embroidery and textiles

a quick tutorial : : book beads

beads that look like teeny-tiny tomes

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3965519944 a4f1ed1a43 o1

3965520568 2fbe890162 o1

3964748469 b1ed337186 o1

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3970793195 f92442d695 o1

3965522716 c342edf753 o1

3964751895 4d10795075 o1

3964750721 b27b86aa84 o1

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I haven’t added any text instructions, because I think the photos are clear enough. All that’s left to do know is make a whole heap of these, in different shapes (but always symmetrical shapes!) and sizes, and stringing them up.

This uses the same binding method used to make childrens board-books…the only difference is that you glue the front and back cover together, as well, and create a book in the round, without and ending or beginning…and that’s some pretty heavy symbolism for a pretty paper bead!

Have fun!

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56 thoughts on “a quick tutorial : : book beads

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  13. Great tutorial and lovely photos. I’m blogging about it now and then pulling out my paper punches. Thanks for the great inspiration and your beautiful site. ~ Olivia

    • Thank you so much, Olivia, I am surprised by the continued popularity of this post! So happy to have made so many other happy…the simplicity is the key, I think, to it’s success.

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  19. Hmm…the word ‘book’ seems to have triggered some sort of cramped, narrow mode of thinking that further explanations have failed to open up.

    The paper used was what I had on hand. You don’t have to use a precious book, loves; you are being obtuse, or bellicose, or both. It’s just paper, and any paper will do (funny how one DOES have to spell things out very clearly for the angry and hasty mob!)

    I called it a ‘book bead’ because it is put together the way books are–specifically ‘board books’ as are commonly used for childrens books–with little pages/leaves.

  20. linda mays says:

    I think this could be a great use for junk mail and old catalogs. Even with books being a sacred item in our house, we do have a few that are failing apart. Thank for the great idea. Lins

    M .

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  22. Caroline Krueger says:

    I have a question…can you do this with a regular book, instead of a board book? I don’t have a punch that will go through a board book. How would I make it “firm” or hard like a board book and it not crumple up?
    Thanks for any advice you can give.

    • Hello! Sorry if I was unclear, the METHOD of making these little beads is the same as that used to make board books, but the paper used for these beads was just regular paper from an old book…my punches are same as yours, I could never have punched these shapes out of board.
      As for strengthening, I have found that because the beads are so tiny (my finished bead is the size of a cherry or a small olive), and because you glue two halves together, making each “page” of the bead double thickness, the bead ends up quite firm.
      Other ways, I imagine, would be to 1) punch the shapes out and then glue two or more layers together before folding and gluing into a bead, 2) use the thickest paper your punch can handle…say good quality scrapbooking paper, 3) or dipping the finished bead into some sort of varnish, shellac, liquid gloss, or even a runny acrylic medium, to coat and harden the beads. That’s all I can think of, and mind you these are all theoretical, I haven’t tested these ideas out. Hope one of them works for you.

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  24. Oh wow! These are excellent. I have an old Agatha Christie pulp that every single page has fallen out of because the spine is so broken and the glue was so cheap but I can’t bring myself to get rid of it. This is clearly the answer!

  25. Christine says:

    Funny thing is I didn’t even notice that there weren’t any text instructions until you mentioned it because the photos do such a good job of explaining it.

    Truthfully, I think most of the time I just look at the pictures when I am “reading” tutorials, but I never thought about it before.

    • Not always. A cheesy, romanticized, not-quite-accurate B-grade biography of Mata Hari? Hardly educational. I DID read it before I cut it up, in case I was missing something… it was just sentimental pulp, not worth the paper it was printed on. Of course, the “book” in this posts title refers to the board book format used to make the beads…you don’t have to cut up a book to make them, any paper will do.

    • CURLY says:

      GET REAL! THIS IS A BEADING SITE! I am sure the books were read many times before they fell apart, & then uniquely mastered & RECYCLED into a fabulous new product! I think it is cool! P.S. I was not really into punches before either & just bought a few lately.

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