1) How to make a rosary with beads that are colorful instead of just brown or black.
2) Preparing fresh roses for making traditional rosaries is much different than the flower drying techniques used to make polymer clay rose petal beads.
Today’s questions were sent in by Phyliss Martine and Lisa Graham:
Q-1: I bought rosaries made from dried flowers i would like to make my own. When I tried all the beads came out dark brown, How do i get different colors for my rosaries. Thank you. ~Phyliss Martine
A-1: Phyliss, it sounds to me like you are using the traditional method for making rosary or prayer beads. They are made from the pulp that remains after the flower petals are simmered in hot water. The colorful rosaries that you purchased were probably made by mixing dried flower petals into polymer clay. These two methods of making beads are very different from each.
The traditional type of rosary bead is made by chopping fresh rose petals very fine, covering them with water and simmering in a cast iron pot for hours, even days. Because of the nature of the process, these beads are dark brown or black with a slight fragrance to them. Here is a recipe:
- Use fresh rose petals collected in the morning.
- Chop fine.
- Cover with water in a pan and simmer several hours until the petals turn to pulp. Add water as needed to keep your simmer from drying out. This process can actually take a few days if you are doing a large batch.
- When the pulp becomes sticky enough to press together in your fingers, stop cooking and roll your beads.
- Pierce beads with large pin or small nail.
- Now string the rosary beads a on heavy thread to dry.
- Drying should take place in a warm location for about a week, turning occasionally.
- Store these rose petal beads in a box or jar when you are not wearing them to preserve the fragrance.
Now… the more ‘modern’ version of the rose petal rosary bead is made using dried rose petals which are broken into small pieces and mixed into translucent polymer clay or Fimo. Tiny amounts of colored clay can also be mixed in with the translucent to give the beads varying shades of color.
The polymer clay flower petal beads are the type of beads that I teach about and have discussed in several posts. Here’s some reference links:
- How to Make Rose Petal Beads with Polymer Clay
- Memorial Jewelry from Polymer Clay and Flower Petals
- Flower Petal Inclusions for Keepsake Jewelry
- Making Polymer Clay Beads With Dried Flowers
- Handmade Jewelry from Polymer Clay Rose Beads
Q-2: I have collected bags and bags of beautiful rose petals. I’m afraid if I don’t make the clay ASAP I will lose them. Please help if you can. Your consideration and thoughtfulness is greatly appreciated. ~Lisa Graham
A-2: Fresh flower petals will rot. Especially if damp and kept in a big plastic bag with no airflow. So keep them on sheets of paper towel or newspaper in a single layer until you are ready to work with them.
Lisa, what you do with those flower petals depends on which type of rose petal bead you want to make. If you are going for the traditional brown or black rosary beads, then keep the petals fresh and use the recipe outlined above. However, if it is the more modern version, review the article references I provided, also above.
Thank you to Phyliss and Lisa for your input. If you have any further questions about rosary beads or rose petal bead making techniques, feel free to ask away in the comments section below.