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Louisa C. Kim


I first started making paper bead jewelry in 1993. One day, by chance, I came upon a little known craft of paper bead making.  I had previously been making jewelry with conventional beads and was excited by the possibility of using beads made of paper for my work.  However, I felt that unless I made the paper beads more durable, I knew that they would suffer the fate that most paper jewelry would befall, death by disintegration.  So I proceeded to experiment with what would eventually turn out to be one of the most exciting as well as challenging endeavors of my life.  After trying for many months and trying out many dozens of different kinds of varnishes and paper, I finally achieved my goal.  I have created a process of making paper beads that are hard, durable, and waterproof.  My paper beads look like stone, glass, wood, or shell; anything but paper.   I have overcome many difficulties and developed many different kinds of techniques of making my paper beads.

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Paper bead making is an art form that has been around since at least the Victorian era. People used left over wallpaper or pages of colorful magazines and rolled them to make inexpensive beaded curtains and simple jewelry. The paper is cut into thin strips and rolled into beads. I started experimenting by using various coloring and varnishing techniques.

I am a firm believer in all forms of recycling. Paper bead making became a good way to recycle old magazines that are otherwise discarded. In addition, I also use computer printouts, used wrapping paper and any other recyclable paper to make my beads. After years of experimentation, I developed  a multi-step paper bead making process. It is a long and complicated operation.  However, these meticulous steps are what have brought my paper beads into a class of their own. These amazing beads are colorful, smooth, hard, and 100% waterproof.

I then combine my beads with sterling silver, silver filled, or 14k gold filled findings, as well as semi-precious stones, crystals and glass beads to create elegant jewelry that is comfortable, light and fun to wear. And with a little care, my paper bead jewelry should last for many years.  Enjoy!


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