Ask CRAFT: Consistent Paper Beads

Craft & Design Paper Crafts

Lisa from Greece writes in:

I am fairly new to making paper beads but completely hooked. My only problem is – how the heck can I be assured of making the same shape time after time? Most of my beads are longish but I would love to make small, roundish ones to put between the long ones. Can you help?

Paper beads are all about the triangle of paper wound around a spindle, making a tapered effect along the length of the bead. The geometry of this triangle will determine the ultimate shape of your bead, so play around with the dimensions to get what you want. To achieve the standard look, like pictured above, use a triangle whose base is about 1/7th the height (for example, one inch wide and seven inches long). To create rounder beads, you’ll want a more extreme taper along the length of the bead once it’s rolled, so narrow the base of the triangle. The result will be shorter, squatter beads. The base dimension will end up being the ultimate length of your bead once it’s strung, so keep that in mind. Try making very long triangles (1/2 inch wide and 10 inches long, for example) for a roundish bead. As for consistency, make sure you’re winding the beads on the same spindle always (if you started with a toothpick, always use a toothpick of the same diameter), and try to keep your work centered on itself as you wind. If you start with pieces of paper that are the same size and shape, that will be a lot easier. Let us know how your beads turn out, and send us pictures! Here are some paper bead tutorials to check out, too:

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Becky Stern is a Content Creator at Autodesk/Instructables, and part time faculty at New York’s School of Visual Arts Products of Design grad program. Making and sharing are her two biggest passions, and she's created hundreds of free online DIY tutorials and videos, mostly about technology and its intersection with crafts. Find her @bekathwia on YouTube/Twitter/Instagram.

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