Leaving a paper trail…





Meet my new map necklace. It contains some of California, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Idaho, Ontario and a smaller map of North America, and is long enough to drape around my neck twice. I love looking down and seeing little trees, the word “park”, an interstate sign, or half of a place name- it amazes me to think of all the locations rolled up into one bead and I think about the places I’ve been and those I’ve yet to discover…

I had a cut up road atlas sitting around in my old room at my mom and dad’s. The atlas originally supplied several special locations for a memory box I made for my partner back in 2004 and a few pages later became mail envelopes.

I’ve thought a few times about trying my hand at paper beads but this colourful and varied paper finally gave me the inspiration to start.
It is a very mindless activity and I constructed this while watching a DVD.

Not wanting to be strict about measurements, I used the half way mark on the map to guide me. I cut strips half way up the page (mine were 13cm), then cut them length-wise up the middle. I then cut each thin strip in half, width-wise at an angle. The beads are between just over a half a centimeter wide and 1cm.

With a paintbrush and some diluted elmers (just thicker than wet-ish, if that makes sense) on hand, I rolled a strip with the point on the outside, tapped the paper with glue solution and then rolled the bead in my fingers to seal.

Once they had dried, I painted them with thicker glue, again rolling between my fingers to ensure an even distribution. I also sealed about half of the beads with clear nail-polish. I didn’t find much difference between the two ‘sealants’ but both required a double coat.


  1. We love your beads.. the map is a great image..well done!!

    Mzuirbeads have been individually hand rolling beads from recycled magazines and poster paper to make unique pieces of jewelry from the village of Ndejje in Uganda for over three years. I would everyone to take a look at our site, where you can locate a boutique, or visit our online shop to view our range of paper beads and paper bead jewelry.


    Thank you, Kirstie

  2. Thanks for the map idea, I think I will make one for myself!

    I invite you to see the paper beads created by the Uganda Women Empowerment through Crafts.

    Thank you again for posting about the “map” paper beads!

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