It’s a snowy afternoon, and I have a long to-do list. Fortunately, one of the required items is to make some botanical beads. With a cup of Flower Power herbal tea steeping, I gathered the materials. Botanical beads have a long history that evolved with humans (Botanical Beads). Seeds, nuts, pods, roots and stems have been used as ornamentation for thousands of years. In particular, rose petal beads (as well as other types of natural “jewels”) became quite popular during the Victorian Age. But this activity will use pre-made botanical powders: a variety of dried, scented herbs that have been ground to a fine powder and mixed with a gum resin.
I selected one tube of the rose powder which could make enough beads for a child’s bracelet.
I emptied the entire tube into the bowl.
TIP#1: Reserve about 1/2 tsp. and set aside. You will see why later.
Add enough water to moisten so that you have the consistency of wet clay. Consistency is very important: if too dry, your beads will crack as they dry and if too wet, they will lose their shape.
The reserved powder will come in handy if you have added too much moisture. You can add the reserved powder directly or mix in a bit of water and then add it to the rest of the mixture. Think wet clay…
Now you need to decide how you plan to thread your beads. I wanted to make a child’s friendship bracelet that would use 1/2 inch organza ribbon as the thread so my bead holes needed to be bigger (as do the beads). For some long-forgotten reason, I purchased a huge bag of wooden skewers a long time ago and as a true crafter, I wouldn’t dream of throwing them out! The skewers proved to be perfect for my beads. You could also use a thin wire (or fishing line?) for smaller holes. Do not use thread because the beads may stick to it as they dry.
TIP #2: While threading your beads be sure to look for cracking. If cracking is evident, the clay beads are too dry and will need to be remixed with a little more water. Once formed and threaded allow them to dry for 24 hours or so.
I had an old bead necklace that broke many years ago (and of course, I kept the beads) so I dug out some plain wooden beads with a large hole to finish my rose-scented friendship bracelet. The beads should be stored in a closed container to retain the scent.
This activity is a great project to do with kids of all ages. The powders are included in the Rainy Day Herb Craft Basket which also includes an incense making kit, an instructional booklet for making your own botanical powders from herbs and the wonderful children’s book, The Herbalist of Yarrow. More on this delightful book later.