Make beads out of either dried or fresh flowers using just a few affordable supplies. Flower petals, specifically rose petals, have been incorporated into beads -- especially rosary beads -- since the early 20th century. You can also make beads with flowers from your special or significant events such as weddings, graduations or funerals, preserving them in remembrance.
Dried Petals Technique
Things You'll Need
Crush a handful of dried flowers into small flakes. Alternatively, if you are making a large batch of beads and need to crush a larger amount of petals, crush them in a food processor.
Work the polymer clay in your hands until it softens and is easy to manipulate.
Sprinkle the crushed petals over the polymer clay. If you want the petal specks to be very concentrated, sprinkle a lot. If you want it more subtle, sprinkle less.
Knead and fold the clay until the petal flakes are fully incorporated.
Break off pieces of the clay and roll it in your hands or on a flat surface to create beads. Experiment with different amounts of clay and rolling techniques to create different styles and sizes of beads.
Pierce the beads with crafting wire and then thread them onto the wire. Leave spaces between the beads so they do not stick together when baked.
Prop the beaded wire on the baking dish. Let the beads hang over the side of the dish, as opposed to lying flat on it, so they do not flatten when baked.
Place the baking dish in an oven heated to the temperature specified on the package of the polymer clay. This will differ depending on the brand, but is usually around 275 to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Baking time depends on the size and thickness of your beads, but should not exceed 30 minutes.
Let the beads cool completely, and then remove them from the wire.
Fresh Petals Technique
Heartier varieties of fresh flowers, such as roses or tulips, work best.
Things You'll Need
- 8 to 10 fresh flowers
- 1 cup distilled water
- Nonstick or cast iron frying pan
Parchment or wax paper
Remove the petals from your flowers. Remove pieces of the bud or other plant residue from the petals once you've plucked them from the stem.
Cut the petals into strips with scissors. This helps the petals soften quicker when you simmer them in the water.
Place the petal strips into your frying pan.
Pour the distilled water into your frying pan, on top of the petals. Using distilled water instead of regular water helps the flowers maintain their fragrance and prevents impurities from getting into your beads.
Place the pan on the stove over medium heat. Simmer the petals until they are soft and mushy, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
Remove the pan from the heat just before the mixture begins to boil, and let it cool before proceeding to the next step.
Put the cooked flower petals into a blender and blend until they have a smoothie-like texture with no visible pieces of petals left. If it's too thick, add a few more splashes of distilled water to loosen it.
Place the petal mixture back into the pan and cook on medium heat, stirring constantly. Cook until most of the water is evaporated and you have a dry, dough-like substance.
Spread some parchment or wax paper on a baking dish and scoop the petal dough onto it.
Place the baking dish in your oven overnight. Do not turn the oven on -- this is just a good place for the dough to dry out a bit.
Peel the dough off the parchment paper. You can now roll it into balls or ovals to create beads. Use a piece of jewelry wire or a thin nail to pierce a hole through each bead, and then let them dry for approximately 24 hours before using them.
Using the Beads
Use the beads the same way you would any other type of bead. String them on wire or elastic beading cord to create bracelets, necklaces or earrings. Alternatively, the beads can be used to make rosaries, ornaments and other decorative pieces.