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How to Weave a Paper Bead Necklace

Make a lightweight necklace by finger weaving beads from paper.

Materials and Tools:

110 lb. card stock
computer and image software
inkjet color printer
pasta machine or paper shredder
bamboo skewers
twist ties
clear acrylic sealer
8/2 Tencel (rayon) yarn (or cotton)
dental floss threaders
3 glass beads with large holes
rubber gloves


1. Create color gradations in image manipulating software on the computer and print out on an inkjet color printer.

2. Cut the paper into thin equal width strips using a pasta machine or paper shredder.

3. Select two paper strips of different but compatible colors (colors used were blue and green). Fold each strip in half and twist each fold so the two ends of each strip are at 90-degree angles at the top. Hold the two strips with the centerfold at the top, slightly offset, creating four strips with which to braid.

4. Begin finger weaving, picking up the far outside right strip and bringing it under the right strand next to it. Then pick up the outside left strand and bring it over one strand and under the next strand. Pull tight. Repeat three times.

5. The piece will start to form a ball shape. Thread the paper back into itself, providing the ball stability. This connects the ends to shape the ball, although a 4-part braid is not truly round. Trim the excess from the ends.

6. Gently roll the ball in the palm of your hand to give it a more 'true' ball shape.

7. Make a total of 11 balls.

8. Place all 11 balls on a bamboo skewer and secure both ends with twist ties.

9. Wearing rubber gloves, spray the balls with clear acrylic sealer.

10. Let dry and repeat again.

11. When balls have dried, select four colors of 8/2 Tencel (rayon/pine tree) fibers to match the colors in the ball.

12. Measure 4' x 4' of each color and tie two knots, securing all 16 strings together.

13. Separate the four sets of color and braid in a 4-ended braid starting with the right cord and going over two and under one. Note: These instructions, known as Kumihimo can be found in many books.

14. Thread all 16 ends of the yarn onto a dental floss threader. Run three large holed glass beads, the 11 paper beads and then thread the braid back through the three glass beads in the opposite direction.

15. Tie double knots on both ends of the cord and trim the ends.

16. Open the cord to a full open position and place over the head. Adjust the beads to fit as a choker around the neck or as an opera length necklace.

Chriztine Foltz

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