I stumbled across this website one day as I was trawling the internet and bookmarked it as something I wanted to try sometime.http://www.hgtv.com/gl-design-decorative/rose-petal-beads/index.html
I'm not sure if that link will work or not now. It worked every time I needed to reference it when working on the beads, but today it won't go to the right page. Meh, I don't know what's going on.
Anyway, I signed up for the Make Love Not War swap and decided to make the beads as an environmentally friendly way of creating jewellery.
A Problem: Where I live we are in severe drought and there was no way my garden of dry roses was going to deliver the amount of rose petals needed to create these sweet smelling trinkets.
The Solution: Visit the local botanical gardens and covertly pilfer petals from the sweetest smelling roses there.
Here is my bounty:
I then had to chop them up into tiny pieces. There was such a beautiful scent coming from the petals as I was doing this!
The chopped petals then had to be simmered for an hour. I bought a special pot for this and I'm glad I did. Don't, under any circumstances, use a good cooking pot. The petals aren't poisonous or anything, but your pot may never be the same again.
I can't remember how much water I put in with them (and that darned website won't work!), but I would suggest covering them with water and then adding an extra 2 cups. Err on the side of having too much water rather than too little. The petals needed to be simmered for an hour a day for about 5-6 days. Until the mix seems a bit like clay. Here's some pics showing how the mix changes from day to day.
When the mix is ready, you need to squeeze out as much of the excess liquid as possible. Don't let it go down the sink though! You need it later. Pop it into a container and keep it in the fridge. It smells divine!
Shape your beads. The mix is quite unstable, so you need to be careful and work delicately (not something I am used to!). Or perhaps I should have let it simmer a little more. They shrink significantly as they dry, so make them at least twice as big as you want them to be when finished.
Use a needle or skewer to create a hole for your beading wire/thread. This pic shows me using a needle, but I changed to using a metal skewer when I realised that the hole as well would get much smaller as the bead dried. I would recommend a skewer over a needle.
Leave the beads to dry. Check them everyday and roll around a bit to make sure they don't get a flat side from being in the one position all the time. I put mine outside during the day with some tulle over the top of the container (so the birds couldn't get at them) so they dried out a bit quicker. Here's how they shrank:
When they are completely dry, get out the reserved rose liquid and rub it all over each of the beads. Do this over a couple of days, as apparently the liquid helps to cure the beads. It also helps them to smell wonderful.
Then, you are done! The website believed that perhaps this was the way beads were made for catholic rosaries way back when (hence their name). It also mentioned a lady who had a rose bead necklace from her grandmother that was about 50 years old (the necklace that is, was 50 years old) and it still smelled deliciously of roses.
This is the bracelet I made with the beads for my swap partner:
I had a ball doing this - it was so interesting and the scent was magnificent! I'd love to hear if anyone gives it a go for themselves!