Handmade Jewelry Using Paper: Quilled, Origami and Papier Mache Designs
Jewelry made from paper allows you to create dazzling designs that are affordable, eco-friendly, and entirely unique. From elegant quilled bead strands to bold papier mache pendants, paper is a versatile jewelry crafting material.
This guide explores the magical world of paper jewelry. Learn how basic techniques like paper quilling, origami, and papier mache can transform simple paper into stunning wearable art. Discover inspiring project ideas to delight your inner crafter!
Benefits of Paper for Jewelry Making
Why choose paper as a jewelry making material? Here are some of the key advantages:
Basic paper like copy paper, newsprint, or scrapbooking paper is an very affordable craft supply. Using paper keeps costs low.
Paper jewelry allows you to repurpose many paper items like magazines, sheet music, newspapers, paper bags, etc. that otherwise may be tossed.
Skills like quilling and origami create paper jewelry components speedily compared to other handcrafted methods.
Sealing paper with varnish, decoupage medium, or resin makes pieces surprisingly durable for long term wear.
Paper is an extremely diverse art material perfect for bringing imaginative jewelry ideas to life.
Helpful Tools and Materials for Paper Jewelry Making
Beyond the paper itself, there are a few key supplies that are useful when working with paper jewelry projects:
Varnish & Resin
Seal and protect finished paper elements with brushed-on varnish or clear resin coatings.
Paper Cutter or Scissors
A guillotine paper cutter makes straight cuts but scissors also work for freehand shaping.
Ruler & Pencil
Measure and mark paper with a ruler before cutting for straight lines or symmetrical shapes.
A hole punch easily creates holes for stringing paper beads or attaching findings.
Paint & Brushes
Enhance papers with acrylic paints, watercolors, inks, chalk pastels, or alcohol inks and brush pens.
Jump Rings & Wire
Incorporate findings like jump rings, headpins, and eye pins to turn paper elements into finished jewelry.
Paper Quilling Jewelry Techniques
Paper quilling involves rolling and shaping thin paper strips to create elaborate coils and scroll shapes. Grouped together, these delicate coils combine to form beautiful paper bead strands, pendants, earrings, and more.
Follow this process to create paper quilled jewelry components:
Step 1: Cut Strips
Use a paper cutter or scissors to cut strips 1/4 to 3/8 inches wide from thin paper like scrapbook paper or magazine pages.
Step 2: Roll the Coils
Roll strips tightly around a quilling tool, skewer, or toothpick into compact coils.
Step 3: Shape the Coils
Pinch coils into teardrop, square, triangular, or round shapes. Shape the ends into points or leaves.
Step 4: Glue Components
Brush a small amount of paper glue on coils and press together to form floral motifs, chains, or solid beads.
Step 5: Seal and Protect
Once full paper components are formed and dried, coat thoroughly with varnish or decoupage medium to strengthen the paper.
Innovative Techniques for Quilled Paper Jewelry
Once you master basic quilled beads and motifs, try these fun techniques for taking your paper jewelry to the next level:
Glue together coils of alternating colors to create stripes or colorblock patterns.
Incorporate tiny quilled shapes as embellishments on larger focal beads made from polymer clay, Friendly Plastic, or resin.
Negative Space Quilling
Quilled Paper Mosaics
Cut coil ends into points to tessellate together like a mosaic to form geometric bead shapes.
Shape coils into spirals, loops, and long teardrops that extend dimensionally off the base for shadow box-like beads.
Making Origami Jewelry
Origami, the art of paper folding, offers endless options for jewelry. Here are techniques for transforming origami folds into wearable art:
Step 1: Fold Papers
Use thin, small sheets of paper to fold shapes like birds, flowers, stars, boxes, etc. Follow origami directions.
Step 2: Wire Wrapped Origami
Secure folded paper pieces onto head pins or eye pins with wire wraps to make charms, dangles, and focal beads.
Step 3: Origami Chains
Step 4: Origami Necklace Cords
Step 5: Origami Earrings
Glue on French hook findings or ear wires to transform lightweight origami folds into statement earrings.
Unique Jewelry Using Papier Mache Techniques
Building up shapes with layers of decoupage creates dimensional papier mache jewelry components. Here’s how:
Step 1: Tear Paper
Step 2: Apply Paper
Brush a bit of decoupage glue onto the base piece – a pendant blank, bead cap, or ring form work well. Press on torn paper.
Step 3: Layer Up
Add more glue then continue layering on small pieces of torn paper until reaching the desired thickness and shape.
Step 4: Dry Thoroughly
Allow papier mache pieces to dry fully for 24-48 hours before handling to avoid damaging delicate paper layers.
Step 5: Seal and Protect
Brush on several coats of acrylic varnish or decoupage medium to seal and strengthen the finished papier mache jewelry elements.
Inspiring Jewelry Projects Using Paper Techniques
Ready to get started designing your own paper jewelry creations? Here are some beautiful ways to implement quilling, origami, and papier mache techniques:
Quilled Paper Flower Necklace
Shape quilled coils into colorful flowers. Wire wrap onto a chain or headpin links for a charming paper garden necklace.
Origami Crane Earrings
Master folding colorful origami cranes. Affix to ear wires or hang as dangles from studs.
Papier Mache Cuff Bracelet
Cover a rigid bangle base with torn paper layers. When dry, polish with varnish and embed rhinestones. Add a clasp closure.
Quilled Animal Charms
Fashion tiny quilled coils into sweet animal beads and charms like pandas, koalas, foxes, or owls. Attach to bracelets, necklaces, or handbags.
Paper Mosaic Earrings
Inlay small folded origami pieces into clay earring discs like a mosaic. Apply a domed transparent resin layer when set to create stained glass effects.
Papier Mache Coins
Use metallic foil paper layered on bezel pendant trays to mimic hammered metal coins. Set cabochon rims overtop.
Paper transforms into beautiful jewelry with techniques like quilling, origami, and decoupage. The lightweight paper material allows for delicate, comfortable designs. Take inspiration from nature, architecture, or your own imagination.
Whether you prefer bold origami statement pieces or subtle neutral quilled coils, paper jewelry offers an artistic outlet for creativity. Best of all, the affordable and abundant material means you can craft and experiment freely without worry. Discover a new level of joy in jewelry making with versatile, recyclable paper!