Beading your own jewelry continues to be a trend rolling its way back and forth across the country. Stop at most any outdoor art fair or peek into a glimmering bead store, and you'll see exquisite beads from around the world in all shapes and sizes that inspire us to be creative.
Actually, there's nothing new about beading. The popular art form has been around for centuries, passed from one generation to the next. I remember making beads from glossy magazine paper back in kindergarten class. We rolled the bright-colored paper into narrow beads, and wore them around our necks on shoelaces.
If you and your kids would like to create some dazzling designs for your own jewelry this fall, here's how to make paper beads and fashion them into necklaces and accessories. It's easy!
1. Tear out illustrated pages from a magazine, or save a sheet or two from the Sunday comics in your newspaper. Gift-wrap paper also works well. The more colorful the paper, the brighter the beads.
2. Cut the paper into long, narrow triangles, approximately 5 inches long and 1 1/2 inches wide at the broad end.
3. To form each bead, carefully roll the triangle around a pencil or sturdy drinking straw (use a large nail or toothpick for narrow beads), beginning with the broad end of the triangle and ending with the pointed end. Glue the point to the rolled paper. Remove the pencil or straw. Continue until you have a nice collection. Young children may prefer rolling several at a time and coming back to the project later. Let glue dry.
To make necklaces, string beads onto bright cording, yarn or string. Knot ends together. For variation, add buttons, aluminum washers and craft beads between the paper beads.
For a brooch or hair clip, use a glue gun to glue several beads together in a row on the top of a jewelry clasp or a plain, flat hairclip.
Note: To protect the beads and give them shine, paint over them with non-toxic water-soluble varnish before you string the necklaces or make accessories. It's also fun to add dots and designs with craft paint from squeeze bottles.
Editor's note: Donna Erickson's award-winning series "Donna's Day" is airing on public television nationwide. To find more of her creative family recipes and activities, visit www.donnasday.com and link to the new Donna's Day Facebook fan page. Her latest book is "Donna Erickson's Fabulous Funstuff for Families."