Monday, October 19, 2009

Rose Petal Beads

Rose petal beads can be made from any rose petals, but the red shades will have a better colour when they are finished, sort of a deep mahogany. Cooking them in a cast iron pot will also deepen the colour. You don't need a very large amount of petals to make beads. They don't seem to lose much material in the cooking.

Start with collected rose petals. Some say to cut off the white bottom, but I do not have the time or ambition to do that and they come out just fine. Crush the petals or grind them up with a mortor and pestle and put them in a pot with a little water to cover. Heat very gently, without boiling, until the petals are a mush. This takes several hours. Keep the heat very low so that they never boil, just stay very hot. Add a little water if needed, to keep them moist. Do not let the water evaporate.

After 5-6 hours the petals should be ready. Press them into a fine sieve, getting out as much water as you can. If needed you can then wrap them in a towel and squeeze out even more water. Form the remaining paste into balls. They will shrink by 50%, so make them twice as big as you want the beads to be. Squeeze them into tight balls. Put a piece of wire or a coat hanger through the middle to make the hole for the string. Form the bead around the wire. You can shape them on the wire making them oblong or square, or you can make them round. You can make several different shapes and sizes. Make tiny little ones to put on earrings.

Before you are shaping them and they are fairly cool, you can add a drop or two of rose fragrance oil if you want them to have a stronger rose scent. Only a drop is needed as it goes a long way.

As they dry you will need to move them a little on the wire or they will be stuck to it and you will not be able to get the wire out of the bead when it is dry.

After you have the beads strung on the wire, hang them in a warm place to dry. They should be dry to the touch overnight and will continue to dry and shink for another week or two. After about two weeks, they are ready to make into jewelry. You can put a gloss varnish on them or leave them natural. I think they look best strung with other beads that will bring out the mahagany hues.

I don't have any completed beads to show you, unfortunately. I no longer have the ones I made years ago and, well, I burned the ones I was making yesterday in the pictures above. Its very easy to burn them. They smelled like roses, for awhile anyway until they began to smell burned. Its mid October and I don't think I am going to get any more rose petals this year. If I do , I will heat them on the wood stove instead of a burner.

I often do not know exactly how I am going to design a piece of jewelry until I have everything in front of me, including all of the beads I have to use in those colours. Sometimes I will re-do a strand many times before I am happy with it but that is the nature of designing. I like to look at other jewelry designs on the internet to get ideas for new and unusual things to do with the beads. Most jewelry designers are just stinging the beads together and focusing more on their usual beads. It is rare to find a different way of putting the beads together.

Jewelry making is fun! Once you get started it is hard to stop. Handmade jewelry made with your own rose petal beads will make a great Christmas present too!


The Japanese Redneck said...

Occasionally I make Jewelry too! It's a lot of work, but I love wearing a finished project.


Providence Acres Farm said...

It is a lot of work but its something you can be very proud of! I'd love to see some that you have made!

Joyful said...

I haven't made jewllery for many years. Your delightful post is inspiring me to get back at it. Hopefully soon :-)