Monday, August 30, 2010

Fun, Easy, and Cheap Jewelry Projects

If your a current Small Business Development or Youth Development Volunteer in Morocco you've probably heard of the Art Resource Manual (ARM) that two of my stagemates (Hillary and Lisa) are putting together. They're really trying to put together a great resource for future volunteers so that they don't have to recreate the wheel. I'm trying to help them out by putting together some of the projects that I've done here in country that I think other volunteers could benifit from.

In this post I will give a how to for making paper beads and will show examples of some finished jewelry pieces that I've made with the paper beads, as well as the felt beads from my last post; Felt Beads, How To. I got the idea for trying the paper bead project from a CraftSanity blog post. On Jennifer's blog she even has an awesome video of a TV segment where she demonstrates the process. But for the benifit of ARM, as well as all you volunteers that might not have a fast enough internet connection to view the video, I'm going to go through the process of making the beads step-by-step.

How To Make Paper Beads

Materials needed:

Old Magazines
Glue (I found mine at the hardware store)
Paint brush (small)
Something to form the bead around such as knitting needles, pens, etc. (I like beads with small holes so I use a very skinny knitting needle. They are widely available in Morocco)

Step one
cut up some magazine pages into long triangular pieces. Play around with the length and width of the pieces because they will make differently shaped beads. Try to keep the triangles uniform if you want your beads to be a similar size and shape (duh).

Step two
Paint the glue onto the wrong side of the magazine (the side you don't want to see). Start the glue about one inch from wide end. If your glue starts all the way at the wide end then you will glue it to whatever you are making your bead with (oops).

Step three
Starting at the wide end, tightly wrap the paper around the knitting needle/pen. Go slowly so that it looks pretty!

Add just a little more glue to the point and hold it in place for a second or two to secure it well.

Step four
Generously add a coat of glue to the entire bead and let dry in a way that the bead is not touching any surface

Now you know how to make a paper bead so make LOTS of them and you too can make beautiful jewelry! The following photos are some necklaces, bracelets, and earrings that I made this week using paper beads. The other materials that you'll see were also obtained in Morocco. The earring posts and necklace clasps were bought in the Rabat Medina. The seed beads were bought right in my own site (you buy them by weight. Two dirhims' worth of each color will go pretty far). And the "string" is actually unwaxed dental floss from our medical kit (because who uses unwaxed dental foss?). The only thing that I used that I did not get in Morocco was the skinny elastic inside the bracelets (the ones without the clasp). If you look around I think you can get it here, but I happened to have some that I brought from the US. Remember that you can make great necklaces even with just some string or thread, so if you can't make it to Rabat or find fasteners near you, you can still do this project. Use your imagination!

And as promised, here are a few new pieces using the felted beads:


Lisa said...

You are awesome! Thank you for all the great how-to projects. They will be happily included in ARM :)

tagalong said...

How hard is it to find old magazines there in Morocco to make such projects? I know how expensive they are and wondered if people even throw them away or if they just pass them around? There is another thing that I've seen made from colored magazines, it is little woven boxes with lids. A Filipino lady I worked with would cut strips and fold them in a thickness like dried grass and then weave them. They were very pretty.

Emily and Jon said...

Very good question tagalong. When I first started this project I did it with the idea that it would be just a fun and new thing for the women to try, not necessarily something that they would do in the long term for their product line. So I just used a few magazines that I've gotten from Peace Corps (Worldview) and some that were sent in care packages that I've read. Remember that a single magazine can go a long way. The ladies are already brainstorming ways that they can find materials themselves. They've started asking around for old magazines with some success and are also using old school workbooks.