I've never made them before, so I didn't know what to expect. I was suspicious that they wouldn't harden right or be durable.
I mixed a simple paste from the recipes I have read and are also randomly listed on the internet, as approximately
1/2 cup herbal powder
2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
water, little by little until you have a workable dough
essential oils, optional and added last.
What I didn't expect, was the length of time it took me to roll all the beads... somewhere around 4 hours.
Of course, when your hands are filled with sweet aromas, it's not too hard to let go of the clock and loose yourself in the rhythm.
I found that making the holes with a medium sized metal crochet needle was much smoother than using wood (toothpick) or a tiny needle. Once I had the hole made I carefully strung it onto some hemp cord to dry. Newspaper is a good bed.
I enjoyed watching the colors shift as the water left and the beads solidified. They are still fragrant and oh so lovely. They hardened quite well.
I also read that the original rosary beads were made from roses (hence the name) and while I have no proof of this, it sure makes sense..... and even more so when I think of how many rose bushes adorn the homes in my local Italian neighborhoods. Especially the apricot colored ones. Supposedly they were made from fresh, though, not dried, by making a slow cooked mash. It's the dead of winter here so I can't harvest fresh ones.
I'm not Catholic - but I am more than willing to pray along a string of roses!
Now, I can't see these being that durable, considering the contents, I imagine a drop of water would simply melt it back to goo. But I wouldn't want to lacquer them either, as that would block all of the lovely scent, and probably the natural texture, too.
I have seen that The Essential Herbal sells herbal bead making kits ( I haven't tried it) so maybe they know some additional secrets that I don't, if you are inspired and want some guidance.
For now, I love my sweet and simple beads, and will keep them for special friends and meaningful moments. I cherish the odd shaped chunky ones my children fashioned, and the square ones their best -yet suspicious - friend made ("you're a..... green witch??? what does that mean?") she says, as she requests more of that yummy 'leaf fusion', and 'leaf' soup.