Ornate Paper Beads

I came across PaperBeads.org recently and was impressed with the pretty things Janice Bautista makes with simple strips of rolled paper.

She told me about her journey this past year... that's right, Janice has only been involved with paper beads since last winter - and in a big way!

First of all, she's busy with two careers - by day she's the owner of a health care registry and she also owns a shop in Glendora, California called Aubrey's Beads - but her evenings are reserved for crafting. Janice sews, does origami, and is a self-taught jewelry designer with lots of imaginative ideas for making and using paper beads.

For example, she recently printed out a photo of a beautiful California sunrise, cut the picture into strips, and made these beads.

Her fascination with paper beads began when she noticed a magazine article about children making them at summer camp... she found the process to be a stress reliever and liked the idea of recycling magazines and catalogs into something beautiful and useful.

While on the phone with her sister who lives in the Philippines, Janice spoke of her newfound hobby. Surprisingly her sister, who is more into charity work than crafts, listened intently and then called back the next day to say all she could think about was paper beads! She was determined to find a way for bead making to bring much needed income to people in the Philippines. Soon she had workers making multitudes of beautiful beads that Janice sells in her store and online.

Janice is impressed with the workmanship of the durable beads which are finished with a light non-toxic varnish. The workers have come up with a variety of shapes, some of which are quite small and require practice and dexterity to make. A number of the beads look like wood or shell in person - lovely enough to be mixed with pearls, semi-precious stones, and crystals.

But not only are Filipino people earning wages for their labor. The first $500 profit raised by bead sales was used to buy school supplies for three hundred children in the poorest part of Manila - notebooks, pencils, and crayons for kids who otherwise would go without.

Janice and her sister are anticipating another donation in May, as the school year begins in June in the Philippines, and Janice has also set a goal to provide Christmas gifts for the children. She's pleased to donate 100% of profits to helping underprivileged kids and says doing so makes everything worthwhile.

Janice blogs [edit: no longer available] about her paper bead creations, but not just necklaces, bracelets, and rings. She's also been known to showcase messenger bags, bookmarks, and key fobs.

Janice offers tutorials, how-to videos, and sometimes features paper bead projects made by others on her blog, so get rolling!

In the JaniceMae online store and Janice's Etsy shop, you can find rolling tools, beads, and kits to make complete jewelry pieces.

Ann Martin
Ann Martin

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