(1) Your desired image is too small to create the number of beads needed, so you cut it up into even smaller sections and glue them to the ends of boring paper.

(2) Your desired orientation of the strips is in the opposite direction of how the page is laid out, so you cut out the primo section(s) and glue them to the ends of boring paper.

Now there's certainly no law that says you must use boring paper for the covered up part of the strip, but I don't see any point in wasting fancy paper here! This is a great time to use up some paper that would otherwise just get recycled.

If you would like to see a video tutorial using a variation of the "glue a small amount of fancy paper to the end of boring paper and cut your tube strips from it" method, this under 9 minute video on YouTube from Darlene's Crafty Crew is a good one. She shows how to use 3 layers of magazine paper to create really chunky beads, but obviously you can do it with just one.

I actually tried it using 3 layers and man, that makes some chunky beads, even using a regular paper bead roller. This bracelet has 8.5mm tube paper beads (using Darlene's method of 3 layers) and 6mm spacer beads, compared to the 4.5mm tube paper beads in the peacock bracelet. I also found the strips lumpy and a bit hard to roll with 3 layers glued together, but the end result was still cute! However, be warned that you do end up using quite a bit of glue if you glue your layers of paper together. I am thinking that if I want to make a chunky bead like this again, I might try gluing the ends of the pages to make a really long single layer instead of a thick 3 layer sheet. Of course the long strips will then take longer to roll, but it might be worth it to me to use so much less glue and have less rigid strips. As always, we figure these things out with experimentation!

I have made so many paper bead bracelets's a lot of fun to make them, but it's also fun to plan them out. In my next paper bead post, I would like to share some more of the coordinated sets of stackable DIY bracelets I've made using bicone paper beads, tube paper beads, and purchased glass/stone beads.

Blogs I link up with are listed here.

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