I never would have learned how to make jewelry with paper beads if it wasn’t for the adoption of our son. Shortly after I moved to Central America for our 4 1/2 month fostering period leading up to the adoption, a fellow adopting mom introduced me to the book Kisses From Katie.
The book was my life line the first month and a half I lived in Central America united with my precious newborn son, but separated from my husband and two daughters. Without my husband nearby to kill cockroaches and giant spiders, I relied on Katie’s written accounts of confrontations with giant rodents to give me courage.
I hope this doesn’t sound too terrible, but it was comforting to read about her life in Uganda because it seemed so much harder than mine. Make that 13 times harder than mine. I was only adopting one, and she adopted 13. Not all at once, but 13 is still 13.
And that all connects with paper beads of course, because Katie taught women in Uganda how to start small businesses by selling jewelry made with paper beads. So when I arrived at letter “U” on my blog (remember we explore countries alphabetically) for Uganda, I knew I wanted to make jewelry out of paper beads for the craft, following our usual 4 week exploration pattern: country (week 1), interview (week 2), craft (week 3), recipe (week 4).
So I hope you enjoy this craft, and that it gives you an appreciation for the artisans in Uganda who work so hard making beautiful jewelry.
- magazines, newspaper, scrapbooking paper, or any other paper that can be cut into long tapered strips
- a paper cutter or scissors
- bamboo sticks
- muffin paper liner
- clear or glitter nail polish (optional)
- twine, string, or elastic for stringing beads
- Use a paper cutter or scissors to cut long tapered strips of paper. The width of the widest part of the paper will determine the width of your bead. After some trial and error, I found that I like my beads about 1/4 – 1/ 2 inch wide.
- Watch this wonderful video tutorial to see how it’s done.
- If you decide to seal your beads with nail polish, I found it easiest to keep the beads strung on a bamboo stick on with the edges of the stick resting on a paper plate. That way I could turn the beads easily to coat them with the polish and then allow them to dry.
- Once the beads are dry string them on varied lengths of twine, string, or elastic to make bracelets, ankle bracelets, and necklaces.
I’m actually pretty excited about this craft because I hope to take it full circle. I’ll be headed back to Central America this January on a missions trip. We’ll be sharing God’s love by passing out backpacks and school supplies to children as well as holding medical and physical therapy clinics.
While parents are getting medical treatment we have an area set up in back of the clinic for their children to play. We often bring craft supplies and show the children how to make things. Hmmmm…that gives me an idea.
Do any of you have suggestions for crafts you think the children would enjoy?