Handmade Jewelry Using Paper: Quilled, Origami and Papier Mache Designs

beads on traditional jewelry

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 is available in infinite colors, patterns, and textures. It can be further customized with stamping, painting, or collage.


Paper jewelry allows you to repurpose many paper items like magazines, sheet music, newspapers, paper bags, etc. that otherwise may be tossed.

Quick Technique

Skills like quilling and origami create paper jewelry components speedily compared to other handcrafted methods.

Durable Finishes

Sealing paper with varnish, decoupage medium, or resin makes pieces surprisingly durable for long term wear.

Creativity Outlet

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:

Paper Adhesive

Opt for archival-quality white craft glue. Quick-drying glues allow more intricate paper manipulation.

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.

Hole Punch

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:

Two-Tone Quilling

Glue together coils of alternating colors to create stripes or colorblock patterns.

Embedded Quilling

Incorporate tiny quilled shapes as embellishments on larger focal beads made from polymer clay, Friendly Plastic, or resin.

Negative Space Quilling

Arrange coils in sparse groupings with open negative space rather than densely packing them. Creates a lace-like effect.

Freeform Quilling

Play with abstract irregular coil shapes rather than just smooth rounds. Layer them in artistic collage-style focal pieces.

Quilled Paper Mosaics

Cut coil ends into points to tessellate together like a mosaic to form geometric bead shapes.

Dimensional Quilling

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

Interlock folded paper jump rings to form long flexible chains. Varying colors and shapes has a fun effect.

Step 4: Origami Necklace Cords

Glue strips of paper into tubular “cords” secured with clasps. Fold paper at intervals for texture.

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

Tear scrapbook paper, tissue paper, or magazines into small irregular pieces. Avoid cut straight edges.

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!

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