OK young’uns, here’s a craft project just for you! Want to make necklaces for your Mom or your friends this Christmas? Well you can, and you can do it all by yourself (well … maybe with a little help from Dad or an older brother or sister).
Pull off a layer of the funnies from the Sunday paper. Open the double sheet out flat on a hard surface (the kitchen floor or a table that it won’t hurt to work on).
Then use a yardstick and a pencil to measure off and mark a series of dots. These dots start on the upper left corner of the paper right where the color begins. And they’re spaced an inch and a half apart all the way across the double-sheet to where the color ends on the paper’s right edge.
Next draw a second series of dots across the paper’s bottom. This series will be spaced an inch and a half apart too, but it is started three-quarters of an inch in from where the color starts on the sheet.
(Do you see why the top row of dots starts at the edge of the color while the bottom row starts in three-quarters of an inch from the color’s edge? It’s so a series of long, skinny triangles will be formed when the dots are connected by straight lines.)
Now cut out the long, skinny triangles. You should get about 30 or 32 of them from the double-sheet of paper, and each one should be approximately 20 inches long. (Don’t worry about how many you get from a sheet or about how long they are. All newspapers are not the same size. Your triangles will be close enough to this “average” size to work. And if you don’t cut enough from your first sheet of paper, you can cut a few more from another!)
You’re now ready to roll your strips into newspaper beads. You’ll need some round toothpicks and library paste (not glue) for this step.
Take one of the long strips and trim a little sliver off each side of its base. Not a lot; just enough to remove the points from the base’s corners. Then lay the strip—with its most colorful side down—on a covered work surface. (It’s important for you to cover your work surface with several layers of “regular” newspaper so you won’t get paste on the floor or table.)
Next, “spot paste” the long paper triangle with small dabs of your adhesive. Don’t use a lot of paste. Just space a spot of the adhesive every inch or so along the length of the triangle.
Then fold about one inch of the triangle’s wide end over a toothpick and — using your fingernails to tuck it under — start to roll the paper onto the pick. Make it tight, but not so snug that you won’t be able to get the toothpick out later!
As soon as you’ve wrapped a few turns around the toothpick, you can pick it up and continue rolling the paper between your thumbs and fingers. But just before you get to the end, stop and coat the “point” of the paper (on both sides) with paste that you’ve thinned with a little water. Then finish rolling the bead and pull the toothpick out.
The bead should be thickest in the middle. If it isn’t, gently push one end or the other of the little roll of paper against a hard surface. That should fix it.
You’ll need about 25 of the “paper jewels” to make a necklace. But be sure to roll up more than that so you can use only the very prettiest ones.
Let your beads dry for a day. Then stick a toothpick part way into each one so you have a handle and put at least two coats of varnish on (more coats will make the jewels shinier). The first coat should be a one-to-three mixture of turpentine and varnish (have Dad help you handle the turpentine). All additional coats that you apply should be just plain varnish.
When each bead is well coated, push the free end of its toothpick “holder” in between a magazine (or something) and a covered tabletop so the bead can hang out in the air to dry. Or you can glue the ends of a bunch of toothpicks along the edge of a board to make a rack that’ll cure a lot of beads at once!
Let the beads dry completely. Then string ’em up on plastic-coated polyfilament kite cord, monofilament fishing line, or a doubled-over (to make it stronger) piece of thread. If you want to, put a small colored “real” bead (that you can buy in novelty, craft, and fishing tackle shops) or a small button between every two of the beads you’ve just made. Hey! That makes a really pretty necklace!
You can make bigger and smaller and longer and shorter beads too. Just cut fatter or skinnier or narrower or wider strips of paper. Experiment. Have fun. And when you give Mom her necklace (or three or four of them) tell her, “I made it myself!”