1) Making keepsake memorial beads using flower petals from a loved one’s funeral.
2) Instructions on how to collect and dry the flowers and rose petals before mixing them into the Premo or Fimo polyclay for making keepsake jewelry beads.
Today’s questions were sent in by Sally White and Carolyn Bolek. Please note that some of the personal details were edited due to the sensitive nature of this topic.
Q-1: At a family members funeral we were given memorial bracelets made by the dried petals from the funeral spray. The beads were a brilliant red and all of the suggestions that I see on the net say the beads are brown or black. ~Sally White
A-1: Although I don’t know exactly what you have seen on the Internet in regards to making memorial beads, I think the ones you described as brown or black might have been rosary beads. They are often made with the paste of fresh rose petals.
The rose beads I make, and probably the ones you received, are made with flower petals encased in translucent polymer clay.
To make these memorial beads, start with dried flower petals that are broken or chopped into small pieces. Then, knead them thoroughly into a block of translucent polymer clay such as Fimo or Premo. Fimo’s translucent is a whiter clay and Premo’s is a slightly more yellowed clay. The choice of brands depends on your taste.
Click on the following link for a photo that shows flower petal beads made from both Premo and Fimo translucent poly clay: Making Jewelry with Polymer Clay Rose Beads
Once the flower petals have been worked into the clay, you can create your bead shapes or pendants as you would for any other jewelry making project.
As far as getting a deep rich red color, that can be done a couple of ways. First mix in the petals to see how the petals affect the clay. Some petals are strongly dyed and this may color the clay on it’s own.
If petals themselves don’t provide enough color, try adding either a few drops of alcohol ink or a pinch of a red colored clay such as Alizarin Crimson. Be careful not too add to much solid color clay or the petals will become hidden.
After baking… sand, buff and polish the beads. Then string them into memorial gifts of bracelets, necklaces, tie tacks or even rosaries.
Q-2: I really want to learn how to make memory jewelry out of dried flowers. I don’t know how many to keep or if there is a special technique to drying them. ~Carolyn Bolek
A-2: As far as which flowers to save and how many, I would save a whole bowl full of petals. You actually won’t need that many but it’s always better to have more rather than less.
Choose flowers with thin papery petals like Roses, Hydrangeas, Freesia, Larkspur, Ferns, etc. Thick fleshy petals like Lilies or Begonias won’t dry very well.
Take the flowers apart petal by petal and lay them in a single layer on several sheets of paper towel. Cover with several more sheets of paper towel and microwave for 1 minute.
Check to see that the flowers are drying and not scorching. If they are doing well but are still damp, do it for one more minute.
Check and repeat until the petals feel dry. You may need to change some of the paper towels if they get too damp.
Make sure to dry several varieties and different colors of flowers because some flowers loose their color when baked into the beads.
To Sally and Carolyn plus anyone else that’s reading: If you have further questions about how to make polymer clay rose petal beads for memorial jewelry gifts, please use the comments section below.