Above you can see why I haven’t been knitting much lately. I needed to do a craft with second and third graders as part of a job interview, so I pulled out this old favorite. These beads are easy and almost always beautiful, and I underestimated my ability to get badly addicted to this project. To say that I made hundreds is not an exaggeration. I even have a bead-making injury: the tip of my right index finger got a callus on it, and I picked the callus off, so now I have to wait until it heals before I make more.
This is a great project for families because everyone from about 7 years old on up can participate and the end products are beautiful. Here’s how they’re made:
Magazines and newspapers
Nails (medium-sized are best, but you can experiment)
Thread or fishing line for threading
- Cut out LONG, SKINNY triangles from magazines or newspapers. You can experiment with a variety of sizes, but the base of the triangle must be SHORTER than the nail you are using. At minimum, the triangle should be about 7-8 inches long, though ideally it should be much longer. The longer the triangle is, the wider the bead will be at its middle.
- Align the base of the triangle with the nail. Holding the paper in place with the thumb and forefinger of one hand (this is how I got the callus), use the other thumb and forefinger to rotate the nail so the paper is gradually wrapped around the nail. The bead will grow and thickness as your wrap it around the nail.
- When there are about two inches left on the “point” end of the triangle, put the bead on the table and cover the remaining paper with glue. Then finish wrapping the paper around the nail, pressing the point firmly in place. Carefully slide the bead off the nail. The glue will dry quickly.
Clearly any jewelry made from these beads is not suitable for rainy days, but in other ways the beads are much sturdier than they look. On my to-do list is to stop into an art store to see if they have a fixative spray or other product that will make these beads slightly more waterproof than they currently are. If anyone has suggestions, please let me know!
And no, I haven’t completely stopped knitting. I did some work on my English rib sweater and am almost ready to start decreasing for the sleeves. I am still finishing up both The Year of Lear and The Winter’s Tale, but I’ve also started Welcome to Braggsville and am enjoying it so far. More details to come!
Yarn Along is hosted by Ginny on her blog, Small Things.