How to Make a Mala Necklace With No Tassels

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Traditionally, Mala beads are made from wood or sacred seeds.
Traditionally, Mala beads are made from wood or sacred seeds. (Image: Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Mala beads are used in Hinduism and Buddhism for prayer and worship. Different types have a specific number of beads. For example, the Buddhist Mala or Japa Mala, with 108 beads, represent all the hurdles or impurities you must overcome in order to reach Nirvana. Craft your own custom Japa Mala with 108 beads and a larger guru bead. While some traditional necklaces have tassels, many do not have them.

Things You'll Need

  • 1.5mm diameter nylon cord
  • Scissors
  • 1 12mm wooden bead
  • Vise
  • Drill with 1/16-inch drill bit
  • 4-inch beading needle
  • 108 10mm wooden beads

Cut a 48-inch piece from the 1.5mm diameter nylon cord as the string for your Mala necklace. Any type of cord can be used, but thicker cords tend to be stronger and more durable.

Place the 12mm wooden bead, or guru bead, into a vise. The two existing bead holes meet with the vise's two grips because you are making a hole in between the two existing holes. Guru beads often have three holes.

Drill a hole in between the two holes in the guru bead using a 1/16-inch drill bit. This size is often used in beads. Remove the bead from the vise.

Knot the end of your 48-inch cord loosely about 2 inches from the end before you start stringing. This stops the strung beads from falling off the cord.

Thread the other end of the cord through your 4-inch beading needle creating a 3-inch tail. The needle helps push the beads onto the cord. Insert the beading needle into a 10mm wooden bead. Pull the bead onto the cord.

Insert the beading needle into another one of the 10mm wooden beads. Pull the bead onto the cord. Repeat the process with the rest of the smaller beads.

Thread the beading needle into one of the original holes on the 12mm, or guru, bead and through its new hole. Remove the beading needle from the cord. Remove the knot from the other end of the cord.

Insert this end of the cord onto the beading needle. Thread the needle into the other original hole of the guru bead and through the new hole. Remove the beading needle. Tie a double knot outside the new hole of the guru bead. Cut off excess cord, leaving a 2-inch tail.

Tips & Warnings

  • Keep the 108 beads in a bowl or a bead tray to keep them from rolling away on your work space.
  • Instead of knotting the end of the cord, you can use masking tape to stop the beads from falling off while you are stringing the necklace.
  • Four counter beads or smaller beads can be added to this necklace.

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