Thursday, September 15, 2011

Get Crafty: Paper Beads

One of the many great things about having a 3 year old is her growing ability to sit and focus on a task, to ask questions about it, and her sense of pride when it’s finished. Along with doing crafts with her (or “craps” as she calls them) it’s also fun to do crafts FOR her. Unlike the first two years of her life, she now enjoys playing by herself for fairly long periods of time while I sit at the table making her a flower headband or a felt animal.

So I thought I’d start recording the crafts we do (or that I do) and provide instructions here. I tend to do easy crafts with big rewards. I only drag out the sewing machine when absolutely necessary – I’m a huge fan of hemming tape, my hot glue gun, and hand sewing. I also tend to improvise with things around the house. So I promise these are easy and fun and can involve your little one – or not. Personally I find them to be very relaxing!

So I thought I’d start with one we did last week: paper beads. Remember paper beads? So fun, so easy and so pretty.

You'll need:

  • Scrapbook paper – I buy scrapbook paper whenever I see it on sale. It’s pretty and works for lots of projects (like birthday cards) and it’s a thicker stock, which is good for toddler projects
  • Glue stick and clear Elmer’s glue
  • Scissors
  • Small paintbrush
  • A stick - for rolling the beads. I used a grill skewer with the end popped off
  • String or ribbon for making your necklace
  • Optional: I put my beads on pipe cleaners to dry because the bead is less likely to dry to the pipe cleaner and they are easy to remove once dry. I also sealed them with clear nail polish

Step 1: Cut the paper into long triangles
Somewhere on the Internet there is a tutorial with exact measurements for how to space these triangles. I just eyeball it.

Step 2: Glue
Place the paper color side down on a scrap piece of paper and use the glue stick to spread glue down the whole length of the triangle This is a great part for toddler involvement. They love glue sticks.

Step 3: Rolling the bead
Use the stick to roll the triangle onto itself. The roll should be tight – you are essentially gluing the paper to itself.

Step 4: Sealing 
Use the paintbrush to paint the clear Elmer's glue onto the bead.

Step 5: Let the beads dry
This was my solution for how to let them dry without touching anything! An optional additional step is to paint clear nail polish onto them once the glue dries as an extra layer of protection.

Step 6: String the beads into a necklace
Optional Step 7: put necklace on toddler and take pictures of how adorable they look!

Have fun!


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