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Making rose petal beads

Filed Under: Crafts, jewelry-making

Do you keep rose bushes? How have they done this summer? Mine have had a rough year, between black spot (a fungal infection), Japanese beetles (who think roses are a good snack), and a late spring freeze. But I still love my roses, and I'm happy that they're hanging on, even thriving.

If you have roses, and haven't had too many problems with them lately, you probably know that the second peak bloom of the year is coming in the next few weeks (well, at least if you live in a climate similar to mine, in Ohio, and don't keep antique roses that only bloom in the late Spring).

On a healthy plant, that usually means masses of blossoms. If you have a lot of roses, or neighbors who do and who just throw fallen petals away with the garden trash, you might be interested in C. Jeanne Heida's recipe for rose petal beads. It will help you turn those piles and piles of discarded petals into a pretty necklace with an intense fragrance. It's not a fast project, but it's easy, fun, and it smells great!

Join me after the break to find out more about rose petal beads: dozens of recipes exist, with varying scents, and colors ranging from light brown to red to black. I've linked a few.

I've seen many other recipes for rose petal beads; all require turning a lot of petals into a paste, which is eventually shaped into beads and dried. Some processes involve the addition of rose oil or red food coloring; others suggest that you varnish the beads (which makes the beads shiny, hard, and airtight, but also seals in the fragrance -- the beads aren't always much to look at, so the fragrance is kind of the point). Heida's recipe is a good place to start, but here are a few more:

  • Making Rose Petal Beads (with pictures)
  • Scentsational Rose Beads: 1983 article at Mother Earth News, with lots of suggestions for especially fragrant rose varieties... some of which may be very difficult to find now, almost 25 years later.
  • Turn Petals into Beads: Not exactly a recipe. This is an article about a woman who makes rose petal beads. You may be able to glean a few ideas here, though: there's a discussion of why you use a cast iron pot, or put iron in your pot, to get black beads.
  • Rose Beads: Your Link to History: A history of rose beads, and a recipe with suggestions for variations. (This page is 9 years old, so don't be surprised if some of the links on it are dead.)
  • Recipe for Rose Beads: Try using a thimble as a "cookie cutter" after rolling out the rose paste.



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