Vicki Dehne never expected to be an inventor or a TV personality, but soon she’ll be both. The Havre de Grace shop owner recently received a patent for a tool used in creating paper bead jewelry, and will be featured on “Celebrity Inc.” on Pop TV this fall. The show pairs inventors with potential celebrity sponsors for their products.
Dehne became interested in paper bead jewelry in 2007 after seeing a report about Ugandan women making the beads from strips of recycled paper. She started making the jewelry herself. The only problem was the lack of reliable tools: The beads are usually created by rolling paper around a toothpick.
“It can be frustrating to get the bead off of the toothpick without damaging it,” she says.
Then Dehne recalled a tool she’d sometimes found in her father’s pockets when she was a girl: “It was this long, thin, metal piece that was hollow. I didn’t know what it was, but I thought I could use it, so I called him up and asked what it was.”
The piece was a spring pin, a fastener that holds two moving parts together. Dehne used it to thread and wind the paper strips. Then she added a handle that makes it comfortable to hold and an ejector that slides the bead off the device without allowing it to unspool.
“It’s so much easier on the hands, and it makes a nice uniform bead,” Dehne says of the patented tool, called the Paper Bead Roller Pro.
Now Dehne sells her products at The Paper Bead Girl shop and website. The roller and her jewelry are also carried by craft suppliers such as Fire Mountain Gems.
Dehne’s thrilled by her success, and enjoys giving back to those who inspired her.
“I’ve been pleased to be able to donate the paper roller tool to charities in Haiti and Uganda, to make it easier for them to make their own beads,” she says. --Linda Burkins, For Harford Magazine