Rose Cuttings – December, 2007

Plan to gather fresh rose petals this spring for
an adventure in old-fashioned bead making.

Rose Petal Beads

Yes, Christmas has already passed, but for next year add this idea to your list of crafty decorations. For interesting Christmas ornaments, consider using your rose petals to make rose petal beads. They can be strewn on your tree, fastened to a wreath and woven into a garland.  At the turn of the 19th century, these types of beads were even worn as fragrant necklaces.
Be warned, making rose petal beads is a lengthy process, but your kitchen will smell good for several days. Here is how you make them:

Macerate about five gallons of fresh rose petals in a food processor. The resultant pulp should fit into a medium-sized pot. (Stainless steel is best for petals to retain fragrance.) Add approximately two cups of water — enough to cover the pulp — and simmer over very low heat for two to three hours. The pulp will become a thick paste when ready. NEVER BOIL this mixture.

After the paste cools, roll it into beads that are marble- to pearl-sized. Stick a needle through the center of each bead and allow beads to dry (with needles in place) for two weeks. I usually pin them to a bulletin board during this process. That keeps them out of the way and the needles won’t prick anyone. The beads will shrink, forming their own unique shape during this time. After the needles are removed, you can string the beads together.

• Add food coloring to embellish colors, since the petals will not retain their original color.  
• Select petals from your most fragrant roses to create the most fragrant beads.
• Add rose oil to increase the fragrance and add shine to the beads.
• Add ornamental spacers to create decorations in your own personal style.

About the author: Mike Shoup is the owner of the Antique Rose Emporium. Visit their Brenham and San Antonio display gardens for endless ideas on landscaping with roses. To order roses online, visit

Posted by Neil Sperry
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