Paper Bead Templates with Adobe Illustrator

If you have access to Adobe Illustrator, and you already enjoy creating digital pattern designs, this is a great way to expand out into the world of craft.

This particular post is about the making of paper beads.

With Illustrator it is super easy to create some quick bead templates, which you can then fill with various patterns.  Here are a few examples:

I personally prefer creating tube shaped beads, but there are quite a few other template shapes, that result in different bead styles.

In Illustrator, if you start a New Document, at 8 1/2 x 11”, you could set some quick guides to help with precise sizing and even alignment.

You can use the Pen Tool to create the Templates. It’s super easy, as there are no curves to deal with. Just click at each point and be sure to close the shape, when you see a little circle graphic next to the Pen.

Once you have your templates as closed shapes, you can fill them with any pattern.  I copied and pasted a couple of patterns into the template document.  If you select the pattern, you will see it in your Fill box, and you can drag it over into your Swatches panel. You will now have a Pattern Swatch.

Next, select a template shape and select the pattern swatch to fill the shape.

You may not like how large or small the pattern is within your template, so using the Scale Tool is a quick way to resize the pattern.  Double-click the Scale Tool, deselect the Transform Object box, leaving only Transform Pattern, and go either up or down in % to change the scale.

Once your happy with it, print out on paper (my preference is 60 lb. card stock), and get to rolling.  Here are some quick examples of some beads with some digital patterns.


Leave a Reply