Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Newspaper Beads

Let me tell you the reasons I love this project:
1.  It was something my son and I did together, and we both had fun.  2.  It was a great way to recycle some old newspapers.  3.  It makes a really cute gift for your little one to give to Grandma for Easter.  And my favorite reason, 4. My heart melted when my son told me he wanted me to have it because it would look so pretty on my wrist. xoxoxo

The only bad part about this project:  It takes a few days to complete it because you have lots of drying time.....

Mommy & Kid Part:  Start of by taking a newspaper and tearing it into small pieces.  You can also use the old sales ads that come in your paper.  My pieces ended up being anywhere from quarter sized to candy bar sized.  The smaller the better.  Ya know, I'm amazed at how much kids love to tear up newspaper :) 

Here is an adult part:  Take your cut-up newspaper, and put it in a large pot.  Boil some water and pour it over the newspaper.  You'll want enough to cover the paper.  Then, put the lid on the pot and leave it sitting for an hour or a little more.  You'll want to stir it every now and then.  The goal is to have the paper break up into a nice mush.

Once you get this beautiful mush, you want to drain out the water.  You can do this using a collander if you want, however, I found it was easier to take handfuls, squeeze the water out, and then put it in another bowl.  When the excess water is out, mix in some Elmer's glue to help hold the paper together.  Just guess on the amount.  I used about 8 pages of paper and maybe 1/4 bottle of Elmers.  There is really no exact science to this part.  Heres my warning:  Your hands are going to be black when you are done!!  Don't worry though, it washes off, but be careful not to get it on your clothes.  I also suggest washing your pot as soon as you are finished because the inside will be covered in black also (don't worry, it washes out).

Alrighty, next is another Mommy & kid part:  Its time to form the beads.  Take out small amounts of your mush and roll it into balls.  Try to squeeze out any extra water as you go.  My son didn't get the "squeeze the water out" concept, and his turned out fine, so don't worry about it too much.  I will say, shaping the balls is a little harder than I expected.  You can't really roll it out because it breaks apart a little.  It just takes lots of squeezing and hand-shaping.  Have fun with it!!  Make some squares, balls, flat round discs... whatever your little hearts desire.
Here is the rough part:  Once you get your beads all shaped, put them on a piece of aluminum foil or wax paper and wait for them to dry.  Its gonna take two to three days for them to dry out completely.  I hate waiting, but ya gotta do it.  When they have completely dried out, it will be pretty obvious cause they will be super light.

Now that the beads are dry, drill a hole thru each bead.  Then you can either paint them as they are, or you can sand them down a little with sandpaper or an emory board.  The will not be pefectly smooth; they actually have a natural rock kinda look.  They would probably look pretty cool painted to look like turquoise or something.  But my kids just went crazy painting all different colors :)  Hint:  You may want to put wire thru the beads before you paint them or you may paint the holes shut.  Not a big deal, just makes it a little harder to find the holes when you string them. 

After the paint has dried, spray them with a gloss finish, string them, add a hook, and wear them!!


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