I love making hand made gifts for people. I don't know that my friends and family necessarily love receiving them, but I love making them. Why? Well, because when I make something for someone, I think about them the whole time. I imagine how much they are going to love what I give them. I imagine how they'll say, "This is beautiful. Thank you so much. I love that you put so much time and effort into my gift." Do they ever say this? No. But, this year, I am sure..... absolutely sure.... they are going to!!! (I was sure last year and the year before that and the year before that..... and, you get the idea.)
So, if you would like to make a really cute gift for someone or just for yourself, here is the perfect idea! Paper Beads!!! They are fast, easy and inexpensive. Here's what to do:
1. Gather your supplies.
You'll need paper (I used Hello Sunshine Berries, my kids used Oh Joy, but even newspaper or pages from magazines can make beautiful beads), Ultra Thick Embossing Powder (UTEE), child's paint brush, embossing heat gun or melting pot and glue (I like Tacky Glue for this project). You will also need a little aluminum foil or something similar as a work surface so that you don't end up embossing your countertop!
2. Cut Paper.
The way you cut your paper will determine the shape of your beads, but generally a long, skinny triangle is what I use.
3. Roll Paper.
Using the end of the paintbrush, wrap your triangle starting with the wide end.
When you get near the end of wrapping, put some glue on the end to hold it in place. I use more than needed so that the extra glue spreads out giving the bead more strength.
6. If you have a melting pot, simply dip your beads in melted UTEE. If you don't and you don't want to purchase one..... read on.
Using the Tacky Glue, coat the bead with a thin layer. I dab it on as shown, then use my fingers to spread it out into a very thin allover coating (almost wiping it all off). If your glue is too thick, it will make the embossing powder foam. You just need to make the bead tacky enough to hold the embossing powder to it.
7. Dunk in UTEE.
With bead still on end of paintbrush dunk it in the UTEE. If there are some areas that don't get coated all the way, don't worry.
8. Melt the UTEE.
Using your heat gun, with the bead on the end of the paintbrush, heat the UTEE. Continually turn the bead. When the UTEE starts to melt it will look like little beads of water. Continue to heat it until they run together and start to coat your bead. If you are like me, you'll want a super glossy and smooth bead. In that case, when the bead starts to look coated, re-dip it in the UTEE. Then heat again. I do this 2-3 times depending on the bead and look. When you get more than one or two coats of UTEE, it will want to run and drip so make sure that you continually turn it until it is cooled. Don't worry if your bead looks like it is glossed onto the paintbrush, when it is cooled, your be able to just twist it off.
9. Make lots more.
String your beads on ribbon or elastic to make cute bracelets and necklaces. It's so easy, even a six year old can do it. Here is Abby's bracelet. I didn't let her use the embossing gun, since I didn't want her to burn off her little fingers, but she rolled the beads all by herself and strung the bracelet.