*this post was originally published on Dec 27, 2013. It has been updated and republished.
As promised, I have for you today another free tutorial – how to make chain earrings from paper quilling! This is a very basic design idea, but has such fabulous and elegant results! Depending on the colors, size, and other variations you choose you can use these earrings with your casual, office, or even evening wear!
First of all, when making paper chain earrings the technique I use is to make open circles. This means that I roll the paper around something wide, not around the tip of a quilling tool as usual. For my usual beads, I use the end of my aluminum quilling tool (find it on Amazon) to roll the paper around.
For most of my paper beads I use quilling paper that is 1/8″ (3mm) wide. You can use quilling paper that is specially cut, or you can cut your own. (Click here to learn how to cut your own strips) You can use any width of paper that you prefer. If you use wider paper you will need to use larger jump rings.
Making the Beads
Here is the basic technique for making the paper beads:
Take your strip of paper and wrap the end around the end of your aluminum tool (or any other object you are using instead. The diameter of the end of my tool is 3/16″ or 4.5mm). Place a tiny tab of glue at the end of your paper.
Hold the end with the dab of glue and make sure it tucks under the strip as you start rolling. Roll the strip of paper around the tool.
Once you come to the end of the strip place another dab of glue at the end and glue it tightly. Carefully twist the bead off of the tool without squishing it.
So, those are the basic instructions on how to make the paper beads! For my chain earrings I use this tool and a strip of paper that is 6 inches long. I like using quilling paper from Lake City Crafts because it is 24″ long. Therefore I just have to rip/cut each strip into four pieces and I can make four beads! Many of the papers I use are from Lake City Crafts since they are the paper that I started quilling with and I love the 24″ length. I also use Paplin papers in addition since they come in some different colors and are almost the same length. But any brand of paper will work, or you can cut your own! One more new brand that I am using more and more is Culture Pop from Little Circles. This new brand is by Erin Curet and has quite a following, and for good reason. She has the most single colors of any brand I know, and she cares about and loves the paper that she sells. (she’s also an amazing artists! Click here to check out her website, and here for her online shop.)
The next step is to add sealer to your beads so that they are more sturdy and they are water resistant. This is not necessary if you are just making the earrings for yourself and you don’t mind re-making them once in awhile if something happens to them. But if you’d like them to be long lasting, definitely add a sealer to them. You can use any sealer or top coat you find in a craft store (click here to read all my posts about sealants and topcoats). I have tried a few brands and all seem to work well. For these beads I usually use a more liquid sealer (like Ceramcoat liquid sealer) and I dip the beads, let them sit in the sealant for a few seconds, pick them up with tweezers, dab them on a tissue, and set them on a plastic surface to dry completely. Depending on the sealer I use I may just need one coat or I may need to use several coats. Click here for my full review and tips for Ceramcoat sealer. For extra water resistant protection, use something like Diamond Glaze as the final layer (after the sealer has dried). Click here for my full review and tips for Diamond Glaze.
When your beads are dry and sealed, it’s time to put them together! I find that for paper that is 1/8″ in width that I use for these beads I use jump rings that are 6mm. You can also use 7mm. I find that 5mm is just a little too squishy for this size. But if you use narrow width paper you can get away with using 5mm jump rings. You could even make these beads with 1/4″ wide paper if you use big enough jump rings! That would be a pretty cool look!
Examples and Variations
Here are some photos of earrings that I have made with the basic paper bead made with 6″ long paper on the end of the aluminum tool. I like the rainbow ones because they are so fun and fresh, a perfect look for summer! But my very favorite are the ones made from the metallic papers. They really don’t look like they are made from paper! The longer ones that I made and looped around are very elegant looking.
There are also many other variations you can do on this paper chain design! One of my favorite variations is to do a bright color regular bead, and then put a layer of metallic paper or silver trim paper just on the outside edge. What you do is make the bead as above. After taking it off of the tool, glue the end of a piece of metallic/trim paper onto the bead. Wrap it around just once and cut it the right length. Glue the end in place. Here are some examples:
Yet another variation is to make a different sized bead. I like the look of these larger beads for a fun change!
For these I use a different tool instead of the end of my aluminum quilling tool. I use the end of a pen that I have that has a nice smooth barrel. You can use any object really, just experiment! For a larger object you will need a longer piece of paper. Try 9″ or 12″ and see what you like. The longer the paper is the thicker and stronger the bead will be. Of course if they are much thicker you will need a bigger jump ring size, so just experiment and find a combo that works well for the materials you have on hand.
I hope you have enjoyed learning how to make chain earrings from paper quilled beads! I really love the simplicity and elegance of these earrings!
Click HERE to view tips and tricks for paper quilling, divided into subjects!
Click HERE to view free tutorials for paper quilling projects!
Click HERE to find where you can purchase paper quilling supplies – many sources listed from around the globe!
*All products in this post I purchased and/or made myself.
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