This paper bead necklace has taken me over 3 weeks to complete, rather than just the couple of days I expected. I had more problems with it than I ever expected. The good news is that I persevered and will let you know exactly what didn’t work and what did.
I just love my finished necklace! I have a small neck, so I was able to make it just the right size for my neck.
I started by making beads from my old calligraphy practice paper. I have just started learning copperplate, and had used some Strathmore Aquarius watercolor paper for practicing. I thought it would make great beads. You can read my blog post: Paper Beads From Calligraphy Practice Papers.
These were my original paper beads made from strips of my calligraphy practice paper.
My first problem came when I tried to seal the beads with acrylic matte medium. The ink bled. Then I tried sealing with a number of other finishes, all bled. I tried spraying the paper with a spray fixative before rolling the beads, but they still bled. I tried multiple coats, still bled. I tried different inks, with various unsatisfactory results.
I think part of my problem was that I was using 80# watercolor paper. But I wanted the heft of that paper when making my beads, so I didn’t change the paper I was using. Higgins Eternal, Sumi, Pen and Ink India Black and Font India all bled when I tried to seal them with acrylic matte medium or a glazing medium. I finally found that a super heavy coat of Renaissance Wax on Pen and Ink India Black didn’t bleed! Great, but it took a lot of Renaissance Wax (not cheap) and a lot of time. I could make my necklace, but it wasn’t the final solution.
My finished necklace combines paper and regular beads on stretch cord.
I then bought 2 waterproof black inks, Higgins India Drawing Ink and Bombay India Ink. The Higgins India bled on the three different papers I tried writing on. It went on fine, but within a few seconds, the ink started bleeding into the paper. The Bombay India worked like a charm. The calligraphy was crisp. My thins were wonderfully thin. It was a delight to use. I try not to use waterproof ink in my pens as the nibs don’t last as long, but I did love this combination pen nib, ink and paper. FYI, throughout this project I have used a Brause EF pointed nib.
With my ink finally figured out, it was time to make new beads and make my necklace. When making my paper beads, I wrap them around a toothpick. When sealing my beads with acrylic matte medium, I use a bamboo skewer and paint 6 at a time. I usually coat the beads twice. This makes them water resistant, but not waterproof.
This is the stretch cord I used to make my necklace. It has instructions on the back for how to tie and glue (optional) to finish it.
Once the beads were sealed, I strung them on .7 mm stretch magic cord. Once tied (and glued), the cord stretches in order to get the necklace on and off. No clasps required! I got this idea from my friend, Michelle. I will report later how the cord holds up over time. Meanwhile, I love my new necklace!
My neighborhood is sponsoring a Holiday Arts, Crafts & Collectibles Sale the Saturday before Thanksgiving. The profits from this sale will be donated to our Community Art Fund for art for our community.
Three of the boxes I’m donating to our Holiday Arts, Crafts & Collectibles Sale.
One of my contributions to this sale are these boxes that I have been making this past week. These were originally flat white boxes that were leftovers and donated by two different people. I took the flat white boxes and applied colored paste that I use to make my paste papers. You can see the wonderful results once they are folded into boxes.
Three more of the boxes I’m donating to our Holiday Arts, Crafts & Collectibles Sale.
You cannot purchase these boxes. You will only be able to get them if you spend a certain amount of money at our Holiday Sale.
This is how the boxes started out, flat. You can see the four colors of paste I’m using for this box.
I love being able to use boxes that were destined to be put in the recycle bin and make them into something to be treasured. Hopefully they will be used many times to exchange gifts.
The box on the lower left is the same box from the photo above this one. It’s so much better looking once it’s colored.
I made a lot of these paste paper boxes this past week in my studio. Actually, for this month, my studio is my garage. I do tend get messy throwing colored paint around, so my garage is the perfect space for making paste papers.
I have added gold pigment to most of my paste paper boxes. I love how it jumps out on these purple boxes
I will be sharing other items I’m making for the Holiday Arts, Crafts & Collectibles Sale in future blog posts.
Three more of the boxes I’m donating to our Holiday Arts, Crafts & Collectibles Sale.
About 2 years ago I decided to do a fade test of some black papers I had. I cut strips of 6 black papers I had, taped them on a white paper, labeled the papers, then cut the page in half. I put one sheet in a south facing window and the other in an envelope in closed drawer.
The papers on the left were left in the sun. The papers on both the left and right were originally one paper that I cut in half.
There is quite a difference in some of the colors. There were a couple of surprises. I hadn’t expected the mulberry black to fade, and it really did. I was pretty sure the Arches black wouldn’t fade and I was right. I had been told that Canson black faded, but it sure doesn’t look to me like it did. This is great news! I have lots of my “unknown” paper and now I know it doesn’t fade. I was pretty sure the Wausau and Astrobright papers would fade, but was amazed at how much they did fade. Also, notice that the white paper yellowed a bit from being in the sun.
This is how both papers looked 2 years ago.
Now it’s time to do another couple of tests. I want to do a test of some colored papers. And I think a test of some inks would be a good idea. I have done tests of inks in the past, but many of my favorite ones are no longer made.
I welcome input from those who have done their own fade tests.
Happy creating, Candy
My burn is healing and I’m back making my paste papers. It looks as though I’ll be making my paste papers well into September. I want to have enough paste papers to last me until next summer.
I have cut purple paste papers into 2″ by 4″ rectangles and am folding them into units that will eventually become one of my Earth Spirit Vessels.
What’s new this year is that I need to make a lot more paste papers to incorporate into my Earth Spirit Vessels. The vessels I made last year were quite popular, so I will be making more this year.
I love the various colors of purple and gold that will eventually find their way into an Earth Spirit Vessel.
This is what has been happening in my studio this past week. With my burn, I’ve been cutting and folding more than making paste papers. But, I’ve now healed enough to start making more paste papers again.
Not everything goes as planned. Ditto on today’s blog post. I’ve received many compliments on my blog. Now it’s time to let my admirers in on a secret; I’m only human. Sometimes things don’t work out.
Paper beads made from strips of my calligraphy practice paper.
I had a wonderful idea of making a necklace out of paper beads made from my calligraphy practice. I wrote about this in last week’s blog post (as in photo above). When I went to coat the them with acrylic matte medium, the ink bled. Yuck! No photo because they look too awful.
Then I tried another ink. Worse result. Finally I think I may have found a waterproof ink that may work. Unfortunately before I could practice with that ink, I poured boiling water over my left wrist (I’m left handed).
My wrist is healing well, but it still hurts and I’m giving it a lot of TLC and not doing any calligraphy for a bit. Cold compresses and aloe vera have worked wonders and I may manage to escape with only a few days of intense pain.
Moral of the story: life happens. And maybe I should work on getting my blog posts done ahead of time, which I have thought about, but haven’t really managed to accomplish yet.
I have not been able to make paste papers for a few days either. My response for that is that I will likely have to make paste papers into September rather than just for the month of August. That is no problem for me, but it does mean that paste papers will be consuming my life for a little longer than usual this year.
I just thought you should know that I’m human, too. Not everything works out. And that’s just life.
Happy Creating, Candy
As part of my First Friday Art Walk demonstration this past Friday, I invited children to make their own paste papers. First I demonstrated how I make my paste paper, then with the permission of a parent, I let the children make their very own paste paper.
Miles chose blue, green and yellow for his paste paper.
I had an assistant on hand to dry the paste papers with a hair dryer so the children could take their paste paper home with them. Needless to say, it was a great success.
Miles using tools to make marks in his paste.
Moving my paste paper set from my garage to my studio at the Art Center takes a huge amount of time. I figure it takes me 3 days to prepare, set it up and then take it down afterwards.
Miles has used stamps and graining tools to make marks in his paste paper. He’s almost finished in this photo.
Watching the children make their very own paste papers was so worth the effort of setting up for this project. They were all so proud of their masterpieces. They kept coming back to check on how the drying was going on.
Mari chose pink, purple, blue and teal as her colors.
It’s not necessary to use the high quality materials I use if you are making paste paper with children. Your paste can be flour and water and your coloring can be tempera or food coloring. You can use just about anything to color your paste.
Here Mari is using a comb to add lines to her paste paper.
If you are looking for some high quality non-toxic children’s paints, check out my friend, Leah’s, Natural Earth Paints. Leah has created a line of paints that are non-toxic, from paints for children to paints for professional artists.
Mari’s finished paste paper.
This is not the first time I had children make paste papers in my studio at the Ashland Art Center. I did this a couple of years ago too. It was a huge hit then too.
Remy chose pink, purple and teal for her paste paper.
Remy making marks in her paste.
Remy’s finished paste paper.
Scarlett chose teal, blue, magenta and purple as her paste colors.
Scarlett is about to make marks in her paste.
Scarlett is stamping patterns in her colored paste.
Samara chose magenta, purple and blue as her paste colors.
Samara adding texture to her paste paper.
Samara is just about done with her paste paper here.
Drake was a two fisted painter, chose yellow, teal and green as his paste colors.
Drake was my only 2-fisted painter. He was a delight to watch.
In addition to using both hands, Drake really slathered his paste on the paper. It took a little longer to dry, but he sure got into the process.
Emelia chose purple, blue, magenta and pink for her paste colors.
Emelia painting her paste paper.
Emelia’s finished paste paper.
Owen chose yellow, blue, teal and green as his colors.
Owen is making marks in his paste paper.
Owen has almost finished his paste paper.
The kids had a great time and I loved watching them. Here are some links if you are interested in additional information.
For non-toxic paints for children:
Natural Earth Paints
For more information on paste papers:
Making Paste Papers: Part One
Making Paste Papers: Part Two
To see the paste papers children made a few years ago:
Children Making Paste Papers
Last May I took a 2-hour class on Copperplate capitals. Translation: I decided to learn a new calligraphy alphabet using a pointed pen, an alphabet in which the thicks and thins of the letters are made by the amount of pressure applied to the pen. I loved it! So, when I was at my week long calligraphy retreat last month, I practiced Copperplate and ended up with lots of practice papers.
Paper beads made from cut up strips from my calligraphy practice papers.
Not wanting to waste anything, I decided to make paper beads out of some of my practice papers. I cut long triangles out of my practice paper and wound them around a toothpick. I applied a little glue at the start and end of the winding.
The photo above shows triangle strips from which I make my beads
Then I sealed the bead using acrylic matte medium. I like a matte finish on my beads. If you prefer a shiny finish, you can use acrylic gloss medium to seal your beads. The matte medium will not make your beads waterproof, but will make them water resistant.
Acrylic matte medium has been applied to the two paper beads on the toothpick to seal them.
Now I need to think of a project to use these lovely black and white beads for. The finished beads have an almost oriental feel to them. I’m thinking of maybe making a black and white necklace.
Paper beads made from strips of my calligraphy practice paper.
This week I cleared out my garage and set it up to make paste papers. I do this each summer, usually in August, when it’s hot and my paste papers can dry quickly. I cooked my favorite archival paste recipe, added acrylic paints and started making my paste papers.
I turned my garage into my paste paper studio for the month of August.
The above photo shows how I set up my garage in order to make paste papers. There is my work station in the center with an “in progress” paste paper. The wet of the paste shows more as a glare in the photo. I have my water bath set up behind my paste paper. My drying racks are in the back of the photo.
The paste papers I made day 1. They dry rather wrinkled and need to be ironed.
After the paste papers are dried, they need to be ironed. The pile in the above photo are from my first day of making paste papers. They will be ironed with a dry iron. I put them in a pillowcase or between two pieces of cloth when I iron them and put a wooden board beneath the cloth.
I will show further updates on my paste paper making throughout the month.
For more information on the making of paste papers, check out these two blog posts of mine:
Making Paste Papers – Part One
Making Paste Papers – Part Two
Once I made my Ladybug Card, I simply couldn’t stop making paper ladybugs. They’re simply so cute! I decided I wanted to make a “flock” of them and make them into a garland to hang around the house for good luck. They might also be called a mobile.
Paper Ladybug Garland
For my garland (or mobile), I made my ladybugs just a little larger than I did for my greeting card. Rather than using a 3″ square of red square of paper, I started with a 3.5″ square which resulted in a slightly larger ladybug. I also made the black dots on their wings a little larger too.
Paper Ladybug Garland closeup. You can see that I have attached ladybugs to both sides of the waxed linen thread.
After making my “flock” of ladybugs, I attached them, back to back, to some black waxed linen thread. I used PVA glue, but any craft glue should work. I threaded some beads between each of the ladybugs.
Another Paper Lady Bug Garland close up.
Paper Ladybug Garland
I really enjoyed making these ladybugs. To see the instructions for making them, check out my blog post: DIY Ladybug Card.
This past week I was looking for some beads for a project I was working on and realized that my bead “collection” was totally out of control. I had well over 100 little plastic baggies full of beads. Looking through all those baggies just wasn’t efficient.
My new bead organization in progress. I’m making little paper boxes and sorting my beads by color.
Then I remembered how organized my friend Michelle’s beads were. So, off to Michaels for some clear plastic boxes that were designed to hold scrapbook paper. I bought a number of these boxes and made little paper boxes to hold all my beads. With little boxes, I can easily rearrange the beads if necessary.
Close up showing how I sorted my beads by color.
It took me a couple of days to make the paper boxes and a couple more to sort through all my beads. I know I have some more red beads and some more paper beads, but I haven’t found them yet. When I find them, I’ll rearrange the boxes once more so I have like colors together.
Paper beads, green beads, earth tone beads and an empty box yet to be filled.
Once I got my beads sorted into my paper boxes, I realized that I really needed lids for the boxes so the beads wouldn’t spill into neighboring boxes while I was moving the plastic box they were in. I also realized that I wanted clear plastic lids so I could easily see the beads without having to open all the boxes.
I made clear plastic lids for my paper boxes so I can see exactly what beads are inside and protect them from spilling while I’m carrying the container.
My answer was to take used clear plastic container lids and cut out a 2″ by 3.5″ rectangle. I scored and folded .75″ on both of the long sides of the plastic so I ended up with a 2″ square with .75″ flaps on 2 sides. I then slipped the flaps into the sides of the box and I had my clear plastic lid. (See photo above. Both bead boxes on the left have clear plastic lids on them.)
Now I’m able to see all my beads at a glance. It was well worth the effort!