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How to Make Rose Beads at Home

I'm not a crafty person but even I can make this medieval craft!

This form of jewelry making is a historical craft—and it's easy to do at home!

This form of jewelry making is a historical craft—and it's easy to do at home!

Make Your Own Beads Out of Rose Petals

Whether you want your wedding bouquet, Valentine's Day flowers, or other flowers turned into jewelry, these easy-to-follow instructions will help you make the unbelievable transformation from dying flowers or yard waste to exquisite jewelry in just a few days and very little of your time! This easy medieval craft could even become a business, if you enjoy it enough.

This Craft Has a Long History (It's a Medieval Jewelry Favorite)

Rose beads are a beautiful ancient tradition that has rarely been carried down into present times. (In fact, the word "rosary" exists because rosaries were so often made of these beads!) Easy to make and lasting almost forever, making rose beads is a wonderful way to turn your sentimental flowers into a lovely permanent souvenir.

Supplies You Will Need

  • Rose petals
  • Cast-iron deep skillet or dutch oven
  • Meat grinder, food processor, blender or mortar and pestle
  • Powdered orris (iris) root
  • Bead wire
  • Pan

Note: The rose clay shrinks up dramatically as it dries, so it's best to make this in large batches.

You can take on this project the old-fashioned way by using a mortar and pestle.

You can take on this project the old-fashioned way by using a mortar and pestle.

Step 1: Tear Petals Off Roses

If you're using fresh roses, pull the petals off the flowers. Be sure to also tear out the white part at the base of each petal.

Note: You can also often get free petals from your florist, and if you get only a few at a time, you can hold them in the refrigerator or freezer until you have enough to make the beads.

Step 2: Cook the Petals

Fill your cast-iron pot or skillet with petals and enough water to cover them. Simmer the petals for one hour.

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Step 3: Grind the Petals and Refrigerate

Grind the petals in your food processor, blender, or meat grinder—or with your mortar and pestle. Refrigerate overnight.

Some dried roses.

Some dried roses.

Step 4: Repeat Until Roses Turn to Clay

Simmer one hour, let cool, grind, and refrigerate each day for several days, until the the petals lose all resistance and begin to take on a putty or clay-like texture.

Note: The cast-iron will cause the petals to blacken; this is normal and desirable.

Step 5: Add Orris Root and Some Moisture

Add dried orris root (which is ground-up iris root) to the mixture and mix in well. This helps the finished product hold its fragrance for years.

If your rose clay is too dry, add some moisture with a mister and mix in well. If your clay is too moist, you can place it on a screen until it dries to a workable consistency.

Step 6: Shape the Clay Into Beads

Shape your clay into pieces about the size of marbles (they will shrink a lot). You can either make "snakes" and cut or pinch off small pieces and shape them, or you can just form a ball in your hands. Pierce each piece with a bead wire and string them onto the wire, not touching, and lay the wire across a pan to keep the beads in the air.

Step 7: Let Dry and Rotate

Place the beads in a place that has a fair amount of air circulation. Rotate the pieces every day to keep them from sticking to the wire. If they begin to deform, continue to reshape them. When the beads are dry, remove them from the wire and use as you would any other bead.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2011 classicalgeek