How to make 4th of July Paper Beads

Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia

The Betsy Ross House
where the US flag was born. 
Flickr: Some rights reserved by ConspiracyofHappiness

I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy…

I grew up in the Olde City neighborhood of Philadelphia, just down the street from where the Declaration of Independence was signed and a short walk from the house where Betsy Ross sewed the first American flag.

In high school, I even gave tours in the church where she and folks like Benjamin Franklin and George Washington worshiped.

Now that I’m older and no longer in Philly, I thought it might be fun to make some stars and stripes paper beads to celebrate my old stomping grounds, the US flag, and the 4th of July.

As a bonus, I’ve included a pdf file in this tutorial with a stars and stripes pattern for you to print!

Paper Beads with Stars and Stripes

What I like best about these beads is that you mix 2 contrasting stars and stripes designs by rolling a narrower strip on top of a wider strip. This makes the beads really stand out.

If you don’t want to do a stars and stripes design, you can try this with any 2 designs such as 2 different types of scrapbooking paper. You can even do something from another holiday, your favorite sport team’s colors, or your school’s colors.

 

So let’s get started

To make these beads, print out that pattern that I designed.

Click here to download the Stars and Stripes Pattern (pdf)

 

Stars and Stripes paper

If your printer is like mine and does not print to the edges, trim off the white edges after printing.

 

Cut the paper into rectangular strips

In order to really see the flag design, we are going to make cylinder shaped beads. In order to do that, we need to cut some wide rectangles and some narrow rectangles.

Wide rectangles: 3/4 inch x  5 inches.

Narrow rectangles: 1/2 inch x 5 inches.

Cut some wide and some narrow rectangles from both patterns.

Cut Stars and Stripes Paper

 

How to roll the 2-pattern bead

Start with a wide paper strip.  Apply Mod Podge or other adhesive to the back of it with a paintbrush. (Leave about 1 or 2 inches clear at one end so you can start rolling it without it sticking to the roller.)

If you used an inkjet (deskjet, etc)  printer,  use the glue at full strength and do not dilute the glue. The more water in the glue, the more likely your colors will start come off and run a little.  (Most inkjet ink is not waterproof.)

FlagBeads_0002_Glue

 

Roll the wide strip of paper. A thin metal tube, toothpick, or a plastic q-tip with the cotton removed are all good bead rollers.

Do not remove  the wide strip from the bead roller yet.

 

Next, choose a narrow strip of paper with the other pattern. Coat the back of a narrow strip with glue and roll it around the wider strip that you just rolled.

Remove the bead carefully from the roller. Set the bead aside on a piece of non-stick paper (such as wax paper) and let it dry.

I made some of the paper beads with wide stripes and narrow stars.  Then, I made some beads with wide stars and narrow stripes.

Adding Narrow Layer of Paper

 

Congrats!  You have red, white, and blue 4th of July beads. (Time to do a happy dance!)

If you want, you can seal them with a little Mod Podge on the outside. (This is important with these beads since the colors on the inkjet might run if they get damp while you wear the bracelet.)

 

Have fun with your beads!  They’d made a bright pair of earrings or a fun necklace for a summer barbecue.

I made my beads into a stars and stripes bracelet. Happy 4th of July!

Paper Bead Bracelet for 4th of July

 


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