Had great FUN
Made beads with the children yesterday.
I gave them a water color palette (cheap one) with Scotch tape over any color we didn't want to use and little brushes. So that gave us an automatic limited range of colors. We chose greens, blues, purples. Spread out a cut-apart paper grocery bag to keep the paint off the table. Let them paint to their hearts' content on white paper that is somewhat thick - it's not the true watercolor paper that would be perfect, I guess, but was something like a white cardstock. Toddler painted clouds of color leaving some white on hers. 5-year-old painted in boxed shapes and straight lines, leaving small square spaces of white like windows.
All of it was great for rolling paper beads! Patterns were random and fun, but exactly the same colors.
I'd say if you were going to do this with children, be ready to embrace the idea of some white in your beads. It's boring for a small child to have to paint every bit of space. Also make it clear to really little ones that the craft is over when they finish painting and leave it to dry. Don't let them get the idea they get to cut.
I cut into long triangles about 7 inches (They didn't paint all the way to the 8 1/2 inch width of the paper, and I wanted triangle ends to have some color). 3/4 inch wide at wide end, tapering to a point. Rolled up on my crochet hook into paper beads using a little Elmer's Glue and sealed with Mod Podge. So those were the classic paper bead shape, but all exactly the same colors.
Then I used plain white paper cut in straight strips for some spacing beads that would look different. I cut one-half inch strips and colored with green Crayola washable marker. Saw a youtube video called "Beautiful Black & Silver Paper Beads - Design Your Own Beads Tutorial" in which there's a trick for coloring in advance where the inside of beads might be visible so that they look "finished" at edges or inside. (this lady wanted a black bead with no chance of white paper showing inside.) Basically you put dark color on the first 3/4 inch or so inch of the inside of the bead you'll be rolling.
I let the Mod Podge on everything dry overnight (upside-down paper plate with toothpicks poked in through holes started by a pin, into the back. Each bead had it's own toothpick holding it up to dry). Threaded onto necklace this morning, easy peasy.
I loved wearing my new beads today with the children. I'm going to make enough from their artwork so that they can give a necklace to their Mommy, too.