Thursday, March 29, 2012

Mother's day rolled paper bracelet

I carried on with my rolled paper beads theme to make this bracelet for a mother's day present: 

I made straight beads rather than the usual sort of tapered oval/bicone ones, by rolling rectangles of paper instead of triangles. It's slightly fiddlier in that you have to get the paper exactly straight to start with, with no room for error, and also the pattern will show on the outside of the roll much more obviously so you have to bear that in mind when choosing paper. I used an advert for a Honda car, which has lots of shades of purple in it. I alternated which end of the paper came out on top for a variety of bead colours.

Then I decided to do something a little bit different from just stringing them together, and did this sort of ladder design. The beads are side-by-side, rather than end-to-end. It's quite simple to do, but mine was massively complicated by the fact that I didn't have any proper bead-stringing thread and had to use embroidery thread. I wanted to use a cotton cord, but all the ones I've got were too thick to go through the beads twice (as it has to for this design) and far too thick to go through the fastener, and we don't have any bead shops to get more from in Newcastle. None at all. Not one. So, embroidery thread it was, the benefit of which is that it comes in every shade in the world so you can pick the right one. Combined with some nice purple beads for the ends, I was happy with the colours.

To make the bracelet, you have to start from the middle of the thread so that you have two ends (on needles is easiest, though dangerous). Each time you add a paper bead, you need to thread each end first through a seed bead, then each end goes through the paper bead, from opposite ends of the bead so that the threads cross over inside the bead. Once you get into it it's quite a quick process (though using embroidery thread means it keeps on getting knotted and splitting - don't use this).

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Making paper beads

It's both my aunts' birthdays in early March, and this year I made them both necklaces made of paper beads. These are so easy to make (if a little bit of a faff) and they look great (if I do say so myself). 

If you're not keen on making them, you can very easily buy them. Get them from a supplier like this one and give some money to Ugandan women at the same time. If, however, you'd prefer to make your own, there are lots of Youtube videos and online tutorials to show you how, so I'm not going to do that here. This is a good, simple set of instructions if you want them. 

I made two very different necklaces with mine. For one aunt, I made them from Peter Capaldi. Magazine pages are good type of paper to use, as they're thin and glossy and good colours. I chose Peter because I thought my aunt would like the resulting beads - mostly dark grey, with pinkish highlights. Here he is being cut into triangles:

Peter Capaldi in the Radio Times being cut into triangles

Then I rolled them up, glued them and left them to dry, then varnished them. If you put them on cocktail sticks this is much easier to do. Mr T came up with this great idea for a stand, scrumpled up tinfoil:

Beads drying on cocktail sticks

Once varnished (two coats) and dry, they look like this:

Finished varnished paper beads

I strang them with grey seed beads in between, and a few silver-coloured metal ones at the front. They're from an African stall at Portobello Road market in London:

The finished necklace

For my other aunt, I used normal white paper and coloured it with permanent marker. You only need to colour the edges of the paper where it'll show when it's rolled, not the whole triangle. Then I did the same as with the Capaldi ones:

Beads drying

And I strang these ones with blue and red seed beads, and chips of malachite for super-bright contrast:

The finished paper bead and malachite necklace