I have seen rose petal beads only once. The beads were on display in a museum, and the idea that such a lovely necklace could be made solely from rose petals has always intrigued me. I took the free copy of the instructions they had available… like most of the old crafts, the process of turning rose petals into beads takes time. It also requires access to a lot of strongly scented rose petals, which has always been a stopping point for me… I have the strongly scented wild roses, but only a few. Just in case someone has more, here are the instructions for making rose petal beads.
- Start making the rose petal paste by gathering the petals in the morning on a dry day.
- Crush the petals in the traditional way using a mortar and pestle, or puree them with a blender.
- Add just enough water to cover the petals and simmer them in a cast iron skillet for about an hour. Let them cool completely, then simmer them for another hour. During this simmering time, the rose petals react with the iron and turn black, giving the beads their characteristic dark color and matte finish. This will not happen in another type of pan.
- Every day after that for about fourteen more days, grind the petal mixture again. You will know it is ready when the petals have become a thick paste that is the consistency of clay.
- The next step is to form the beads. The beads will shrink as they dry so make each bead about twice as large as you want the finished bead to be.
- Make a hole with a large wire through the center of each bead. String the beads on another wire and hang them to dry. It is important to turn each bead on the wire at least once a day so the stringing hole stays open and the bead does not stick to the wire.
- Let the beads dry for another two weeks before polishing and stringing them.
The beads were in a glass cabinet so it was impossible to know if they still retained their rose scent, but the sign said that they did, and that when rose beads are worn, body warmth makes them release their scent.