To celebrate the last day of summer, I thought I'd post about something you can make with flowers--namely, rose petal beads. It fascinates me that you can actually make wearable art from something as seemingly fragile as a rose petal. I had a string when I was young. They were deep red, and had the strength of wood and the light scent of roses. The art of making rose petal beads goes back to medieval times. I had always been curious about how they were made. Thanks goodness for the internet. There are many sources of how-to, but I liked the one from DIY Link the best.
Apparently there are two ways to approach it. One is gently cooking the petals in an iron pot. The other is pulverizing the raw petals in a blender. I tried both. The idea is to make a clay-like paste to form the beads with. It might sound difficult but it really isn't.
Cooking the petals in the pot causes them to react to the iron, resulting in the deep red, almost black, color when dry.
The raw petals keep more of their natural color, giving a brighter shade of red.
Take a small amount of paste, squeeze out any excess moisture, and form it into a ball the size of a marble.
Lay the beads on a paper towel to absorb any remaining liquid.
Put a straight pin through each bead before it dries to make a hole for the string. I didn't remove the pins until the beads were completely dry.
I put the beads in a dehydrator for a few hours until they have dried. If you don't have a dehydrator, let them dry overnight. Either way, they will shrink A LOT.
I kept the finished beads in a jar with dried rose geranium leaves for a few weeks. This intensifies their scent. Some people use essential oil to do the same thing. When I was ready to string my beads, I added some crystal beads from an old broken necklace to make a more interesting piece. I like the contrast between the smooth glass and the coarseness of the rose beads.
I store the necklace in a box with the dried rose geranium leaves to help it retain its fragrance. When wearing it, the heat of your skin causes the beads to give off scent, just like a perfume.