Here are some pink ones I did and coated in hot pink nail polish. The one on the far right was embossed.
I may forego embossing these beads for the most part, because the shape gets weird. Maybe just color and clear nail polish for a bit of shine, and that will do just fine.
I have to admit that it did take the nail polish a little longer to dry, but it did give it a nice finish without eliminating the decorative lines in the bead. I wasn't sure, at first, if I liked having those lines there; I sort of preferred a Pandora look to my beads. But I've looked at a number of other paper bead projects and eventually the lines grew on me.
Here are some .5" paper beads that I painted with black acrylic paint.
The ones on the top row were embossed. The three on the bottom row left were just coated with clear nail polish. The one on the bottom right was coated in Mod Podge shimmer. I accidentally got the wrong bottle of Mod Podge, but I can still use it for other things.
Again, I think I like the way the shape of the bead is maintained with paint or nail polish and then clear nail polish or some other varnish used, as opposed to embossing. Maybe I'm just not very good at embossing, and that's why the interesting shape of the bead gets lost when I do it. Maybe I just need more practice at embossing.
Here's a sort of "outline" or "rough draft" of what I had in mind to do with these pink and black beads:
I was going to make a very long, drapey necklace with them, with silver chain connecting them. I might add white beads too. Not sure yet.
These beads were hand decorated and finished with clear nail polish:
The top row beads were done with watercolor paints or watercolor pencils (which you then paint over with a wet paint brush and it turns to watercolor on the paper). I kinda like the soft colors of the watercolors, and may use this more often to add color to my paper before I even cut it on my paper cutter.
Here's some random .5" paper beads:
The top two were embossed, and the bottom two were finished with clear nail polish. Believe me, the inside of the bottle I keep them in smells like nail polish! With the top 2 beads, I rolled them on colored paper (red and yellow) that I had made random black marks on with a Sharpie to form the pattern. The "America!" bead (I'll give you three guesses as to which one that is, and the first two don't count) shows ordinary Crayola magic marker color, applied to the paper before rolling. I find that the Crayola magic marker seems to respond well to clear nail polish; unlike watercolors, it doesn't run and blend when it becomes wet. This is something I'll have to keep in mind when using watercolor paint or pencil on my beads. I find myself wondering what will happen if I emboss a bead done with watercolors; will the ink make the paint blend? Will the colors come off on my ink pad? We shall see; I will have to do an experiment and emboss a watercolor bead and see how it goes.
And of course, the little red bead on the bottom of that picture is just red paper, wrapped, glued and coated in clear nail polish.
Here are some wrapped beads ready to be finished:
So far, so interesting. It's like an experiment in chemistry, some of it - figuring out how different finishes and color media interact with each other, and the glue, and the paper.
And I haven't even begun to add things like raffia or lace or ribbon to my beads. That will come later. I did get some adhesive ribbon but that didn't work on an embossed bead. Maybe what I need to do is make the bead (and if I want color, use nail polish at the most) and then apply the adhesive to the paper bead, THEN finish it with emboss or whatever I want to use. I can but give it a try and see what works.
But I'm having WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY too much fun with this.