Monday, June 04, 2007

Make your own paper bead

The top pict is the before pict - before embossing. The bottom pict are the finished ones AE - after embossing. Click on the pict for a larger view.
Well, I saw Kelli Perkins demo it during the Quilt Show. Well, I have to tell you this girlie artist ROCKS! She had some great egg art and I loved the paper beads. This is the first chance I have had to try it for myself. My 6th graders made paper beads in art this year, but they did not make it like this. Kelli is in CPS again in the latest issue. Congratulations! Love your quilt!
This is what you need to make these beads:
scrap paper - colored or printed, I also used some book text. Lightweight paper is better than heavier weight (cardstock weight is too heavy).
gel medium
small, cheap paintbrush
newspaper or other throwaway surface you can use to apply the gel medium to the paper
dowel or other end of a paintbrush - depends on how large you want your bead hole
heat resist pad
heat gun
paper clip
large embossing stamp pad or embossing fluid
clear UTEE
various colors of embossing powder - colored UTEE is too thick for the beads
There is a great color that I used from BMuse called Razberry Dazzle.
It is the most delicious color. There is a gold tint to it after you heat set it.
1. Cut up the scraps into triangles. No wider than about 1" at the base. Can be smaller if you want. The average length was about 8". How fat, how long, or how small your bead is depends on the size of your triangle. Experiment until you find the sizes you like. You might want to roll a few beads before gluing them down. You can also overlap different sized triangles for contrast.
2. Once you have the triangles done, you can start rolling. From the base of the triangle (teacher in me never leaves), give it about an 1" and brush on gel medium from that point to the tip of your triangle. Give the tip a little more gel medium. Starting from the base of the triangle, start rolling your bead until you reach the tip. Do not roll the bead too tightly around the paint brush handle or dowel because it might be harder to take off. Just roll it evenly and smoothly so you don't have a really crooked bead or one that is all wrinkled (happened to me). Take the bead off your dowel and roll it around a few times to make sure the bead is securely glued. You do not have to make it a triangle shape. You can also make it rectangular. I do recommend that one end of your rectangle is smaller than the other. This way, you won't get gel medium all over the place and it will be easier to take off the brush or the dowel. That is why you don't put gel medium within 1" of the base of the triangle or it will be stuck to the dowel.
3. Let the beads dry completely.
4. I put an old towel under the area that I was going to do the embossing. I also have a box dedicated to embossing and color wash. This way, the embossing powder does not fly all over the place when I start up the heat gun. I opened up several bottles of embossing powder, clear UTEE, and had a big embossing stamp pad. I used the same dowel that I used to roll the beads.
There are a few ways you can do this. It depends on whether you mind your embossing colors being contaminated or not. I don't care because I don't use my embossing powders or UTEE too much. In all 3 cases, you put a bead on the end of a dowel or paintbrush. You can switch sides to get both ends embossed.
1. You can roll the bead in embossing ink, dip in embossing powder, heat, do that until you get the colors you want, and then give it a few coats of clear UTEE. This is one that you can use if you don't want to contaminate your embossing colors.
2. You can roll the bead in the embossing ink, give the entire bead a coat of clear UTEE, dip into embossing powder right away while UTEE still hot, heat, dip into an embossing color, heat, dip into another embossing color, heat until you get the colors you want. No need to another coat of clear UTEE unless you want to. I used this one because I liked how the colored embossing powder blended in and swirled around in the clear UTEE. I did get a little color cross-contamination using this method.
3. You can also roll the bead in the embossing ink, in the clear UTEE, heat, wait, roll in stamp pad, dip in colored embossing powder until done. This is the one you would use if you do not want to contaminate your colors.
5. I did the above step #2 with the beads until they were all done. Hints: Use the end of a paper clip and clear the ends of the bead if it is clogged with embossing powder. If you wave the bead around on the dowel a few times, it will cool off enough for you to take it off the dowel or paint brush. Let it cool on a heat resist mat. It you get embossing powder on the dowel, that is okay. Don't wait until the bead is completely cooled. As soon as you can touch the bead without hurting yourself, hold the bottom or middle of bead while twisting the dowel, the bead will come off. You just need to have the bead on the end of the dowel. What I would do was emboss one side, take it off the dowel while holding the cooler middle section and switch ends so the other end could get embossed.
6. Let cool completely.
7. Use as desired.
These would make great bracelets or necklaces. You could also use it in your fiber art or dangle it from an art journal. Put it in your altered book or as an ATC embellishment.
Email me if the directions are not clear. Have fun.
Comments welcome


Kelli said...

Absolutely wonderful, of course! You are such an inspiration Belinda. People have called me productive, but you are a whirlwind. I love everything you do. Your atc's are in a place of prominence in my studio. Art on! Kelli

Beth said...


Your beads look great. I have made alot of them and I also embossed them. I melted some embossing powder in my melting pot and dipped them into that. Then I stuck the stick that I dipped them with onto a piece of styrofoam and let them dry. They came off the stick really easily. Also, you might want to try material. I have made some with material and stamped on the material before I rolled them up. I didn't emboss those but used some glossy accents to make them stiff and shiny. Your paper ones are awesome!

Anne said...

Vous avez choisi des couleurs chatoyantes !! j'aime beaucoup !!!!!

Patty M said...

These turned out Great Belinda. I am going to give them a try for adding to my Quilt Swap with Sherre. Thank you for sharing the how to's. Love the collages and I am going to try the AB also, if time permits. LOL

Elizabeth said...

These are beautiful Belinda! Ive been making these for awhile and using laquer to seal but I love the UTEE aspect of it. I also make thme with painted and stamped fabric. I am going to try adding UTEE ti that process as well!!
As usual, terrific work! thanks for posting it!!

Cre8Tiva said...

thanks for shring this...i used to make them but love this new twist...beautiful work...blessings, rebecca

Sarah S./GreenEye Designs said...

This is the most comprehensive set of instructions I have seen for this beadmaking technique. I have some of the materials but have hesitated to try it because I didn't feel I understood the process well enough. Thanks for making it clearer.

Sarah S.