Susanna Reppert from The Rosemary House is doing a series on her blog about botanical beads and asked me if I had an entry about Rose Beads. At the time, I did not, but quickly came up with one. Here goes...
Making beads from plant materials is fun and very rewarding. There are several methods, and the following is one of the time-honored traditions amongst herbies. I think most people try this one at least once and the beads that result are really special.
Adapted from Incense, Oils, and Brews by Scott Cunningham
3 parts fresh Rose petals from the most fragrant variety available
1 part fresh Rose Geranium Leaves
Remove the white stem ends from the rose petals. Cover the petals and leaves with plain water in a nonmetallic pan (editor’s note: some sources suggest using cast iron. We did, and the beads were lovely). Simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. Ensure that the mixture doesn’t actually boil. Turn off the heat and let soak until the next day. Repeat the simmering again for a half hour. Repeat this for three days in all, adding rose water when necessary (particularly using rose water instead of plain water on the last day). On the last day squeeze out all liquid until you have a fragrant mess. The mixture should be dry enough to hold its shape. Form into small, round beads with your hands, each about 1/4 inch long. Push a large needle or stiff wire through each bead while it’s still wet to form holes for stringing. Let dry for a week or so, moving them around to ensure even drying.
The beads will be black when finished, and when worn on the body they release a delicious rose scent. The fragrance can be refreshed by rubbing a tiny amount of rose oil into the beads. Rose beads have been made and handed down through generations.
If you're more inclined to want a simpler version, try our pre-mixed botanical bead mixes, or learn to do them with our book on herb beads. Either way, it's a wonderful project for a day immersed in herbs!