Seal Those Paper Beads

by Johnnie Collier

Make Paper Beads

Last week, I showed you a the best video I have found on making paper beads, here.  The method used to seal the beads involved painting each one individually with glaze, for a total of 3 coats.  Ugh… how time consuming.  I knew there must be a better way.  Today, I will share how I sealed 125 beads in 5 minutes (not including dry time, of course)!

Supplies:

  • Paper beads
  • Minwax Polycrylic
  • Fishing line
  • Toothpicks
  • Newspaper
  • Some kind of place to hang your strands of beads to dry

sealing make paper beads

BTW, that handy little sharp tool you see, a needle tool I think, is way handier than toothpicks for rolling paper beads.  Just saying.  I got it in the clay section in a pack of tools at Michael’s.

Instructions:

  • So easy.  Just string your paper beads on fishing line (cause it is strong and cheap).  I tie toothpicks at both ends of the string of beads so that I don’t lose any, and to hang the strands from in the drying step.  Here are some strung beads…Make Paper beads
  • Now, dip the strung beads in polycrylic, submerging every bead.  You hands will be dripping with the stuff.  Do this over newspapers to protect the surface, and do it where you plan to hang them.  I use my closet wire shelving, with plenty of newspaper on the floor to catch the drips.  As you pull the strand out of the polycrylic, run it between 2 fingers over the can, to remove excess polycrylic.  It will still be drippy, but you won’t waste as much.

make paper beads; sealing

  • My handy dandy drying area:

make paper beads

  • Tips:  I like to separate the beads from one another about 1 hour into drying so that they don’t completely dry together.  You can even turn the strands, hanging them from the other end.  After 2 hours, I dip them one more time and let dry for an hour or so.

I think this method is way easier, and quicker, especially if you are sealing a lot of beads at once.  Since I am so obsessed with making these things, they are everywhere, and I needed to find a quicker way to do this.  The dry time is slower than if I individually paint each one, but the hands on time is literally 5 minutes, leaving me to do one of the 10 other projects I have going at any given moment.  I love the shine and durability afforded by the polycrylic too.  Check out some comparisons…

BEFORE:

make paper beadsmake paper beads

make paper beadsAFTER:

make paper beads

Make Paper Beads

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Katie from Sew Woodsy November 12, 2011 at 12:50 pm

Ahhh! This is great news! I have polycrylic on hand! I was looking all of the place trying to find the same glue like substance you used to seal each individual bead!

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2 Dee Proper March 7, 2013 at 9:15 pm

Thanks a million for sharing your sealing technique. I love paper beading but I hand seal each bead which takes forever. I can’t wait to try this!

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3 Valeria March 18, 2013 at 1:17 am

Thank you, thank you, thank you. I have hundreds of paper beads that I have made and was actually “dreading” sealing them to make them into jewelry. I love making them, just hate sealing them one at a tme. This will save me HOURS of work. Thank you so much.

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4 SavedByLoveCreations March 18, 2013 at 4:25 am

Valeria, I am so glad! I know exactly what you are talking about. So time consuming! That is why I was so determined to find a better way. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

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5 Kathleen May 9, 2013 at 4:19 am

O WOW! ME TOOO!!! I have to say it as I said on the FB page THANK THANK THANK YOU! too lol..I have spend countless $ on how to ways to seal n harden my paper beads what a mess I actually came the closest to flipping the table over just last evening..I desided to give the web 1 more shot before letting my friends know I was done~ I help a group of woman from my church, the lady’s are from Burma which is now called Myanmar ( I may have spelling wrong ..forgive me lady’s) Anyway I have learned so many new ways & tought them each one for making the best product they can..our principle is to use only things God has supplied..everything is recycled and re-purposed and then with offerings received from what jewelry is make the lady’s have an income..Woman Helping Woman~~ Gotta love it..in fact I am so driven by it I have spent when I shouldn’t have (they don’t know..giggle but only to figure out the best way to use the time & supplies that are received~ Now I can take a deep breath & get back to it! I am blessed by your post..For Sure~ Thank You again ..I will be following Your FB page too

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6 SavedByLoveCreations May 9, 2013 at 8:03 am

Kathleen, how cool! I love what you are doing, and that I could make things easier with this sealing tip. God bless!

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7 Rose Tomlinson June 9, 2013 at 1:30 am

I use a similar method but I brushed on the sealer onto the paper beads while they are hanging on a clothesline outside. I wait about 20-30 minutes between coats (usually 3 coats). I live in San Diego, so there’s plenty of warm days even during winter time. I love making paper beads too. I save the leftover paper beads and I used them to cover bird houses and flower pots (for indoor use only as a cache pot). Recently I had an idea to use the leftover beads to make them into dragonflies.

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8 Sandy Allison July 3, 2014 at 12:20 am

I too am obsessed with making paper beads. I too use the PolyCrylic. Works great!!

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9 Sarah August 15, 2014 at 10:44 pm

Hello! I hope you see this question, since it seems like an older post! Did you have any trouble with the beads sticking together when you hung them like that? And did they harden usuung the polycrylic? Everything I’ve used is still too soft for my liking. :( Thanks!!

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10 Rose Tomlinson August 17, 2014 at 3:19 am

Reply for Sarah:

after I put the last coat on, I wait about 20-30 minutes and the beads are usually dry enough that I can pull them apart to prevent them from sticking together. then I let them dry thoroughly before I completely pull them off the strings. and I store them in a storage box that has dividers. hope that answers your question.

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