In going through all of my old junk mail + magazines, another fun thing I wanted to share is how to make paper reeds!
Paper reeds are long, tubular shaped sticks of paper that can be used in a number of different ways. You can use them as an alternative to popsicle sticks or wood and you can also roll them to make fun coils for making all kinds of things or even weave them into baskets.
Paper reeds are made in a very similar way to how I make paper beads, with the two main exceptions being the way I cut the paper strips and the type of stick I use!
Video on How I Make Paper Reeds
I posted a quick video on how I make paper reeds on my YouTube channel as well as here at the blog.
In the video I share everything I use to make them plus how to hold the paper + everything else.
What Type of Tool to Use for Rolling Paper Reeds?
While making paper beads have all kinds of fun gadgets + dedicated tools to make rolling them easier, this is not the case for paper reeds.
Fortunately, you already most likely have something you can use to make them around the house! Making paper reeds also doesn’t really put as much strain on your hands or wrists if you’re making a lot of them.
Bamboo skewers work great for this, although I have found that after awhile they may break since they are pretty thin pieces of wood that can be easily snapped in half.
The bamboo skewers are also pretty thin and while thin paper reeds are awesome, it may give you smaller and skinnier paper reeds than you want!
This is where I’m finally able to put my knitting needles to good use! I have tried to learn how to knit for more than 5 years and have finally decided it’s just a hopeless cause. I will stick to crochet lol. I have watched zillions of videos, my cousin tried teaching me – it’s a lost cause.
How to Cut Paper Strips for Making Paper Reeds
The other thing you will need for making paper reeds are some strips of paper.
The best type of paper I have found is very thin paper – newspaper, grocery store circulars, coupon flyers and cheap advertising magazines you get in the mail are all perfect for this!
If the paper is very thick, like scrapbook paper or paper from better quality magazines it will be harder to roll and even harder to flatten for other paper reed craft projects. It’s okay if you want very strong paper reeds if you were to build something substantial out of them, but for most paper reed crafts the thinner paper is better!
The other nice thing about these types of papers is they are actually VERY easy to rip into the strips you need once you figure out the direction of the grain – so you don’t even need scissors!
To figure out the grain of the paper, (when it’s not good paper of course!), the easiest way is to try ripping it in different directions to see what the paper does. If you get a nice clean line, that’s the direction to rip in. If the cut is more jagged and doesn’t seem to tear easily, you’ll want to try tearing from the other side.
For most grocery store flyers and junk mail magazines, I’ve found the papers rip best from top to bottom.
I typically will rip them into strips that are about 3 inches wide and 10 inches long. My video on paper reeds shows how I tear them up.
What I usually do when sorting my incoming junk mail is I will rip them up + then store all the torn pieces in a cardboard box so they are ready to go anytime I want to roll paper reeds.
Making paper reeds is another one of those awesome couch/bed activities where you can make them while watching a movie or even talking to a friend on the phone or any other activity where you want to keep your hands busy but don’t need to give what you’re doing a whole lot of attention!
How to Roll The Paper Reeds
Rolling the paper reeds is very easy, and the most important thing to do is to put your rolling stick at an angle along the strip of paper.
If you try rolling it from a flat side, you will just end up with a very long and thick paper bead – which is sometimes useful for certain things but not what we want to be making in this case!
From there, you just guide the paper with one hand and roll it with the other. Once it’s rolled up, just add a small dab of glue to hold in place and you’re ready to roll your next one!
Once you get the hang of making them, you’ll find it’s very easy to make a lot of them quickly – which is good, because for most projects you will usually need a lot of them!
Paper Reeds Are Awesome Stash Buster
I’ve found that making paper reeds is an awesome stash buster because the prep for making the strips is very easy (and sometimes even soothing – if you’re ever angry, tearing junk paper into strips is a good healthy and productive stress reliever!)
The other nice thing about making them is you are actually making your own craft supplies to use for other projects. I have so many ideas for what I want to make with these when I fill up my cardboard box of paper reeds and I’ve seen so many great project ideas to consider also!
While I haven’t done a whole lot of miniatures stuff lately (as you can see on my slightly neglected miniatures blog TinyCrafter.com – it’s definitely been awhile since I’ve posted anything!) – I could also see these being great for making all kinds of miniature + assemblage art! Definitely would be great for furniture, but I might even try making a whole house out of them!
Do you like to make paper beads? Have any tips for making them or ideas for what to make with them? I always very much love hearing from you in the comments below!