Paper BeadsWith Mother's Day a week away, I thought my students would enjoy making a their moms gifts, so we made paper beaded jewelry. I got out old wall-paper books and we cut long triangular strips, about 15"-18" long, and 1/2"-3/4" wide). The longer the strip, the fatter the bead, and the width of the strip will be the width of the bead. Be sure to use an X-acto knife or paper cutter for smooth edges. We started wrapping the wide end (not the two very long sides), around thin paint brushes, thick plastic needles, or toothpicks, and once it was about 1/4th of the way wrapped, we used a glue stick on the back (non decorated) side of the rest of the strip. This can be done before winding begins too. I found it easier to pull the paper strip out from under the glue stick rather than run the glue down the paper. It used less glue and made less of a mess on the scrap paper protecting the table.
To add a shimmer, I used glitter nail polish. First I strung the beads on old wire hangers and placed that over a bin, that way the polish wouldn't get on anything. Some people dip their beads in wood hardener several times. Others, roll their beads on an embossing pad, sprinkle with embossing powder and then use a heat gun to melt the powder. This can be done several times too if you want your beads to look glass like. Once the beads are dry, it is easy to string on wire or thin elastic for a necklace or bracelet. Store bought beads can be mixed in for some fun.
Paper Clip Jewelry
For my elementary school students, we began making bracelets by stringing paper clips. I got this idea from my brother's cub scout den mother, Cathy Breuninger. Kevin came home from his cub scout meeting one night with a beautiful necklace with extra fringe for my mother. I think they used fancy blue & white contact paper, but I wanted to make sure each student left with something that shows their mark. They each chose a color of paper, and color of makers, and the pattern they wanted to make. Since most of these students are blind, most of the marks look like scribbles, but I did have a few who carefully made zig-zag patterns or tiny hearts. We cut rectangles from the decorated paper. The width should be slightly less than the width of the paper clip (about 1"), and the length is about 1/2-2" so it can be wrapped around the paper clip several times. We used a glue stick and covered each paper clip with the decorated rectangles. Nine worked pretty well per bracelet. It would be prettier with tiny metal jump rings between each clip, and fewer paper clips, but these worked just fine for a 30 minute project. And we used the half of the decorated paper that didn't get put into the bracelet, as wrapping paper for their gift.