Mala necklaces are a strand of 108 beads traditionally used in Buddhism to keep count during yoga meditation of mantra recitation. Mala strands have 108 beads because this is one of the most significant numbers in the Hindu tradition, e.g. 108 is the number of energy channels in the body and the number of Sanskrit letters. So, if you are a practising Buddhist or yogi (or you know someone who is), then a mala bead necklace would make the perfect accompaniment to your yoga gear! Making your own mala beads, rather than buying them off-the-rack, is a fantastic way to inject some personality and uniqueness into your necklace – as you can select semi-precious stones which represent your personal values.
Continue reading our hand how-to guide to discover how to make a mala bead necklace. Of course, this tutorial can be made more complicated by adding steps (such as pendants, stones etc.) but this guide will give you the easiest and quickest version, so that you can use your new mala beads at your next yoga class – even if it’s tomorrow!
You will need:
• 108 beads or semi-precious stones
• One larger bead (also known as a Guru bead)
• Bead cord
• Tassel (optional)
• Glue (optional)
• One pendant (optional)
• A bead design board (optional)
• Needle or pliers (optional)
1. Take a ball of bead cord
If you have a bead design board, you will begin by laying all the 108 beads onto the board in order to visualise the look of the overall finished necklace. After laying out beads on your board, you will need to cut a piece of beading string. However, there is no need to cut a specific length of bead cord or bead string, as you may end up cutting a piece which is too short, and then you will have to start all over again. Instead, you will need to overestimate the amount required by using an extra-long piece of beading cord.
2. String and knot
Mala bead necklaces have knots between each bead. This helps to ensure that if the necklace breaks, the beads or stones will not go flying everywhere and you won’t have to spend hours looking for semi-precious stones in the carpet!
Start out with a single knot and then thread a bead onto the string -make sure that the knots are as close as possible to the beads. You can achieve the best results by using pliers, tweezers or a needle to ensure the knot is as tight as possible to the bead.
You will need to repeat this process 108 times!
3. Knot the ends together
To create the mala necklace, you will need to knot the two ends of the beading cord together through a larger bead, known as the Guru bead. This helps keep the necklace secure. For extra strength, you could use a small amount of glue over the knot.
4. Create a tassel (optional)
For an added dimension a tassel or charm is often added on to the end of a set of mala beads. You can either create a tassel yourself using thread and cardboard or pick one up from a shop.
Once you have your tassel, simply thread it through the loose threads from the Guru bead. Make sure you tie everything tightly and snip off any loose bits, and you will be good to go!