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Paper Beads – What’s It All About?

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Paper beads are so simple to make if you have the right tool and a bit of know how.

Since I discovered the versatility and creativity of making paper beads to create pretty jewellery pieces, I have been hooked.

Back in the 70s, I discovered this amazing craft and it gradually became one of favourite crafting activities.

Making these beads has been an obsession of mine for decades.

It began when I was taught the craft by a Canadian friend while living in Toronto.

paper beads

In more recent years, I started sharing my passion with others.

When I was learning how to use paper strips to create beautiful beads, I had no idea of the irony.

Me, an English girl abroad, being taught an old Victorian craft that I now find orginated in my own country.

Having not heard of it before I left England, I am grateful to my friend for teaching me paper beading.

People were always asking me how I make my beads.

And as I have enjoyed this hobby so much, I love sharing my passion with people eager to learn.

And so I have many paper bead videos on my crafting YouTube channel.

My bracelets intrigue a lot of people who don’t realise they are made of paper.

Many people comment on the bracelets I wear saying how pretty and unusual they are. When I tell them the bracelets are made from paper, they are always shocked. The jewellery I make is created using a variety of techniques and materials.

paper beads

To make the beads, I use plain paper, my own art work, junk mail, magazine pages and paper bags.

There is practically nothing in the paper line that I won’t consider for making my beads. 

I love to buy people birthday cards and use the paper bag to make a bracelet.

I’m not mean – I just love making something pretty out of junk we usually screw up and throw away. I love making it into something beautiful to wear.

The birthday cards from my local shop always come in a pretty paper bag made of colourful paper.

I open the bag out and use it to make pretty beads.

One small bag makes enough beads to create a double strand bracelet. I add my own tiny gold beads and a charm and it makes a beautiful, unusual gift.

paper beads
paper beads

I took one of the paper bags to a workshop, along with a bracelet I had made from one.

People were really surprised at how delicate and pretty it looked while being durable enough to wear.

The workshop that followed was fun and productive.

I then held a second  one for them later in the month so they could complete their projects.

By the end of the second workshop, each person had made their own bracelet. At the start, they had been in awe of my little box full of paper bead jewellery.

They assumed it would be hard to for them to make similar pieces. But once they knew the technique, they were all converts to paper bead making!

paper beads
Paper bead bracelets made by the women in my workshop after only two sessions.
paper beads
Paper bead workshop

I keep my workshops to 10 people or less.

(Please note, in 2024, I am currently not running in person classes.)

Then I can give plenty of one to one help.

When people first see the bracelets I make, their first reaction is ‘wow, I couldn’t do that! How do you make beads like that from paper?’

But once they understand the process, they are making their own beads within the hour.

And then they can’t wait to go off and experiment with their own designs.

There is an infinite variety of designs and shapes you can make in paper beads. The limit is really just your own imagination.

The key  to successful paper beads making is having the right tool.

When I first began making my own very crude tools to make the beads, I used split bamboo.

That worked ok but the beads were not always easy to remove once finished. They would get stuck and pull the centre out of the bead sometimes – very annoying!

So I worked hard to create the perfect paper beading tool to make the process enjoyable instead of frustrating.

I used my own paper bead tools for many years.

Then I began selling them to my workshop students.

But once the internet arrived and I became familar with online selling, the world really opened up to me. I began selling my tools online.

Then I branched out into downloadable paper bead strip templates.

It made life easier for crafters who hated all the measuring and drawing lines.

My bead tools have been through many changes of handles in the last twenty plus years.

Recently I have come back to one of my original handles which has a gentle curve.

People tell me they prefer the chunkier, curved handle, particularly older people who have conditions that affect their hands.

More recently, I have added a paper bead strip stencil to my range of paper bead supplies.

DIY earrings
paper bead techniques

If you are interested in my paper bead products, message me on Instagram.

Due to issues with the domestic v international postage labelling system, I no longer sell my tools on etsy.

See more on how to use my paper bead strip stencils by following this link.

There a several videos on my YouTube channel that show how to make paper beads.

If you visit my channel Rainbow Lane, you can scroll through my videos and find them.

And you will soon be making your own paper bead jewelry with ease.

Do you want to try a new hobby that is fun, creative and reasonably inexpensive?

Then paper bead making could be for you.

Compared to many other hobbies, paper bead making is fairly inexpensive.

You can use junk mail and scrap paper – so what are you waiting for – jump right in!

If you want to know more about me and this blog, please click here.