Learning how to make paper bead patterns is all about knowing your rectangle and triangle shapes. Almost every kind of paper bead must start off with some sort of rectangle or triangle-shaped piece of paper. The blunt lines of the rectangle create a thick, cylinder bead. The gradual sloping lines in a triangle create a flat or round bead, depending on the angle. The bottom of the pattern determines the length of the paper bead. The height determines the width and the angle of the sides determine the shape.
Things You'll Need
White poster board
Sketch different triangle and rectangle shapes on a piece of writing paper. Use a ruler to create straight edges if needed. Color each shape a different hue with crayons. Make yourself a small reference note on a second piece of paper that shows the primary dimensions and color of each shape sketch.
Cut the pattern shapes out and roll each one into a paper bead, colored side facing out. Start by placing a toothpick across the base of a paper shape and rolling the paper around the toothpick a few times. Add some glue to the remaining paper and roll it tightly around the toothpick into a bead. Let the glue dry and slip the toothpick out to reveal a bead hole.
Examine the different bead sizes and silhouettes for each pattern shape to determine which sketch made the best paper bead pattern. Use your reference notes to remind you which pattern shape made which bead.
Sketch the best paper bead patterns on a piece of thick, white poster board with a pencil. Carefully cut out each master paper bead pattern.
Trace a paper bead pattern on a colorful piece of paper. Cut the shape out and make a paper bead with it to check that the pattern truly recreates the intended shape. Repeat this testing process with each master pattern.
To create an extremely thick and cylinder-shaped bead, use a very long rectangular paper bead pattern. To create a perfectly rounded ball-shaped bead, use a very long and thin triangular paper bead pattern.
Paper bead patterns need to be longer than they are wide. It’s the length that provides the extra paper for the bead body. So a long rectangular paper shape should have a toothpick placed across the short width and rolled up the long length. A long triangular paper shape should have a toothpick placed across the base of the triangle and rolled up the long length to the narrow tip.
Squares, circles and ovals do not create sturdy paper beads patterns. A square is too short to have enough paper to make a stable bead. A circle and oval are too curved and will start narrow, go wide and become narrow again. This creates flimsy sides on the bead that will quickly break.