When the roses are in full bloom is the time for this activity. It is an ancient art and I do not know where it originated. It is fun to do. Fragrant roses are the kind to use. I remember picking American Beauty roses and wild rose petals to make the rose beads. The more fragrant the flower is the more fragrant the rose beads will be.
It takes quite a few flowers to make a string of beads. I have gone to several florists to request the good smelling roses that they usually discard for some reason. I keep one old cast iron pan specifically for this project. Cast iron is required because the rose petals must turn black to be made properly. A hand cranked meat grinder should also be used.
Once I have collected a goodly amount of rose petals I grind them using the fine blade of the grinder. I make sure that all the juices drain into my cast iron pot with the ground up petals. Only a cast iron pot will turn the rose petal pulp black. I then cook the pulp until it is the consistency of dough. Next I make certain I have long hat pins and a square of cardboard or styrofoam ready to pin the beads on.
I take a small amount of the rose petal dough and roll it into a ball. I try to make the balls the size of a pea. I thrust a hat pin through the center of the bead and stick it onto the styrofoam. I make sure the bead is in the center of the hat pin and not touching the pin head or the styrofoam. I leave them there until they are hard and thoroughly dry.
The beads can be strung after they are dried. To make them shiny a smidgeon of vaseline may be rubbed on them. I prefer them with a matte finish. They are beautiful when strung with alternating colored glass beads but equally beautiful strung alone. Keep them in a closed container when not wearing them to preserve the fragrance, which will last for years.
Bonita Anderson. Everything I write about is from personal observation and life experiences