Fresh Friday – DIY Edition (Paper Beading)

I am an unapologetic crafter. I have probably a dozen or so projects either in the midst of completion or just floating around my brain…scary. My husband would probably agree. I have a crafting room that is still being put together – the problem is that as I go through my stuff to get more organized, I find new projects and ideas. It’s a sad, vicious cycle.

Recently, I’ve been trying to figure out ways to widen my scope by inviting others to join me, especially from our church. I’m still getting to know the members up here (just started attending when we got married), and crafting is a nice, casual way to hang out and fellowship.  The first attempt was a craft I learned from my sister as a little kid. Seriously, I think I was 8 yrs old when she taught me how to make these, and I still have the thought in the back of my mind that it’s a little kid craft, BUT it is definitely something that can be jazzed up and done very creatively.  It is also a repurposing craft, which is something I LOVE!

Here we go!

The best kind of paper for paper beading is magazine paper. It is thin, flexible, and general has a lot of color on it. If you’ve ever paid attention to a magazine advertisement or just a story with lots of photographs in it, they will generally have colors that go well together. You want to avoid pages that have a white or black border on any part of the page (unless you want that color dominant for your beads) as whatever color is on the edges is what color your beads will most present.  Here’s what you need to get started:

wpid-20140911_190701_1.jpgA magazine page (full page with as clean a tear as you can get), ruler, pencil, eraser, scissors (sharper the better), pencil sharpener (if you’re doing a bunch of pages), round toothpicks, clear-drying craft glue, and quick-dry clear fingernail polish.

Here’s where some forethought is needed. Decide what kind of beads you want. Do you want long rounded ones, or tiny round ones, or tube-like ones, etc. Do you want them small or a little larger? If you want a bunch of small beads, it’s best to make your bead lines along the narrower part of the page. If you want them to be a bit thicker, and not as many, draw your bead lines along the long part of the page. It also matters which colors from the page you dominant. If you want the colors on the sides to be dominant then draw along the narrower part. If you want the colors on the top and bottom, draw on the longer part. Let me show you what I mean:

wpid-20140911_191136_1.jpgBecause the page I chose has the gold coloring throughout the whole sheet, it didn’t really matter which direction I drew the lines. But I decided I wanted a lot of smaller beads, so I started spacing my lines with the paper horizontally in front of me. You might see it better in the next pictures. It’s also a good idea to draw your lines on the back of the page so that you don’t have any pencil/eraser marks on your beads themselves. Magazine paper does not do well with erasers, so if you do erase, you might lose some color, so I recommend drawing the lines on the back.

This is the tedious part, but it’s not terrible. Decide how wide you want your beads to be. I like a standard width of one centimeter. Above, I actually made the spacing a little smaller that one centimeter but the idea is the same. You can determine how much color of the page will show through the bead design by how big or small you make the tip (the small spacing above). I wanted a lot of the gold to show on my bead, and for them to be pretty rounded once they are rolled up, so I made my tip as small as possible (one millimeter).

Continue the measuring ticks down the edge of the page until you run out of paper. Flip the paper over and begin on the opposite edge, but the same side as the first time. (For example, if you started from the left side of the page before, when you flip it, begin from the right side.) Measure in halfway one bead size (if you are measuring your beads to be 1 cm wide, measure in from the edging 5 mm) When you find that point, put the small measurement in its place. (if your small end of the bead is 2 mm, you will now have tick marks from the edge at 4 mm and 6 mm). Then continue your original pattern along that side of the page. You are now staggering your tick marks opposite the ones you already made on the other side. This is so that when you connect the tick marks, you will have really long triangles of even spacing, thus using the most of your paper.  The next image might make it a little clearer for you.

wpid-20140911_194156_1.jpgI sure hope that helps. Now you have very long triangles that can be rolled into paper beads! Can you see it yet? No? Well, hang in there. Begin to cut along the lines you have drawn, discarding the strips on either end of the page because they will not match the rest of your beads.

wpid-20140911_200148_1.jpgYou don’t have to cut on the lines exactly, but do the best you can. The graduated angle of the strips will add depth to your bead, but it is ok for them to be unique. They are YOUR beads, after all.  You will notice that the coloring of the strips will alternate depending on which edge of the paper the wide end was sitting. It’s ok if they are different because the colors should already go together well.

wpid-20140911_202641_1.jpgWhen all the strips are cut, get out your toothpicks. Just a handful is enough to start with. I like to work with about 7 at a time to make a sort of assembly line.

wpid-20140911_202808_1.jpgBegin by taking the fat end of your triangle and wrapping it around the end of one of the toothpicks. Make sure that you are far enough away from the tip of the toothpick, so that you have a good, regular base to act as the hole of your bead. Hold the paper tight and spin the toothpick until it “grabs” the paper and begins rolling up the paper.

I am right-handed, so I twist the toothpick with my right hand while holding the paper with my left. Use your left hand to guide the paper as it wraps around the toothpick. You want to keep it in the center of the “bead” and you will watch it grow the closer you get to the tip of your triangle.

wpid-20140911_202943_1.jpg(Sorry that picture is blurry, I think you can get the idea, though.)

Continue wrapping and holding the paper tight around the bead until you reach the last little bit of the triangle.

wpid-20140911_203038_1.jpgPut a small amount of glue on the inside of the paper and then spin the toothpick under your fingers while the glue sets and holds the tip of the triangle down. Be careful not to get any glue on the toothpick itself. It is a challenge to get the bead off the toothpick if it is glued to it.

When it holds its shape and doesn’t unravel, it’s ok to set the bead down. Since I’ve finished cutting all the strips of paper, I like to use my scissors as a holder for my beads while they finish drying and while I roll up more beads.

wpid-20140911_204201_1.jpgIt keeps the beads off of the table so that they can dry and not get stuck to anything. Leave them set for about 5 minutes (usually enough time to roll up the remaining toothpicks with beads.


When you have used up your toothpicks, it’s time to start sealing the beads. No matter what kind of sealant you use, the beads will not be waterproof. But at least you can give them a good shine. Grab your fingernail polish and run the brush around the bead a few times until it’s good and even, then rest on the scissors to dry. Again, be careful not to get the polish on the toothpick itself. Also, be careful not to let the bead touch the table because it will leave a blemish in the polish (much like when you paint your nails).

wpid-20140911_204726_1.jpgWhen the beads have dried sufficiently (about 5 minutes), it is safe to remove them from the toothpicks. The easiest way to remove them is to twist them off in the opposite direction that you rolled them onto the toothpick. This is also a good reason to make it close to the end of the toothpick – sometimes the paper in the middle can shift when you pull it off. Twisting while pulling helps keep the shape of the bead.

Continue through the remaining strips of paper until you’ve made all your beads. Now you can decide what kind of jewelry you want to make with them. I am not a big necklace person, but I enjoy bracelets. I paired my paper beads with some small seed beads to make a wrap-around bracelet.

wpid-screenshot_2014-09-18-10-53-08_1.jpgI used hemp cording, a matching button, and jewelry floss. I often get comments asking if the paper beads are glass or plastic. They are a great conversation piece.

wpid-screenshot_2014-09-18-10-53-24_1.jpgLet me know how it turns out and if you have any questions.



If you like the idea of paper beads, but don’t like the idea of making them yourself, why not check out THIS organization?  31 Bits is an amazing organization that works with women in Uganda, giving them job training and skills to provide for their own families and rise above poverty. The name of the organization stems from Proverbs 31, where it describes a diligent woman providing and caring for her family, and from the “bits” of paper the beads are made out of. Pretty cool, huh? And the beads and jewelry look BEAUTIFUL!

Crains Run Nature Park

A month or so, ago, I took a wrong turn coming back from the Dayton Mall area and ended up on this twisty, beautiful road called Crains Run. When I went to show Matt the road, I noticed that we plopped out near the namesake Crains Run Nature Park. At that time, we could not stop to enjoy it; plus, it was unseasonably cold…or hot that week…I can’t remember, but I just know we couldn’t stop. So we promised that sometime soon, we would stop and check it out. Matt has been in this area for years and had never visited it, but I’m the type of person who a) loves parks, b) loves local, c) loves new places, d) loves old places, and e) loves going to said places with my husband.

Crains Run 01 stacked sq

That is what Crains Run Nature Park is. It is a park, and very lovely. It’s local, and is part of a string of parks along the Miami River. There is a bike patch connecting all these parks for miles! It is new to me, and I love first time visits anywhere. I’m saying it is old because of the river. There is something about rivers that is just old and new all at once, and I love paradoxes like that. It is like the Gospel.

Crains Run 02

Ohio has been doing a great job of turning old rail routes that are no longer in use into walking/bike paths. While I do love trains and the rail system, this idea of making something new and scenic from something else is fabulous to me. The views are lovely, and there is a lot of nature to observe along the way. We took a short walk on the path, only a mile in one direction and back, before we called it an evening. My feet were sore at the end of it, but my heart was full.

Crains Run 06 sq

I felt like I was running (well, I was walking) through Narnia, “Further up! And further in!” It was growing and the smells and sounds were delicious. I’m also a self-christened “hana otaku,” which can be translated from the Japanese to mean a “flower nerd.” And I think wildflowers are some of the best. This park has them in spades. We walked along a big cement platform out to the river’s edge and found some lovely examples of Ohio wildflowers.

Crains Run 05 stacked

Some of these I have never seen before.

Crains Run 04I love how the wild nature reminds me so much of God. We go through our lives, many of the events having the same color and feel, like the green of the trees, bushes, weeds, and then suddenly, we will find a patch of beautiful color to remind us that God is right there and has a treasure to show us. The little blessings throughout the day are the scattered wild daisies or butterflyweed tucked into the corners between the strong oak and maple trees. And God spoke these into creation; they are from the very words of God!

I enjoy seeing the discarded remnants of man’s attempt to either make better or to invade something wild. In the end, it is all nothing. God made nature resilient and no matter how many times something is paved over, a flower will probably start growing between the cracks.

Crains Run 03 stacked

Here are the specs for the park:

Crains Run Nature Park
Miami Conservancy District

10741 Dayton Cincinnati Pike, Miamisburg, OH, 45342

Wildflower types:

American Pokeweed

Halberdleaf Rosemallow

Those are the only two I could find information for online.

Ohio is for Tree Lovers

This site is pretty much amazing!  You should totally check it out.

Here’s how it works:

Go to the site, click on “Yes! I want my tree to be planted in Ohio!” and it will run you through the steps.  You have to put your email address in, but it’s only to track that everyone’s getting a chance to plant a tree.  It’s run by Odwalla and your tree can be planted in any state of the US!  Now…at this time, Michigan (MICHIGAN!! ugh!) is in first place with almost 19,000 trees!  Texas is after it with 11,000+ and Pennsylvania (woot!) has just over 9,000.  Ohio is way down there with 573 trees. 😦  Sheesh!  We can do better than that. 

Below is a blurb about our lovely Ohio state parks:


Ohio is not just the home of several American presidents. It also is the home of many state parks that lead the nation in beauty and boundless opportunities for fun and relaxation.

Ohio’s State Parks − Big on Adventure

Ohio isn’t a large state − but its state parks are big on amenities and adventure. Maybe you’re interested in spotting bald eagles or wild turkey, or snagging a black bass or bluegill.

Interested in trail biking? 30 Ohio state parks offer more than 257 miles of biking trails. Interested in snorkeling or scuba diving? Yes, you can do that in Ohio − at some 30 state park lakes!

Whether your goal is to go camping under the stars or to go hiking alongside a scenic lake, Ohio has a state park for you!

This overview is an excerpt from the website. Read more at


Sigh – I love Ohio. 🙂

Bag Monster Blog

I heard this on my news podcast this morning.  The interview was really funny with the Bag Monster himself.

Now, I am just as guilty as the next person for getting plastic bags…but we re-use them…multiple times…in our house.  Do we still apply for contributing to the Bag Monster phenomena?

[waits for an answer]

Oh dear…I better go buy another eco-bag.

Bag Monster Blog.