yesterday, we attended a little birthday celebration for one of emma's friends. like us, i know her mama and papa also try to minimize the whole getting presents aspect of the celebration. but at the same time, one of my greatest joys (and one i hope to pass on to my children) is being able create something personal and (hopefully) unique to give as gifts.
so...taking a look around the house to see what we could create, i noticed that we have unintentionally accumulated quite a collection of old, unread rolling stones magazines. then i recalled (with the help of a link my sister sent about her etsy shop to jog my memory) that in art class a looooonnnnngggg time ago, i made a necklace out of paper beads. aha! a perfect project that will allow emma to be involved in creating the gift.
there are plenty of tutorials out there on how to make paper beads (just google "make paper beads" or "paper bead tutorial"). some are very simple and some a are little bit more involved. but here are the basics for making the beads:
1. gather your materials: old magazines, glue stick, mod podge, a pencil, and a small paint brush or sponge brush.
2. cut the magazines into skinny triangles (doesn't have to be too precise though try to make it as symmetrical as you can) the long way. i believe, the skinnier your triangles, the narrower the beads. one page of the magazine was sufficient for what we needed. be conscious of the colors on the particular page you choose to cut your triangles. colorful pages will have a different effect in its finished bead form as opposed to monochrome, dark or black pages.
3. roll the non-pointed end of the triangle over a pencil until it covers it one time through. take the glue stick and apply onto the rest of the triangle. make sure you have the right side of the triangle you want facing out (the one that will be the outside of the bead), so that you're applying the glue to the "wrong side" (the side that will be the inside of the bead).
4. use the pencil to help you roll the triangle all the way until you get to the pointed end of the triangle strip. apply additional glue to the end if needed. pull pencil out. repeat process until you have the desired amount of beads. since this part is a bit tedious, i did pre-make a few ahead of time and had emma make the remaining 2.
5. dip your brush and take a very small amount of mod podge. apply a thin coat to the outside of the finished bead. blow on it a few times. once it feels tacky or mostly dry, set it down to dry completely.
6. once all the beads feel dry, string them on a string (any old string will do, but the stretchy kind is pretty nifty to have) to make a necklace or a bracelet. we threaded our string through a blunt needle first to make the bead stringing process easier for ms. emma. if you tie one end of the string to an object wider than the hole of the bead (we used an eraser), the beads will not fall out as you're stringing them. this helped a lot, since emma was doing the stringing.
and voila! a little bracelet!