How to Make Dried Flower Beads
The old practice of turning flower and rose petals into beads to make necklaces, earrings and even rosaries, has been around for thousands of years. While there are still methods that involve boiling petals for days and weeks, as the early Romans did, there is a simpler method which uses a blender. Once you have created your own handmade beads, you can enjoy making one of a kind jewelry for yourself, as gifts, or for craft shows.
Things You'll Need
- Fresh flower petals
- Blender (either electric or hand)
- Cheesecloth or other open weave cloth
- Pins or needles
Collect a couple handfuls of flower petals. You may want to experiment with using the same type of heavily fragrant flowers first, before working with mixtures of different flowers. As you make sets of beads, take note of which petals yield the best result as far as shaping, drying, color and scent. While any flower petals can be used, the strongest smelling red rose seems to work the best.
Place the petals into the blender. Add enough water to cover the petals. Blend the petals on high using 10 second pulses at a time. Blend until the petal mush resembles a thick soup or sauce texture. If you end up with a more watery solution, the excess liquid can be strained from the petals.
Spread the cheesecloth out over a bowl or the sink. Remove the petal concoction from the blender with a spoon and place it in a pile on your cheesecloth. Pull the ends of the cloth together to close it around the petals. Squeeze the excess water into the bowl, but do not dry out the mush so much that it does not clump.
Pull a blob of the mixture and start to work it with your fingers into a ball. You'll want to compress the ball as you work it. Continue rolling the ball, making it as large as a marble, or up to 1 inch in diameter.
Insert a pin completely through the center of the bead, and then push the tip of the pin into the corkboard, but do not allow the bead to touch the board. Continue to make beads and hang them on the board until you have used up all of the petal slush.
Let the beads sit for three to four days so they can dry fully. Rotate the beads on the pin slightly while they are drying to keep them from attaching to the pin.
- If you don't have pins and a corkboard, you can use a thin wire. String the beads side by side on the wire without letting them touch. Secure each end of the wire somewhere that won't be disturbed for the beads to dry.
- Don't use a needle or wire that is any thinner than your jewelry thread. When the beads dry and shrink, you will want the hole to remain the correct size.
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