Polymer Clay Rosary Beads | Real Flower Petals | Bake and Bond

Rosary Bead “It’s a great new idea for me. I’ve heard about adding different things to clay but never flowers. Thank you from Russia.” ~Svetlana-R

Just because you’ve always done a technique a certain way, doesn’t mean you can’t be looking for alternate approaches.  The reason I say this is because I’ve been playing around with some new ideas for making rosary and flower petal beads. And I would like to share them with you today.

The way I normally make them, is to mix the dried flower petals into translucent clay. It’s called an inclusion and the technique does work quite well.

I’ve been concentrating on my flower petal beads and experimenting with Premo, Fimo and Kato translucent clays. Each one is unique and they each seem to react differently with different flowers. ~Marsha-N

I have used all sorts of inclusions in the clay but never thought of using the scrunched up petals. Very nice effect! I am going to try it next time I am working with plain translucent. Thanks! ~Pat-F

Here are some links to where I have posted about how to use translucent polymer clay for doing flower petal inclusions:

Now the rose petal bead in the photo at the top of this page, was made using a completely different technique. Notice that it has a fairly coarse surface texture. This is because the flower petals are on the outside of the bead rather than mixed in like you would do with a translucent inclusion.

You may already know, that it can be challenging to stick flower petals to the outside of a bead. Even if you can get them to adhere, they fall off or wear down easily with any sort of use.

What I’ve been doing is gluing on the flower petals using liquid polymer clay. Studio by Sculpey Bake and Bond to be exact.

This makes for a strong bond between the flower petal pieces and the polymer clay. The clay soaks into the petals and actually turns them into a clay-like material that is quite durable.

I like this new way to make the beads. It’s easier and much faster than my original approach. But I’m still playing with the idea to get more depth and a little less texture… so that the beads feel smoother in the hands.

I’ll keep everyone posted as I learn more, so that you also can use this technique in your Rosary Projects or Keepsake Jewelry collections.

Cindy, I’m so excited! I sold my first “Zuzu’s Petals” keepsake jewelry (necklace and earrings made with red rose petals) this week!! And I have you to thank for making it all possible!!! I can’t wait to see what’s to come with this line of my jewelry!! Thank you for all your hard work here and for sharing your knowledge and experience with all of us! ~Marsha-N

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  1. Elizabeth S., 18 January, 2010

    I wonder if the texture of these beads should remain as part of their unique design. I have some meditation beads that are very textured and I love the feeling of them in my hands. Just a thought.

  2. Marsha, 18 January, 2010

    I like this idea! I’m going to have to buy some of the liquid polymer clay…you wouldn’t have to use quite as many flower petals with this technique, right? That can make a difference depending on what the customer has saved. I’ll definately try this out! What if you put a really, really thin layer of translucent clay over this bead? It would be terrible if the petals flaked off…

  3. Katie, 18 January, 2010

    Ooh, I like. I’m also curious about a layer of translucent. Hmm, could you sheet petals between two layer of translucent and use that to wrap beads? Might have to try it sometime.

  4. aims, 18 January, 2010

    There does seem to be something missing in the bead but I can’t put my finger on it. Maybe ‘depth’ is the word but I’m not sure. Looking forward to seeing what you come up with on this. As you say – playing is the thing.

  5. michelle, 18 January, 2010

    If you keep the texture and they go through the tumbler they might break off because they might be catching on the rock edges. I only tried it with triple thick after tumbling the bead before adding the flowers. I didnt like the results of the triple thick the flowers still stuck out. I think I will try resin this next week.

  6. Bette L, 21 January, 2010

    Hi All,
    I have done some experimenting with flower petal beads. Here is the method I use. Make a base bead with a light color. Make an ultra-thin sheet of translucent clay, spread a thin layer of liquid clay on it then place petals on sheet, then cover with another ultra-thin sheet of translucent. Use this sheet to cover the base bead. I do two layers. To add a little interest, use a translucent sheet with crackled foil as the first layer over the base bead, then the two layers of petals. I have also made a triple ‘petal’ sandwich with more liquid clay and petals, then another translucent sheet to hold it all together. I hope this makes sense.

    Flower Petal Beads by Bette Lorman

    The pics (pink violet petals) are made using the regular inclusion technique and the method I described above. The blue are from blue violets. I liked white for the base bead best. One of the pink beads had a black base and another had a red base.

    I have not used the “bake and bond” but I wonder if it is any clearer or ‘whiter’ than regular Premo! translucent. I am a little unhappy about the yellowish color the Premo! turns after baking.

    Does anyone else have a favorite translucent that doesn’t turn darker when baked?

    As always Cindy, you are doing things I am interested in. Keep up the great work.

  7. carolyn, 22 January, 2010

    @Bette L: What system do you use to polish your beads? These are absolutely gorgeous!

  8. Linda Howard, 18 March, 2015

    I use fimo art translucent, and I bury it in a baking soda/cornstarch blend, and cover the pan tightly with foil. Watch the temp carefully, because translucents can sometimes require lower temps. Use an oven thermometer. Plunge them in ice water (lots of ice cubes) as soon as they come out of the oven. I pick mine up with a slotted spoon to keep from burning my fingers. Let them stay in the ice water until they are as cold as that ice water.

  9. Carolyn F, 21 January, 2010

    It is good for the morale to see your experiments and to read that you are still trying to develop a system. Sometimes it seems like you know everything there is to know and then you hit us with this flower petal experiment. This gives us, at least me, the courage to try different things. If our tutor doesn’t have all the answers, maybe there is hope for the rest of us! Thanks, Cindy, for being so human as well as extremely knowledgeable.

  10. Mollie Hubenak, 22 January, 2010

    This has really peaked my curiosity. I’m definitely going to experiment with this technique. I was thinking that the bead may be smoother with a couple of coats of a glaze. I use the Studio by Sculpey Glossy Glaze. I think this would be a great idea to use with some of the flower petals that still have a vibrant color after they are dried. It would “show off” the color more instead of it being “buried” into the clay. I can’t wait to try this out.

  11. Cindy Lietz, 22 January, 2010

    It is awesome to see such a great discussion happening here. Thank you everyone for your comments! It has got me thinking about somehow adding a layer of that UV cured resin I got the other day. Can’t wait to get myself a lamp!

    @Bette: Your beads are excellent! Love your idea. Regarding ‘Bake and Bond’, it is not yellow at all and is actually fairly clear when not too thick. Fimo Gel and Kato Clear are supposed to be a lot clearer but I haven’t yet tried them yet, to confirm this. Premo Frost and Fimo Classic translucent are much ‘whiter’ than Premo regular translucent, so you may also want to try those. Keep us updated with your experiments. I love to see what everyone is trying out there!

    @carolyn: Thanks for saying that. You should know that the day I know everything about polymer clay and what can be done with it, is the day I quit playing with it. Like I said before, I have a list of ideas and videos topics that will keep me busy for the next ten years with new stuff getting added everyday. I see myself learning new things, right along side, all of you guys. It is much more fun that way than being a ‘know it all’! :-)

  12. Michelle Stancil, 21 May, 2012

    LOVE LOVE LOVE my UV lamp & resin! Remember Donna Kato doing a Carol Duvall segment about a layered look for beads by using a heat tool and her liquid clay to build up layers on the bead with a different effect for each layer. Between each ‘treatment’ she would hit it with the heat gun to set the clay to receive the next treatment or addition. With the right UV lamp, this may work for adding layer after layer of resined bead. Stick it under the light after each coat/addition, with the bead mounted on a toothpick or skewer, rotating the bead under the light to ‘set’ the UV resin. Naturally you’d want to protect the inside of your UV drying system with paper or something to line the bottom with in case of drips.
    (Hmmm….wanders off toward craft area…)

    MRS aka Michelle Stancil

  13. Bette L, 22 January, 2010

    Thank you all for the kind comments. I did not sand the flower petal beads. I wear gloves to keep fingerprints off when I do the final roll. To varnish (verithane or studio by sculpey) I string the beads on a thin wire suspended from my “helping hand”, keep the beads from touching by putting zig zags in the wire then use a soft brush to coat, let dry and coat again. catch any drips with the edge of a torn paper towel. I wear gloves when I do this because it is a little messy and my fingers stick together if I don’t.

  14. Katie, 23 January, 2010

    @Bette: Genius! Never thought of putting zigzags in the wire to keep the beads apart. So smart.

  15. lynn watts, 29 January, 2010

    I tried using the flower petals fresh and a red rose gave a purple tint to the clay. None the less it was pretty. I made 7 necklaces and bracelets when my Son-n-law’s Mom died. They were for his family members and for my Granddaughter. I used the dried flower petals for all those items I made. I was unsure that everyone would like the ones with the fresh color tint over the dried one,since they gave me some of the flowers they got off the spray. Love all the ideas here.

  16. Cheryl Hodges, 13 February, 2010

    I’d like to get some irridescent sparklet into the flower petal inclusion beads. What could I use?

  17. carolyn, 13 February, 2010

    @Cheryl Hodges: Donna Kato has some on her prairiecraft.com. I think this will take you there: prairiecraft.com/polyclay/IP.html
    You can also just buy iridescent cellophane and cut it into tiny bits.

  18. Cheryl Hodges, 14 February, 2010

    Thank you Carolyn. I was wondering would the glitter snow and the irridescent filaments work as well?

  19. carolyn, 14 February, 2010

    @Cheryl Hodges: I’m sure if you have the iridescent snow that would work just fine. I’m not sure what the filaments are.

  20. Phaedrakat, 17 March, 2010

    I have a feeling that Cindy’s upcoming Faux Opal tutorial, which uses Bake and Bond, will answer any remaining questions about what you can use with it (and how to use it!) Goo-oo Cindy!

  21. Treaki, 17 August, 2010

    I’ve so loved all the comments made on flower petal jewelry. I make keepsake bracelets for all occasions and use the dried flower petal technique, crushing the petals and rolling the clay beads in the petals, pushing the petals down into the clay and reforming the bead. I also use Liquitex glazing medium, Sculpey gloss and Future finish and have had great success with my bracelets. The one thing I can’t seem to change is that when baking the beads, the dried petals turn brown or light tan.
    Would love to keep the original flower petal color in the finished bead.
    Could I be using too many steps like drying the petals before baking them in the bead?

  22. Phaedrakat, 17 August, 2010

    @Treaki: Hi Treaki, I don’t know if anyone has found a solution to that problem. It seems to be the main issue when creating keepsake jewelry. Has anyone found a remedy for this? If they have, I truly hope they report it here…

    May I ask, how are you using the Liquitex glazing medium — as a final finish? I haven’t tried that product yet, and wondered if it dried completely (and stayed dry over time…) Thanks, Kat

  23. Marsha, 17 August, 2010

    @Treaki: It’s so wonderful to read the many comments about this wonderful technique! All of my polymer clay work is with dried flower inclusions so I’m always looking for ways to improve! My experience with drying flowers is that some flowers do better than others is retaining their color. Many dry much darker than the fresh flower and some lose some or almost all of their color when dried and then baked in the clay. I’ve also learned to only use the richest best parts of the flower petals and if I include some dried petals that have been ground to almost powder consistency (in addition to larger bits) it colors the clay more. I tell my customers that it’s always a surprise to see how the beads turn out and that is part of the charm.

    To try to answer your question above about wanting the dried flowers to retain their fresh color…I don’t think it’s possible since the lack of moisture is naturally going to change the color, most usually making it darker. But again, to me this is part of the charm of this technique. :)

  24. carolyn, 17 August, 2010

    If you are patient Cindy mentioned making a study (more than just a video clip) on Delphinium beads. Hers are the perfect blue of this beautiful flower. You can see them here: Flower Petal Earrings

  25. Phaedrakat, 17 August, 2010

    Oh, man! I did it again — not refreshing the page to check for replies (I had to rest my back for a minute while in the middle of typing!) Cindy herself may have conquered this problem, as seen in the gorgeous beads in the link above…

  26. Mollie Hubenak, 18 August, 2010

    There are two things I do to help retain the color of the petals. One is to allow the petals to dry naturally. I lay them out on paper towels as long as it takes for them to dry. Sometimes up to two weeks depending on how much moisture is in them. I used to dry them in the microwave, but this tends to make them darker.

    The second thing is to cover the beads with parchment paper while they are baking. This seems to help somewhat. Hope this helps.

  27. Tanya L, 18 August, 2010

    @Mollie Hubenak: Mollie, this tip came just in time! I’ve been collecting flowers every couple of days and drying them in my attic (VERY hot up there!) so I’ll be all set sometime soon. Thank you!

  28. Treaki, 18 August, 2010

    Thanks, Mollie. I’ve been drying mine in the microwave and yellow and lime green flowers do well, but red roses always turn darker. I still haven’t mastered the white flowers. They always turn an offwhite and when I add them to clay, they turn a tan color. I’ve been combining clay colors to retain the original color of the flower.

  29. Treaki, 18 August, 2010

    Actually, the clay colors are for retaining the memory of the original flower colors.

  30. Treaki, 18 August, 2010

    Thanks everyone for your helpful comments. Kat, I forgot to say that I also spray the beads with sealer. It dries super quick. Then I coat the beads with a small brush using the Liquitex medium. It dries pretty quick, also.
    Then I coat the beads with Sculpey gloss a couple of times. When completely dry, one coat of Future. Maybe all these steps are not needed, but just trying to keep the shiny look on the beads. The customers seem to be very satisfied. So, the extra pains taken, I think are worth it.

  31. Mollie Hubenak, 18 August, 2010

    @Treaki – What kind of sealer do you spray on the beads? After I have rolled my beads, I brush on a very light coat of pearly white irredescent powder. It adds a little shimmer to it, and with the white beads, makes them look alot better since you don’t get much color out of white.

    I bake my beads for about 30 minutes, then brush on the Sculpey Gloss and bake another 20 minutes. Then I dip them in an ice bath for a couple of minutes while still hot, and this hardens them even more.

    Everyone seems to have their own little methods and techniques, and it is really nice to be able to share this information.

  32. Treaki, 19 August, 2010

    Mollie, I use Patricia Nimocks Clear Acrylic Sealer. I wear my bracelt alot and it does well holding the shine. Have tried various products, but these
    steps seem to work the best for me, but I’m excited about trying out the irredescent powder and dipping the beads in ice bath. Thanks for sharing.

  33. Treaki, 19 August, 2010

    Cindy, I can’t thank you enough for all the enjoyment I’m received from your classes and the Friday newsletter with each new project idea. It’s opened up a whole new avenue for me. I’ve dabbled in various hobby crafts, but have fallen in love with the polymer clay jewelry making.
    Thank you so much. What a talent you have!

  34. Cindy Lietz, 21 August, 2010

    @Treaki: Thank you so much Treaki! That is very kind of you. Thank you for sharing your tips and tricks here with us. It is always nice to see how others are going about things. I’m so glad you are enjoying this polymer clay journey!

  35. Michelle C, 05 January, 2011

    spring is right around the corner, almost time to make those valentine gifts. Has anyone done more experimenting with the flower beads or have you tried the opal method?

  36. Phaedrakat, 10 January, 2011

    @michelle: Hi Michelle, I thought I saw something on another thread recently about dried flowers staying “true to color” or the like, but I can’t remember which page. Maybe on a resin thread? Wish I could remember where… You could try using the search box in the upper left, or wait and see if this “reply bump” (adding to the recent comment list) helps someone notice your question & respond. You’re right about Valentine’s day being close…thanks for the reminder! Time flies…
    Well, have fun — and good luck with your projects!

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