Monday, September 21, 2009

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may

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.


monix said...

I can't wait to try this. I don't have a dehydrator but perhaps the bottom oven of the Aga will do. I'll let you know how it goes.

Simmy said...

Wow what a wonderful idea. I have to try this - how many petals or what weight do you think you need?

Btw Jodi did you get my emai.

imchosen4worship said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
imchosen4worship said...

You must have many pots, pans, bowls, utensils, and such that are designated for many things besides food! How do you keep track of it all? :^)

Jodi said...

Monix: My dehydrator is a very basic one--just a heating coil, really. I'm not familiar with Aga, so I don't know if that would be too much heat. Do let me know how it works!

Simmy: I used approximately 8 cups of petals for both both the cooked and the raw. Yes, I did get your email--will answer it tonight. Sorry.

imchosen4worship: When I open up my cabinets, things usually fall out with a great crash, and I grab whatever I need. Martha Stewart I'm not. :)

Jodi said...

Simmy: I meant to say thank you too, because I love hearing from you.

ThatFowlerGirl said...

I'm sure it smells great! Make one for me! ;)

Kid_Logic said...

Looks great, the finished product is a lot different than I imagined, but I like it. Funny thing, I was gonna ask if you had a dehydrator, as I was thinking of making my own beef jerky... definitely not as elegant a process! haha

Jodi said...

I don't know--I think elegance is in the eye of the beholder. Homemade beef jerky--creative and yummy!

Anonymous said...

this is fantastic. i want one so badly now. oh man. greatness.

Anonymous said...

Mrs. Jodi!
How Pretty! I love homemade beads and the better they smell the better they are! People try now adays to make reg. beads smell good (and they succeed!) but they're much cooler when they're the historical realness and homemade! What cool ideas you come up with! How do you ever think, "Oh I think I'll make beads now!!" Its so amazing! You're so creative. Last night my Mother and I were talking about how amaingly creative people are in different ways and you and Cecily were top on the list!! Must go... Algebra is whispering to me and if I stay one more moment than I may start typing out equations.... AHHH! Help!

Terra said...

I didn't realize that the homemade beads would be fragrant when worn as a necklace.
I understand that rosaries were originally made in this manner.
Very interesting post.

Jodi said...

Terra: Yes, I'v read about rose petal rosaries, and I believe they are still made. Supposedly, the warmth of your hands while praying causes them to release fragrance. Wearing the beads as a necklace has the same effect--or so I've found.

Terra said...

Hi Jodi,
So nice to meet you and thanks for visiting my blog.
Yes, C.S. Lewis is my favorite author. I would love to visit his home "The Kilns", the pub where the Inklings met, etc.
Miss Potter is a lovely film, and I just read a cute book where Beatrix Potter is a character in a cozy mystery, titled Tale of Hill Top Farm, set in the lake country where she purchased a farm. You might like that book; it is the first in a series.


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