Alcohol Inks - My Latest Happy Discovery

alcohol inks

Alcohol inks - oh my goodness - you know when something really sets you on fire and you don't want to sleep?

Well this is it for me! It's all Mandy Shedden's fault - since I went to visit her fantastic little craft supplies store in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, I have not been the same.

The store, Keep On Crafting is an absolute Aladdin's cave of art and craft goodies. I seriously didn't know which way to turn.


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Beautiful Paper Saucer Beads

Saucer Beads

Saucer beads can be quite tricky to master when you first get into making paper beads.

I tried all sorts of ways but then I found the best way to make saucer beads of all different sizes is to use the layering process.This works best of all for me.

To make the necklace you see above, I used an old 12 x 12 inch sheet of scrapbooking paper I had laying around. I cut it into quarter inch tapered strips and then layered them to get a variety of shapes and sizes.

Saucer beads can be quite tricky to master when first making paper beads. Click To Tweet

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Paper pendants made from discarded cereal box cardboard are super easy to make!

Add your own abstract artwork - as I have done with the ones pictured above - and you have exciting, bold and beautiful one-off pieces of jewellery to wear, sell sort give away as presents.

These paper pendants were all made by me, using a discarded cereal box to create the jewellery form that I mounted my artwork on.

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fun with art

Having fun with art is not just for children!

Fun with art - my three favourite words! As adults, we are easily capable of getting a huge amount of fun out of art and craft - if we allow ourselves. Somehow, somewhere along the road of growing up, we stop 'doing art' because we can't do it 'properly'. As children, until we reach a certain age, we do not care whether we are 'good' or 'bad' at art. If you watch children at play, having fun with art comes naturally. It was through my creative  work with children that I began to think about art and craft in a different way. Children simply create and often forget about their 'art' once the crayons and paints are put away; their joy is in the doing.

As children, until we reach a certain age, we do not care whether we are 'good' or 'bad' at art. Click To Tweet


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Make Paper Beads the Easy Beady Way

Making paper beads from junk  is one of my favourite crafts. I love transforming mundane pieces of paper into beautiful jewellery. I also love creating my own artwork to use.

But my enjoyment was spoilt by not being able to find the perfect bead rolling tool. I wanted something that gripped the paper well enough to get the bead started easily.

I also wanted something that would allow me to slide the finished bead off quickly, smoothly and without pulling the middle out of it.

There are many bead rollers for sale but most of them are made out of bamboo that has been split into two and then bound with paper to make a handle.

easy beady tool

They were ok and I made quite a few of my own. The problem that I found was the bamboo could sometimes snag the paper making beads hard to slide off.

For the last 18 months, I have been hard at work trying to create a bead rolling tool that is as near to perfect as I can get.

Learn to Make Gorgeous Paper Beads In Minutes!

Once you have the tool and have practiced on a few strips of paper, making beautiful beads is really easy.

Instead of being annoyed at all the junk mail coming through your door, you will be saying thank you for all the wonderful free paper you are getting. 

And think of the thrill when you make a really beautiful bracelet out of something that used to annoy you! Make unique presents that have cost you next to nothing.

Or create your own art work and make some really colourful beads that are truly unique and cannot be copied.

easy beady tool

The possibilities for creating paper beads of all different shapes and sizes is endless. I really enjoy colouring designs on plain paper and then making beads from it. If you add several coats of glaze, they look so amazing, no one guesses they are made from paper.

After experimenting with lots of different materials, I have come up with a tool that I absolutely love using. It is simple in design and very easy to use. It rolls nice tight beads that are easy to slide off - what more could you ask for? Have a look at the demo video I made to show what the tools look like and how to use them. I make them all to order and they are available on eBay. Click here to be taken to eBay. They are available in 3mm or 5mm. The 3mm size allows you to make beads with a smaller core for threading on finer stringing material up to 2.5mm thick.  The 5mm size allows you to make beads with a larger core for threading on thicker stringing materials such as leather or Pandora style bracelets. They can be bought individually or as a duo pack.

Find Out About My Bead Strip Templates To Make Cutting Easier

For easy cutting of paper bead strips without all the hassle of measuring and drawing lines, I have designed some templates you can download from my etsy shop. 

They are very easy to use. Click here to find out how you can use my templates to cut quick, easy strips and then use the template paper to make more beads so there is no waste! You can also use the templates in image editing software such as Photoshop to overlay onto printable  designs. 

easy beady
easy beady tool

Here you can see two ways to use the downloadable templates. You can print the template, fix it to your chosen bead paper with removable adhesive tape and cut your strips along the lines with ruler and craft knife.

The picture above shows strips cut with that method. As you can see, this gives you the strips cut in your chosen paper and the left-over template strips. You can hand colour those with Sharpies and make more beads. No waste!

Or you can overlay the png file onto an image on screen (see right), print it and cut along the printed lines with ruler and craft knife or a guillotine. Visit my etsy shop today to get your downloadable templates.

easy beady tool


Paper bead making is so simple if you have the right tool and a bit of know how.

Ever since I discovered the versatility and creativity of using paper to make pretty jewellery pieces, I have been hooked. Paper bead making is now one of my favourite crafts.

bead making

Making paper beads has been an obsession of mine for a very long time now and recently, I started sharing my passion with others. A group of artists asked me to go along to one of their monthly meet ups and teach them the basics of paper bead making. The workshop was a great success; all the women in the group got hooked after finding how addictive the paper bead making process is.

Paper beads are so simple to make if you have the right tools and a bit of know how. Click To Tweet

Many people comment on the paper bead bracelets I wear saying how pretty and unusual they are. When I tell them the bracelets are made from paper they are always shocked. The jewellery I make is created using a variety of techniques and materials.

Bead making

For paper bead making, I use anything from plain paper to my own art work, junk mail, magazine pages and paper bags.

There is nothing that I won't consider for making my beads!  My favourite trick is to go into my local card shop to buy someone a birthday card and then using the bag to make a present. No, I'm not mean! I just love making something we usually screw up and throw away into something beautiful to wear.

The birthday cards from my local shop always come in a pretty paper bag made of very thin but colourful paper. I open the bag out and use it to make paper beads. One small bag makes enough paper beads to create a double strand bracelet. I add my own tiny gold beads and a charm and it makes a beautiful, unusual gift.

bead making

The bracelet on the left is one of my paper bag bracelets.

When I did the workshop with the artists, I took one of the paper bags to show them, along with a bracelet I had made from one. They were really surprised at how delicate and pretty it was. The workshop that followed was fun and productive. It led to a second one later in the month because we couldn't cover everything in one class.

One small paper bag makes enough paper beads to create a double strand bracelet. Click To Tweet

By the end of the second workshop, each person had made their own bracelet. At the start, they had been in awe of my little box full of paper bead jewellery. They assumed it would be hard to for them to make similar pieces. But once they knew the technique, they were all converts to paper bead making!

More workshops will follow and as I plan on keeping them to 10 people or less, I can give plenty of one on one help. When people first see the bracelets I make, their first reaction is 'wow, I couldn't do that! How do you make beads like that from paper?' But once they understand the process and the possibilities, they are making their own paper beads within the hour and can't wait to go off and experiment with their own designs.

bead making

Paper bead workshop

The key  to successful paper bead making is having the tool.

They are notoriously hard to get hold of and the ones I found (mainly in the USA) were so expensive I began to make my own. At first, I used bamboo which I split and bound to create the slot needed to 'trap' the paper when you wind it.

That worked ok but the beads were not always easy to remove once finished. They would get stuck and pull the centre out of the bead sometimes - very annoying! So I have been working to create the perfect beading tool and I think I have now got pretty close to that.

I have been working to create the perfect beading tool and I think I have now got pretty close. Click To Tweet

I have now made some in stainless steel and the beads just slide smoothly off every time. The new tool The Easy Beady by Gilly  tools will be available on eBay and you can order yours by clicking here.

The tool is a very basic piece of equipment but is an essential part of the paper bead making process - it is the key to  stress-free paper bead making.

bead making

Paper bead bracelets made by the women in my workshop after only two sessions, using plain copier paper that they hand-coloured themselves.

The new tool is an essential part of the process - it is the key to stress-free paper bead making. Click To Tweet

If you are interested in attending a workshop in Suffolk, UK, please contact me via the contact form on this website. If you are interested in hosting a paper bead making party at your home, get in touch. All workshop attendees and hosts will get an Easy Beady tool to keep. Prices and details for workshops can be found here.