Here are the instructions for sending your flowers:
(Note: If you would rather not send flowers to us, let us know. We can purchase flowers from a local florist to make your beads with. The price of the flowers would be calculated into your invoice.
1. For Fresh Flowers: Fold a paper towel into fourths. Place just the petals (no stems or leaves) in a single layer between the folds of the paper towel. You may put a little piece of tape on the paper towel to hold it closed, but do not completely tape all around the edges. Place the paper towel(s) in an unpadded paper manila envelope or cardboard box. CAUTION: Please do not put the paper towels in plastic zipper baggies, plastic wrap, bubble mailers, or bubble wrap. This will restrict air flow, and the petals will mildew. If you have more than a few paper towels, then we recommend using a flat rate priority box – they are free from the USPS and all you pay is postage.
2. Send the flower petals: Our address is –Memorial Beads P. O. Box 10581 Peoria, IL 61612
If you would like delivery confirmation, the post office can do that for you at a small additional charge. Delivery confirmation lets you know when the package arrived, via a tracking number you can use at the post office’s website. (www.usps.com)
3. How many flower petals to send? The number of petals depends on the type of flower you are sending, we make beads from flowers of all types, not just roses. We use a rose petal as a standard measurement. So, for example, if you wanted one large-hole bead made, you would send one rose petal. If you wanted a bracelet with rose petals on it, you would send 4 rose petals, which would be two beads per rose petal. If you wanted a pendant, you would send one rose petal. So on average, the larger the item, the more of a rose petal would need to be used. The heart charms use the same amount of rose petal as the standard sized beads, which means you could have two heart charms made from one rose petal.
For Dried Flowers: If your flower petals are already dried, we can still use them. Even if they are ten or twenty years old; as long as they still retain their color, we can make beads from flowers decades old.
To send your dried petals to us, you can simply put them into zipper sandwich baggies (one baggie per flower type or color, please) and ship them to the address above. Since the petals are already dry, there is no need to put them into paper towels.
If you would rather dry your petals at home before sending them, here are some suggestions:
- Air drying (takes the longest, but least expensive): You will need the following supplies: a knife or garden shears; a rubber band; and string, dental floss, or wire. Keep the flowers away from direct sunlight, and try to dry the flowers before they reach their full maturity, or fully opened and petals drop off. Remove all the leaves from the stems of the flowers. Cut off the stem, leaving about 6-inches of stem below the flower to allow room for hanging the flower upside down. If you’re drying more than one flower, gather the stems together as if making a bouquet, and wrap a rubber band around the end of the gathered stems to keep them in a group. Tie a 6-inch piece of string, dental floss, wire, etc., to the rubber band, leaving enough of each end of the string to tie around the bottom of a coat hanger. Hang the flowers upside down in a dark, cool place that has good circulation (a closet, dry basement, etc.). You can attach two bunches of flowers to one coat hanger, one bunch hanging from each end of the hanger, if you are drying quite a lot of flowers. Otherwise, hang the one bunch from the center of the coat hanger to balance it. The drying process will take 2-4 weeks. Once the flowers are dry, remove the petals and package them for shipment.
- Microwave drying (is the quickest, but requires an expense and is riskier): You will need the following supplies: a knife or garden shears; a microwave container large enough to hold your flower petals and also fit into the microwave, but which you will not use again for food once you’ve used it to dry your flowers (try thrift stores to find a microwave-safe container if you need to purchase one inexpensively); silica gel, a crystalline absorbent agent that looks like bath salts and can be purchased at a craft store;, a butter knife; and a soft-bristled craft paintbrush. Pour 1-2 inches of silica gel into the bottom of the container. Cut the stem of the flower off at the base, leaving only enough stem to hold the flower together. Set the flower into the silica gel, so that the head of the flower is upright facing you. Slowly pour more silica gel onto the flower, separating the petals and allowing the gel to get down between them into the flower as close to the base as possible. Be generous with the gel and completely cover the flower. The gel is reusable, so you can use it over and over again. Place the container, uncovered, in the microwave. Microwave your flower, but be cautious, as microwaves vary greatly in their power. Try a setting that is one or two levels above the “defrost” setting. Microwave 2-5 minutes, checking the dryness of your petals periodically throughout that time. If after five minutes the flower isn’t dry, increase the heat setting on your microwave and check the flower at one minute intervals. Different flowers will withstand different temperatures and drying times; roses are the most heat tolerant while daisies are the least. It is possible to overcook your flowers and burn them, so proceed with this process very carefully. Once the flowers are finished microwaving, cover the container and remove it from the microwave (be careful, it may be quite hot!). Vent the container by opening the lid ever so slightly (the width of the handle of a butter knife). Allow the container to sit untouched for 24 hours. Once the flower is completely cooled and dehydrated, carefully remove it from the silica gel and begin brushing all the gel off the flower with the craft paintbrush. Remove the petals from the base of the flower, brushing each petal to ensure that no silica gel remains on the petal. You may now package the flower petals for shipment.