I’ve been busy during these last days of summer gathering leaves and petals, and pressing them using Arnold Grummer’s Garden Press. Drying botanicals is very easy and rewarding. I harvest the leaves early in the day, but after any dew has evaporated. The leaves are layered between absorbent sheets and stacked in the press. In about five days I have dried botanicals that I can incorporate in my projects. I’m especially satisfied with the dried coleus leaves—I’m amazed at how well they retain their vibrant colors.
For today’s project I made beads using the dried leaves. Yes, you read that correctly—beads, as in for-jewelry-beads. First, wrap a beading tube (aka: soda straw ☺) with double sided tape. I prefer Great Tape from USArtQuest. It’s transparent, acid free, and remains flexible.
Note: Straws of different colors can yield beads with slight color variations. Also, you can use any sized straw—from very slender coffee stirs to the jumbo Slurpee straws.
You can coat the entire length of the straw, make one very long bead, and then cut it to your desired lengths. Or, you can coat just a portion of the straw, making one bead at a time. When the straw is covered with the double sided tape, Roll the dried leaf around the straw, covering the adhesive. You’ll need to tear away excess leaf—you only want enough to wrap around the straw once. Alternatively, you can add small flecks of gilding to the taped straw before adding strips of dried leaf. Done. You now have a bead!!
For my necklace I wrapped the completed leaf beads with colored jewelry wire strung with a few seed beads and added accent beads to each end.
I’d love to know what you’ll create with your dried botanicals.