DIY: Hand Rolled Paper Bead Necklace

I am fascinated by crafts that recycle something old into something new!

So today I’m going to share with you how to make rolled paper beads out of both scrapbook paper/cardstock and out of magazine pages!  These are fun and easy to make.  I also think that they are pretty and unusual.

I want to thank Walmart for giving me the opportunity to make these beads as part of the Mother’s Day craft challenge-I think that they make a lovely gift for any woman in your life~especially your mother!

Now let’s get started!  Your materials are simple and can be found either around the house or in the craft aisle at Walmart:

Paper (cardstock and/or magazine pages)
Mod Podge
Glue sticks (the kids ones are fine)
Scissors or a paper cutter

When you make rolled paper beans you start out with triangles that go the entire width of the paper alternating sides like this:

Sorry, I know it’s not the easiest to see!  The end result you want is a bunch of long thin triangles that are all the same side-and by alternating them you use up all the paper most efficiently.

Start out by, on the wrong side of the paper,  going all along one edge and marking a little dot or hashmark for the width of the beads-I used a half an inch:

Now flip the paper around to the other side.  If you mark the first mark at a half inch again you are going to wind up with strips where the top and the bottom are the same width-you don’t want that!  You want the very first hashmark on this side to fall in the middle of the two hashmarks on the other side. . . so start out by measuring that first mark at one quarter of an inch-then from THAT p0int you continue on with every half inch.

Now you take a long ruler and play connect the dots!

Then you simply cut along the lines with a paper cutter or scissors.

Cardstock is a bit thick, so to make rolling them easier it’s a good idea to “condition” them by running them along a pen or pencil to start them curving.

Now you find something to roll around.  Remember, the thickness of this item determines how big the hole in the center of your bead will be.  I used this cable needle from my knitting kit.  I’ve also used bamboo skewers.

You just wrap the wide end around and start rolling the bead up.  I like to use my nails to sort of push things around a bit if they don’t look centered enough.  When I’ve got about an inch or so left, I run a plain old gluestick over the paper and then continue to wrap.  Don’t worry, I’ve got a picture of that later.

This entire rolling process is a great thing to do sitting on the couch watching tv in the evening.  It’s pretty brainless once you get going!  Just use a tray (or a cookie sheet) as a crafting table on your lap and have a small bowl or something to toss the completed beads into as you go.

Now for the magazine pages we do the same process.  Magazine/catalog paper is much thinner than card stock-and I wanted my beads to be of roughly the same diameter, so I started out by gluing two catalog pages together, end to end.

Notice I chose pages that had mainly coral tones that would compliment my scrapbook paper!  Once the glue was dry I went through the same process of marking the edges and drawing the lines for the triangle.  Again-I did this on the WRONG side of the paper.  This is important because otherwise your pen marks will actually show on the bead-which can be a neat effect but not one I was looking for here.

The two magazine pages end to end were much longer than the nifty paper cutter I bought at Walmart, so I just used my scissors.

I went through the same process for rolling the beads-you have to be a bit more careful with magazine paper as it will tear if you pull too hard!

When I got near the end I would just lay the tip of the triangle on some scrap paper, then run the glue stick over the inside of it.  Finish rolling and the paper sticks making a bead.

Once all my beads were done it was time to help harden them and make them a bit water resistant (I would not assume in any way shape or form that these are waterproof!).

First I strung the beads on some fishing line and tied a knot. You don’t want to use anything absorbent like twine or yarn here-the glue will soak into both the paper and the twine and you’ll never get them off!  Trust me-fishing line or wire is the best.  If you really had to you could probably toss them in unstrung then somehow put each bead on a toothpick and stick it in some Styrofoam or something. . . but that sounds like such a pain.

Mix some Mod Podge 50/50 with water in a disposable container (this was cottage cheese) then dip the entire strand of beads in and completely submerge them.  I used a plastic spoon to ladle more over them.

Pull them out and hang them from something to drip and dry.  I used a cabinet knob.

After an hour or so move the beads around to make sure they aren’t stuck to each other or the fishing line.

When they are completely dry move them all around, break apart any that have stuck together and then repeat the dipping & drying process.  I like about 3 full coats on mine.  I did the same with the magazine beads as well!

When I was all done I simply strung the beads on some jewelery elastic-I tied a double knot and then used a drop of superglue to make sure the knot would stay.  When the superglue was dry I cut off the extra and then pulled the beads over to cover the knot.

For the earrings I just threaded the three beads over an eye-pin (you might have to use a small bead at the end to keep them from just sliding off the end). I created another loop at the top and attached them to the earring wire.  Easy Peasy.

There you have it, a unique, easy and artistic gift that is also extremely inexpensive!  And you still have time to make one yourself before Mother’s Day!

And as a side note-how do you guys like the way I format these tutorials? Are there too many pictures? Do explain things well enough for you to really feel like you know how to accomplish them? Would you like something like an actual materials list with prices from Walmart or are you happy just to know what I used? I’d love some feedback so I can continue to improve them!

****This is a sponsored post****
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post I am participating in with the Walmart Moms. Walmart has provided me with compensation for this post. My participation is voluntary and opinions, as always are my own.
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  1. Gretchen Gerth says

    We made these when I was in Girl Scouts many, many years ago. Our leader had wall paper samples from a local store that we used to make the beads. I haven’t thought about these in years.

  2. says

    Nice looking result Jenn! I think I will put this on my list of projects for next winter. And the tutorial seems nice and clear to me.

  3. Wanda Bowen says

    Great tutorial. I made this probably 35 years ago with my Mom! We used toothpicks to dip them! It took forever. I am going to do this again. Thanks for the tutorial! You did a great job

    • Loralee says

      The beads look very nice. (I, too, made them years ago as a kid…) I am wondering if the smaller beads on the necklace in the picture are the magazine page beads. It wasn’t clear exactly how they would end up different…

      • says

        Yes-the smaller beads are the magazine pages. There are two things that effect the size/thickness of the beads-the thickness of the paper and the length of the triangle you start with. Card stock is thick, so to get anywhere. Lose to the same thickness I had to make the triangles for the magazine page beads twice as long…and they still aren’t as thick. I also intentionally made the base of the magazine page beads a bit narrower to make them shorter side to side because I thought it would look more pleasing that way :)

  4. PegThayer says

    I thought the tutorial was great. I like the photos as well as the written. I have a craft group a work with of retired ladies and I think they will love this!!! Thank you.

    • says

      Peg-so glad you enjoyed it! It would be a great project for a group-they can do plenty of chatting and still get it done :) One thing I would mention for the craft group-I don’t know how “retired” the ladies are but if anyone has arthritis in their hands I am going to guess that the rolling part would be tough on them.

  5. says

    I think your instructions are great, my only question to you is, when you string all those
    beads on fishing line and then put them in your solution of Modge Podge how do you
    keep them from sticking and getting clumps of the glue on the bottom each bead? I have tried this and it was a disaster, I strung the line across a box so the beads would not touch but they got all clumpy. Could use some instructions about what I did wrong. I used the Triple Thick glazed that was watered down about 60/40. I am addicted to making these beads but am not sure how to get them glazed. I can use all the help you can give me.

    • says

      I strung them like a necklace and dipped them in the glaze, then I hung them over a knob to drip and dry. I found that several thin coats were best, and after they started to dry (ie weren’t sticky to the touch anymore) I’d start basically separating them and sliding them along the fishing line. You just can’t leave them there until fully dry :) you have to pull them gently apart and move them around as they dry a couple of times to get a good result. Good luck!


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