Wrapper Artists

Wrapper Artists

How could gum wrappers make a woman wax nostalgic? I'm glad you asked. It happens while she's teaching her two daughters how to make the same gum-wrapper chains she made when she was 12.

The difference today? A 12-year-old in 1978 had no lack of brightly colored gum wrappers with which to work. Carefree Bubble Gum pink, Juicy Fruit yellow, Big Red, uh, red.

But these colors of the paper chains we laboriously folded in the 1970s are no longer available. Gum sticks today still arrive in silver foil, but the color-charged paper sleeve is hard to find.

No matter. Today's candy makers have given us plenty of substitutes for crafting wrapper chains, and craft stores offer a smorgasbord of paper, including brightly patterned origami papers, that elevate this craft to a higher level of elegance.

That is, of course, if you can call a paper bracelet and matching earrings elegant.

If I recall my own childhood correctly, this craft is handy for fidgety ones during long, family car rides. Its mindless repetitiveness is soothing, and the creative potential boundless.

Substitute the outer wrappers from Starburst Fruit Chews or Hershey's Miniatures for the obsolete paper gum wrappers. And look around for other possibilities: A friend's Swiss brand of mini-chocolates recently were eaten quickly so their shiny red papers could be turned into a brilliant bracelet.

Alternately, use origami paper, which is similar in weight and can be cut to size. The instructions below are slightly different from the traditional gum-wrapper-chain instructions, which can be found at using Starburst wrappers (see "wrapper bracelet"). By cutting origami paper to size, you can eliminate several steps.


Supplies you'll need:

Origami paper (small, intricate patterns work best)

1 — 7 mm spring ring (jewelry clasp)

3 — 7 mm jump ring






Cutting board

Needle-nose pliers (optional)

Toothpick (optional)


1. Depending on wrist size, cut 25 to 30 1-by-3-inch pieces from the origami paper.

2. Fold each piece in half length-wise. Now the paper is 1/2;-inch by 3 inches.

3. Fold it again in half length-wise.

4. Now fold it in half width-wise, make a crease in the middle, then re-open it.

5. Fold the edges in, toward the center crease, so they meet in the middle but do not overlap. You should have a little V shape.

6. Make several of these.

7. Slip the two ends of one V shape through the holes in another V shape.

8. Take a third V shape and insert that one into the second V shape. Continue on down the line with the remaining 22 or so V shapes. (Within the first three or four inserted pieces, a zig-zag pattern ought to be evident. If you create a box shape, you've inserted a piece incorrectly and need to remove it and try again.)

9. Make the chain long enough to fit around your wrist (about 25 to 30 paper pieces). With the awl and hammer, and using a solid surface such as a sturdy cutting board, gently pierce holes through the folded wrappers at both ends of the chain. Poke the toothpick through the holes to gently widen them. Be careful not to rip your paper.

10. Slip a jump ring and a spring ring (jewelry clasp) onto one end. You may need to use the pliers for this.

11. Slip two jump rings through the other end of the chain.

12. Wear proudly (and be sure to keep it away from water when washing).


Supplies you'll need:

Origami paper (left over from making bracelet, if possible)

2 — 1-inch fish hook earrings

2 — 7 mm jump rings

2 — small glass or plastic beads (optional)

thin beading wire (optional)

Needle-nose pliers (optional)

1. Follow steps 1 through 7 as above.

2. Make the chain as long as you'd like (5 or 6 V shapes is good).

3. Pierce a hole at the end of your last inserted V shape. Insert a jump ring, and attach the fish hook.

4. For added effect, pierce a hole at the other end of the paper chain, insert a small piece of beading wire and a bead and twist, so the bead dangles below.

5. Follow steps 1 through 4 again to make the second earring.

Share This Story