I recently had a friend who is getting married in September ask me about making jewelry out of her wedding flowers. I immediatly started thinking about how to press them and then making them into a glass pendant. Maybe a bracelet charm, or keychain….until she said she wanted the flowers in beads.
Ok, so I was baffled for a little while as she described to me someone she had heard locally that could do this. As she was talking, I’m thinking “a lot of work”, “how in the world are they strong enough to hold up to wear?”, and “where can I learn more because this sounds interesting?” So, the first thing I learned about was how nuns, and eventually other people, made rosery beads out of rose petals that, get this, still gave off the aroma of the roses. Pretty nifty. However, thru the process, most of those “beads” turned out black, which was really pretty, but not what I was thinking of when she said wedding flowers….so I kept digging. And I found one of the neatest little ideas to make beads. One that it seems is pretty widely done in the beading world, but I had yet to learn about or have a chance to do. You use clay and dried petals, or anything else you would want to use.
And being the curious type, I got what I needed to try and make my own flower petal beads. If you’re friends with me on Facebook, you know that I was super excited about my tulips this year around our house (I have them as my profile picture, too!!), because they were BEAUTIFUL!! Anyhoo….Since they were about done blooming, I went out and collected some of the petals. Here’s a pic of the red ones. I also had a pale yellow, with pale purple on the outside, that came up eventually, too….
To speed up the drying process, I microwaved the petals. Not my first choice as I think they would be better dried naturally, but since I was curious and sort of impatient….:) Only thing I had to make sure I didn’t do was burn them in the microwave! And I got this after I crunched them up.
Then I worked some clay up and added the dried petals to it, and then keep kneading the clay in my hands until it was pretty pliable and could be molded into beads. I also had some hollow pendants that I added some of the clay to. The first beads and pendants I made, the clay had a glitter in it (and the brownish colored ones have a little bit of another clay color added to make them that brownish color), the other beads are made with a translucent clay that allows the petals to be seen more prominently and deeper into the bead.
They are very cool! And very sturdy. They end up being just as hard as any other bead.
And since I was having fun with clay, and making beads, I decided to start some other experiments….I made the following beads in the same manner, but then I put the clay beads into a small bag filled with Pearl Ex powder, just for kicks! And they turned out like this…
This picture isn’t the greatest, I know, but you get the idea that they came out “pearly” looking. I have these that had a white pearly look, and some that have a hint of green.
In Part 2 of this post, I’ll show you what I made with these beads. These beads are what are called Memory Beads. Most often these beads are made to remember special occassions such as weddings, graduations, baby showers or births, etc., or the passing of a loved one. Flowers dried from the funeral arraingements can be a beautiful gift to give to family members or friends to remember their loved one.
Stay tuned for what I made with some of these beads….