Make all-natural juniper beads from freshly picked juniper berries. Thread together dried juniper beads to form long strands then tie the strands into jewelry or hang them as home decorations. An additional bonus is that juniper beads often retain their recognizable aroma long after they have fully dried.
Things You'll Need
Hand sewing needle (size 10)
Fishing line (4 to 8 lb test)
Pick fully ripened juniper berries off the bush in the late summer. Only pick the juniper berries that are dark blue with what appears to be a white dust on their surface. Green juniper berries require at least another year to fully ripen.
Thread the sewing needle with thin plastic fishing line. Knot the line just beyond the end of the needle. Trim the excess line from the knot.
Pinch a juniper berry between your thumb and index finger. Roll the berry until the end that was connected to the stem is facing away.
Press the sharp tip of the sewing needle into the bottom of the juniper berry and out through the stem end. Slide the juniper berry past the needle end and onto the fishing line. The tiny fishing line knot does pass through each berry, which is not a problem since the fishing line is thin and the knot's excess material is trimmed off. Continue adding ripe berries until the line is nearly filled or you run out.
Tie both ends of the fishing line up in a well-ventilated area. Allow the juniper berries to dry on the line until they harden and turn black. This takes two to three weeks, depending on environmental conditions and size.
Once they are dry, include them in your jewelry or other decorative crafts. The drying lines and needles can be reused to dry another batch of juniper berries.
Spray juniper beads with multiple layers of high-gloss glaze for a shiny finish.
Smoking dried juniper beads over a grease fire is a traditional way to coat them in black soot. The soot is then polished away to give the beads a shiny finish. However, pouring grease on a fire is very dangerous and should only be done with a fire extinguisher near by.