How to Make Rosary Beads

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For Catholics, the picture of someone praying the rosary, or prayer beads, is a familiar one. With a history stretching back to the Middle Ages, the beads on the rosary help the petitioner count prayers, as well as helping focus attention on the Joyful, Sorrowful and Glorious Mysteries, which call to mind the birth, passion and crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Making your own prayer beads to string for the rosary adds an extra depth of meaningfulness to your devotions.

Blend Rose Petal Beads

Beads made from rose petals have a long history in jewelry and rosary designs. Many people use the petals from roses at a loved one's funeral to make keepsake beads.

Things You'll Need

  • Rose petals

  • Water

  • Blender

  • Saucepan

  • Knitting needle or ice pick

  • Rose essential oil (optional)

Step 1

Make rose pulp by placing 2 cups of petals and 1/4 cup water in the blender.

Step 2

After pulsing it smooth, pour the pulp into a saucepan and heat it over medium heat until it no longer sticks to the sides and has the consistency of clay. Do not boil the pulp.

Step 3

When it is cool enough to handle, shape the pulp into balls that are about twice the size you want for the finished beads; this allows for the shrinkage as they dry.

Step 4

Use a very small knitting needle to pierce the beads for a stringing hole or form the balls around the needle before slipping it out.

Step 5

Allow the beads to dry for two to three days, turning them periodically. There is no need to add a sealant to these beads.

Tip

  • To add fragrance, rub rose essential oil on your fingers while you are rolling the beads and store the rosary wrapped in a handkerchief scented with the same oil.

Stringing the Rosary – Traditional Knotted Version

Prepare your rosary for your prayer time. Some people also ask a priest to bless the beads when they have been assembled.

Things You'll Need

  • Beading silk thread

  • Needle

  • 53 rose petal beads

  • 6 gold or silver beads

  • Jeweler’s glue

  • Crucifix or rosary medallion

Tip

  • You may also use wooden, glass, ceramic, crystal or plastic beads.

Step 1

Mark the thread about 6 inches from the end of a 3-foot length. Thread the needle.

Step 2

Tie an overhand knot on the mark you made.

Step 3

String 10 rose petal beads. These are the Hail, Mary beads.

Step 4

Tie a knot after the decade of rose beads. Leave just enough space to be able to hold each bead separately while praying.

  • Tie a loose knot. Don’t pull it tight yet.
  • Slip the tip of your needle or a toothpick in the loop.
  • Slide the needle and loop to the place where you want the knot. Press it with your finger to hold it in place.
  • **Tighten** the knot and remove the needle.

Step 5

String one metallic bead. These are the Paternoster, or “Our Father” beads. Tie a knot.

Step 6

Repeat these steps until you have five decades of rose petal beads and four metallic ones. Tie a knot.

Step 7

Bring the ends of the thread together and tie a knot to form a circle of beads, leaving the excess thread. Put a drop of jeweler’s glue on the knot to hold it securely.

Step 8

Thread both ends of thread through a metallic bead and tie a knot. Add a dot of glue to the knot.

Step 9

Add the last three rose petal beads, tie a knot and add a dot of glue.

Step 10

Put on the last metal bead and tie a knot. Add the glue.

Step 11

Place the crucifix or medallion on the thread, tie a knot and add the glue. Trim away the extra thread.

String the Rosary – Spacer Bead Version

Dress up your rosary with spacer beads or tubes.

Things You'll Need

  • 19-strand beading wire

  • 53 rose petal beads

  • 54 liquid-silver tubes

  • 6 silver beads –- same size as the rose petal beads

  • Side wire cutters

  • 4 crimp tubes

  • Rosary medallion with ring at the bottom

  • Crimping pliers

  • Crucifix

Step 1

String 10 rose petal beads with tube beads between each.

Step 2

Add a silver bead with tube beads before and after it.

Step 3

Continue until you have five sets of rose petal beads and four metal beads. Cut the wire, leaving 6 inches of wire on each end.

Step 4

Thread a crimp tube on one end. Slip on the medallion. Thread the wire end back through the crimp tube and the first few beads. Close the crimp tube.

Step 5

Repeat on the other side of the medallion. Set the beaded circle aside.

Tip

  • You can add 2mm silver beads on each side of the medallion to set it off.

Step 6

Cut a 6-inch length of beading wire.

Step 7

Place a crimp tube and the crucifix on the small piece of wire. Put the wire back through the tube and close it.

Step 8

String a metallic bead, spacer tube, three rose petal beads separated by spacer tubes and the last metal bead. Add a spacer tube.

Step 9

Thread the wire through the ring at the bottom of the rosary medallion and then back through the crimp tube. Close the tube.

Step 10

Trim off any excess wire ends.

Tip

  • Give your rosary a polished look by adding crimp covers over the closed crimp tubes.

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