5 Great Ways to Decorate Handmade Beads

Want to make your handmade paper beads more exciting?  Decorate them!

Handmade paper beads can look great simply on their own, but sometimes it’s fun to add a little extra glitz and texture to your bead.  Here are some ideas for embellishing your paper beads.  (Want to learn how to make paper beads? Check out my tutorial.)

1. Wrap up your  beads with string.

Lots of different string can be used for wrapping your beads.  I’ve experimented with sewing thread, embroidery floss, and yarn.  Metallic sewing thread can really stand out.  For even more variation, try beading the thread with small glass seed beads and then wrapping it around the paper bead. After wrapping your bead, secure the string on with  a clear-drying glue like Elmers Glue or Mod Podge.

Add String to Beads

String makes a good decoration for beads


2.  Sprinkle on a little glitter to add a little bling to your beads.

Coat your bead with a thin layer glue or Mod Podge and then sprinkle or roll in sparkly glitter.  Or you can add glitter directly to the sealant before you brush the sealant onto your bead.

I like using Folk Art – Extreme Glitter by Plaid which is clear acrylic paint with very fine glitter already in it.  It comes in several colors and can be found at your local craft store or online at Amazon.

Add Glitter to Handmade Beads


3.  Paint designs on paper beads with fabric paint.

The little squeeze bottles that many of the fabric paints come in make it easy to do precise placement.  You can make all sorts of designs with the paints and they come in lots and lots of colors.  Be careful and wait for the beads to fully dry after painting on the fabric paint.

I’ve been wanting to try the glow-in-the-dark fabric paint and seeing what kind of cool beads could be made with that!


T-shirt Paint can easily be Dabbed onto Beads. I used “Beads in a Bottle” by Tulip in this photo.


4.  Make metallic paper beads with rub-on metallic finish.

Just because your beads aren’t metallic doesn’t mean they can’t look like it.

Try rubbing on Waxed Metallic Finish by Plaid for metallic highlights. Just be sure to seal the bead afterwards so the finish will stay in place.


Beads with Metallic Finish

Paper Beads with Metallic Finish


5.  Wrap up beads with jewelry wire.

Try out different types and gauges of wire.  Jewelry wire comes in lots of different colors and can be coordinated with your beads. Try wrapping them in different ways.  For example, wrap it right around the middle like a yoyo.


Wire Wrapped Beads

Paper Beads Decorated with Wire


I love how paper beads can be decorated in different ways, and I hope these suggestions help get the creative juices flowing!

Do you have a favorite way you like to decorate beads?

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