Malas are Tibetan Buddhist prayer beads strung with 108 beads. The necklaces/bracelets are traditionally used to help keep count while reciting or repeating a mantra. I am neither Buddhist nor Tibetan but I love the look of Malas and a few years ago started making them for myself and friends.
As I start gearing up for the holidays and begin making presents for friends and family, I have pulled out all my beading supplies and thought I would share my Mala Making methods.
108 beads (best if 5mm or less)
Bead Cord with a self threaded needle (I typically use No 10 in a color to match the tassel)
Needle nose tweezers
Embroidery thread to make a tassel or a premade purchased tassel
To begin your Mala, make a knot near the end of the Bead Cord and begin threading your beads. In between each bead, tie a knot while using the tweezers to pinch at the top of the bead. This will make the beads and knots fit tightly together
When all 108 beads have been tied on the Bead Cord, tie the two ends together into a circle. You are almost done!
Next Decide if you want to make your own tassel or attach a premade tassel. I like to do it both ways. Over the year I have been collecting vintage Turkish Tassels and repurposing them on Malas. I use a strong nylon thread to attach them to the beaded loop.
If you choose to make a tassel, grab some embroidery thread and your beaded loop.
Cut one looped end of the embroidery thread and tie it in the middle to the beaded loop using the left over Bead Cord.
Grab one loose thread on the right side and wrap 5 times around all of the threads
Using a needle pull the loose wrapped thread through the top of the tassel and pull down hard to tighten.
Repeat the wrap and thread pull through with a loose thread from the left side of the tassel this time wrapping in the opposite direction. Dampen the end of the embroidery thread and trim to desired length.
Enjoy your Mala!