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Mala Bracelet

I was browsing through a "new age" type catalog looking at all the cool merchandise I couldn’t afford, when I saw some pretty beaded bracelets and necklaces for sale. But, these beaded pieces weren’t just jewelry, they were Mala prayer beads. Of course, being a jewelry maker, I thought, "I could make those." A few days later, I received an email from someone asking about....you guessed it...how to make a Mala prayer bead bracelet. After a little research and a little playing around, I came up with a few ways to make these spiritual pieces of jewelry.

The basic design of these bracelets includes 27 beads and a tassel. Most of the prayer bead bracelets I’ve seen have been made out of semi-precious stone beads such as rose quartz, carnelian, or onyx. I didn’t see a clasp on the bracelets in the catalog, so I wasn’t sure how they were to come on and off. Also, when I strung up 27 beads, I realized the bracelet would be very large for most people. While experimenting, I came up with a few variations on this design. This article describes the first design I created. Future articles will show variations on this basic design.

Design 1: Hematite Prayer Bracelet

For my first design attempt, I basically made it as similar to the catalog version as possible. I used the following supplies and tools:

#4 nylon burgandy thread w/attached needle
1 - 8mm hematite bead
27 - 6mm hematite beads
24 - 4mm hematite beads
3 4mm red Czech crystal beads
3 gray colored seed beads
1cone shaped base metal bead
1 clamp shell
1 spring ring clasp
flat nosed pliers
clear finger nail polish

1. First, I knotted the end of the thread and added on the clamp shell.

2. Then I strung on 27 - 6mm beads, knotting between each bead.

3. The 8mm hematite bead was added next. Then I knotted and slipped on the cone shaped bead.

4. The tassel was the next part of the bracelet to make. I made the tassel using a similar technique used for beaded fringe:

a) I slipped 6 - 4mm hematite, 1 Czech crystal, 2 - 4mm hematite, and then one little gray seed bead onto the strand.

b) Next, I brought the needle back up through the beads I just added except I skipped the seed bead.

c) I continued up through the cone bead, added a knot, and then came back down through the cone bead to make another piece of fringe as described in steps a) and b).

d) Then I made a third piece of fringe using almost the same technique, but instead of going through the cone, first I added a knot and then went up through the cone and cut off the thread.

5. To help secure the thread at the end, I added a dab of clear finger nail polish to the knots.

6. Finally, I added the spring ring clasp to the clam shell.

The clasp fits in between the beads that were knotted, so it can be adjusted depending on the size of the wrist.

For more information on prayer beads, take a look at the Prayer Beads Subject area of my site.

All graphics created by Tammy Powley.

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