My Adventures with Paper Yarn Beads

Several years ago, I bought a drop spindle with the thought that I’d learn how to spin wool yarn with it.  I never spun a lot of wool with it, and eventually the drop spindle found its way to the back of my crafts closet. But recently I learned something that had me picking up my spindle again!

I learned that you can spin paper into paper yarn.  Paper yarn?  (Okay, maybe I’ve been living under a rock somewhere, but this was the first time I had heard about it.) Anyway, I’m convinced that there are a few paper bead concepts in this idea.

Spinning Paper into Yarn

First I had to learn how to spin the paper.  There are a few videos on youtube for spinning.  I watched this one by Vickie Howe about spinning newspaper (Check her video out on YouTube).  She does a great job explaining the process, and after watching it, I thought, “Hey, I can do that!”

I decided to spin white tissue paper.  I wanted to be able to control the final colors of the yarn. I used 1 sheet of tissue paper cut into 1-inch strips.

Spinning Paper Into Yarn

Spinning Paper Into Yarn with a Drop Spindle


Using Watercolor Paints on Paper Yarn

I decided to take it one step further and used white tissue paper.  I wanted to be able to control the final colors of the yarn.

I used 1 sheet of tissue paper cut into 1-inch strips.  Once my tissue paper yarn was spun, I painted it with watercolors.  I did this by laying it all out on the counter and spritzing it with water.  Then I used a paintbrush and gently touched the colors to the yarn.  From time to time, I would add more water so that the colors would spread.  After painting all the yarn, I let the paper dry.

After it dried, it was surprisingly strong. I loved how the watercolors soaked into the yarn.

Spun Paper Colored with Watercolors


Making a Wrapped Paper Bead with Paper Yarn

Now that I had the paper yarn, what to do next?  At first, I wanted to try to crochet some sort of bead, but I couldn’t find my crochet hooks…. argh.

So, I decided to make a wrapped bead.

First I made a straight sided wrapped bead using 2 inches x 3/4 inches rectangle of scrap paper.   This would be a base for the yarn bead and help keep it stabilized.

Then I applied glue to the outside of that bead and wrapped the paper yarn around it.

Wrapping paper yarn around paper bead base


And Now We Have Paper Yarn Beads

I liked how the final beads looked.  They had an interesting texture and color.  The amount of paper yarn that I had spun from 1 sheet of tissue paper would probably make at least 15 or 20 beads. (Each bead was 3/4 inch wide.)  They also felt pretty durable, though I would seal them with a clear finish before using them.

Paper Yarn Bead

Beads with Paper Yarn Wrap

These were fun and fairly quick to make (after making the yarn.) It’s easy to come up with a  lot of  paper bead crafting ideas that use paper yarn.  Now, if I can only find my crochet hook…


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