Am I right in making such a proclamation? Is paper jewelry a book lover’s dream?
I’m probably reaching here. I know this. But, as a book lover who also happens to be a jewelry designer, I wholeheartedly agree. However, I have yet to perfect the art of jewelry making with paper.
In this post, I share my adventures in creating:
- A paper brooch
- Paper hearts
- Three versions of paper heart earrings
- Paper flowers which are also used to create a flower wall.
Why am I so eager to master the art of paper jewelry making?
Because I love jewelry made out of paper.
I have purchased several pieces from other artists throughout the years, which, as expected, are quite fragile, and which I only wear on special occasions.
To me, it’s poetical to wear something made out of the stories that have delighted my heart and soul in some way.
But creating something that is lasting out of the pages from these stories is often where I stumble because I lack the expertise, BUT I am determined to master this art form.
In this blog post, I’ll endeavor to create my own paper jewelry out of old books, in my own style and aesthetic – with the hope of also making these long-lasting pieces.
*Please note that all the books in this slide, and links included throughout the blog marked with an asterisks (*) , direct you to affiliate links where I make a small commission if you place an order.
Creating a unique paper brooch inspired by Dorothy Dandridge
Oh my goodness – am I excited to have worked and finished this project – finally.
While watching Bright Road, I was drawn to Dorothy’s sweet demeanor as Miss. Richards and her elegant wardrobe.
I noticed that she wore minimal jewelry, and while I think it wasn’t necessary, I think a piece like this would have complimented her character quite well.
*If you’d like to learn more about Dorothy Dandridge, I think you’ll love reading this post. It’s filled with beautiful vintage photos and details about her life.
Materials Used To Create Paper Brooch
How I Made This Paper Brooch
If you’re interested in watching me make this paper brooch, start watching the video above at the 4-minute mark.
The final design of this paper brooch is a product of a lot of playing around with all of my materials, but for the sake of clarity, these are the steps that I followed:
1) Create Paper Cones
To begin, I cut pages from an old Huckleberry Fin book into rectangles of varying sizes.
I used a toothpick to shape the pieces of paper into cones and used a little bit of tape to hold the cones in place.
Because I knew I wanted to fan them out, I created more cones than needed in varying sizes and arranged them until I found a design that suited my needs.
2) Create Your Foundation
I love using cardboard when creating pins because it’s easy to work with and because it’s lightweight.
The cardboard I’m using is as thick as the cardboard used for cereal boxes. Given that we are covering it with the ribbon, I highly recommend that you do not invest in the cardboard I’m using here. Instead, use something you might have at home – like packaging from something in your pantry.
Years ago I purchased 100 pieces for around $25 years ago and am still working through it because a little goes a long way.
3) Glue The Pin On To The Cardboard Foundation
Use a little bit of glue to attach the pin to the cardboard foundation.
LET IT DRY.
The time frame needed will vary depending on the glue, you’re using.
Whichever adhesive you choose to use, make sure the pin feels securely set to the ardbaord before working with it.
If it wiggles a little, it is not ready and if you take the chance and work with it anyway, you’ll end up with a pin that could easily fall apart and all your hard work will be for not.
4) Cut Enough Ribbon To Fold Over The Foundation
Use a little bit of glue and a toothpick to spread the glue around both sides of the cardboard. Work on one side at a time while attaching the burlap ribbon because your adhesive may dry out too fast.
When working with the side that has the pin attached to it, make tiny vertical cuts in the burlap ribbon that small enough to fit the pin’s closure through. Once you fit the pin enclosure through, add a little glue to the pin and the surrounding area to ensure the burlap ribbon stays in place.
Try to find something to weigh down the burlap ribbon while it drys, which will likely be for at least 2 hours.
5) Bead The Edges
Once the glue drys and the ribbon feels firmly in place, start beading the edge of the opening with triangle beads.
To learn the exact steps, I highly recommend the book Beading with Cabochons: Simple Techniques for Beautiful Jewelry (Lark Jewelry Books).
That book covers various methods for beading edges when working on cabochons. These methods can easily be applied to any beading project requiring this detail.
6) Attach Button Detail
Because you’re using burlap, you’ll find that it’s quite easy to sew your button onto your project.
For added security, I also recommend adding glue to the edges of the button shank and letting it dry before working with it, once again.
7) Carefully Glue Paper Cones
Finally, arrange your paper cones in your desired way and glue them onto the burlap ribbon.
Let your project rest for at least a day before wearing it. This should help cement your work and increase its durability.
For this project I took inspiration from the heart dangle earrings Selena Quintanilla wore to the Tejano Music Awards.
I love how vibrant and bold they are. And, I got it in my head that heart-shaped earrings made out of pages from a book would be fun and charming.
That was as far as my imagination took me at the time. I didn’t really know what I wanted to make hence I played around with the materials I felt comfortable with and made three designs.
While working on these projects, I experienced a few growing pains. These proved detrimental to these projects, but they reinforced valuable lessons I’d previously learned, yet chose to overlook. With the hope of never forgetting or ignoring my better judgment, I have shared them with you as well.
*To learn more about Selena Quintanilla, read my blog: Selena Quintanilla, Continuing To Inspire The World.
The Basic Steps For Creating Paper Hearts
The process for creating all three designs is very similar.
- Cut out hearts from cardboard
- Cut strips of paper from pages of an old book
- Dip strips of paper in paper hardener/adhesive
- Wrap paper strips around heart cutouts. (I used Vibrance, Paper Bead Glaze for this project – not sponsored)
- Let wrapped cutouts dry out on a flat surface.
Upon completing this final step, you are ready to design your final piece.
Design #1 - Simple Paper Heart Stud Earrings
When creating these dainty little studs, begin by cutting out dainty little hearts from cardboard.
Then dip each strip of paper in your adhesive/paper hardener solution and wrap them around your hearts. Try to mix up the direction of your wrapping as often as possible to make your hearts even once they dry.
Please note that the smaller the heart, the more subtle your earring will be but will also be slightly bigger than your initial cutout.
In some cases, you’ll want tiny, dainty, and subtle.
In my case, I thought I went too small given that from afar, you can scarcely make out the shape of the hearts.
Once the hearts dried completely, I glued on the earring post directly onto the paper hearts – big mistake.
Growing Pain #1
It might have been that my paper hearts still weren’t fully dry, or that the glue used to attached the earring post hadn’t settled, but when I went to put them on just to see how they looked, my earrings basically fell apart. Upon taking them off, the earring post detached from the paper heart and brought with it a piece of the heart.
While my impatience, the glue, and the paper hardener solution may all be at fault for the deterioration of my earrings here, I do believe that with time and continued use, the same incident would have occurred.
To remedy this issue, in the future I’ll try a different hardening solution and will also attach a sturdy backing to the back of these earrings to serve as a foundation for the earring post. Doing so would certainly prolong their lifespan and reduce my heartache.
Design #2 - Dazzling Paper Heart Stud Earrings
Given my disappointment with how subtle my paper heart studs turned out, I went with bigger heart cutouts as a foundation for this version of my paper heart earrings project.
Once again, I attached strips of paper to the paper cutout with a hardening solution, let it dry, and glued the earring posts directly onto each heart.
After letting the glue from the earring posts fully dry, I used a bit of faux suede as the foundation for my embroidery work.
Sandwiching the earring post between the paper heart and the faux suede allowed provided it with an added layer of security from easily detaching.
Around the perimeter of the heart, I used Swarovski Crystals bicone beads for a little shine and interest and around the bottom, I added a bit of delicate chain, which is all basically sewn into the embroidery.
Again, if you’d like to learn more about beaded embroidery, I highly recommend this book: Beading with Cabochons: Simple Techniques for Beautiful Jewelry (Lark Jewelry Books). This is not an affiliate link; it’s just the book I used to learn about bead embroidery and one I often reference.
Growing Pain #2
As you may have noticed, I did add a bit of foundation to these earrings to prevent the earring post from detaching from the earring and with it a piece of the paper hearts.
HOWEVER – you need more than one layer of foundation.
- The foundation used to embroider around your focal bead
- The foundation used to finalize your work and make it pretty because otherwise, you’ll be showing off all your work to the world
That is what I did in this case. I’ve basically let loose and shown my undercarriage for the world to see, and that, friends, is pretty embarrassing…
Design #3 - Dangle Paper Heart Earrings
For this third design, I wanted to create something simple and fun hence after letting the paper hardener dry, I simply poked a few holes with a toothpick – one on the cupids bow and three holes evenly distributed along the bottom of the heart.
To finish the design I added earring hooks to the top holes; a delicate chain to each of the bottom holes, and to the bottoms of each strand of chain I delicately added a glass heart bead, which makes the overall design especially fun.
This is my favorite design of the three.
The image of Selena with a flower backdrop has always inspired me.
It’s more product of Selena in the foreground than the flowers in the background that I love, but none-the-less I really wanted to give my hand at creating a flower backdrop of my own.
No. My flower backdrop isn’t remotely close to what I’d imagined or to the original, but I’m happy to have given this project a try.
For this project, I used a kit by Sterling Innovations – Beautiful Paper Flowers: Elegant – And Easy To Make – Blooms.
The kit includes everything needed to do the project:
- 24 sheets of crepe paper in different colors
- Floral wire
- Floral tape
- 24 stamens
- Beautiful Paper Flowers, a 64-page project book
I found the book’s step-by-step instructions very helpful and easy to follow, and completely worth the price.
I purchased this kit in 2016 for under $10.
Too busy to take the time to sit down to work through the kit before now, it’s just sat within my collection of crafting supplies until now.
Too enamored with the idea of creating paper flowers, I haven’t had the heart to throw it out before giving it a try.
- EVERYTHING you need is included.
- The book is wonderfully illustrated and written.
- The floral tape was challenging to work with.
Once I finished with this project, I felt as if my fingers were going to get blisters.
- There’s a lot of wasted space in the box.
If you’re interested in purchasing your own kit, you may be able to find it in the following outlets:
This is only my first go at both making paper flowers and creating a flower backdrop.
The fact that my paper flowers don’t look like they’re something from an episode of Nailed It!, is a testament to how well-crafted the book is in this kit.
With that said, if you do take the time to browse around for a kit of your own, you’ll find that its price varies quite a lot.
If you spend more than $20 USD, I honestly think you’re paying too much because you can find other kits on the market that are readily accessible, comparable, and fairly priced.
I hope you enjoyed my endeavors in creating paper jewelry.
I hope to continue learning and adding to this post soon as I am far from becoming an expert in the art of papercraft.
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