Sunday, March 15, 2015

DIY: Mala Necklace

Mala beads have a special place in my heart. In addition to looking natural and chic, they hold immense spiritual qualities.

Typically, malas have 108 beads, bound together by a guru bead or tassel. The beads are used to keep count while reciting prayers, mantras or other good thoughts. Hindu and Buddhist practitioners commonly use mala beads, but the practice is also growing among yogis.

Before I left for Costa Rica at the end of February, I was in the market for a new mala necklace and a few more bracelets. I was over the moon with the malas from Mala Collective and Tiny Devotions, but wanted to save as much money as I could to spend in Costa Rica. The solution? A DIY project, of course!

I'd never made a mala necklace before, but I knew a thing or two about jewelry making (my mom made jewelry constantly as I was growing up, and always let me make little bracelets and necklaces alongside her). A few hours later, and I had myself a pretty little mala. It's not perfect by any means, but the meaning behind making it myself makes all of the little imperfections worth it.

Semi-precious beads: 108+ depending on how you're designing your mala. Beads can be anywhere from 6 to 10 mm in diameter.
Embroidery thread: 5-8 feet depending on the desired thickness of your tassel
Elastic string: 5-7 feet
Super glue
Bead board (not necessary but is recommended)


Lay out your beads in a pattern on your bead board. I chose a mix of two different semi-precious beads, as well as metal hamsas. In addition to the overall color and look of the stones, choose a stone with spiritual properties that are important to you. For this mala necklace, I chose howlite and jade. Howlite is said to be a calming stone that promotes relaxation, while Jade promotes love and healing.

If you want to adhere to the traditional mala design, choose 108 total beads. Lay out the design of the necklace so that you will start and end the necklace in the front where the tassel will lay.

Tie a knot at the end of your elastic string, and begin stringing your beads on. The necklace will tie at the front where the tassel will hang (not at the back like traditional necklaces).

Once you have strung all of your beads, tie off the open end of your necklace. Then, tie both ends of your necklace together. The tassel will eventually be wrapped around the visible elastic knot, so don't worry about that for now.

Now it's time to make your tassel. Take your embroidery thread and wrap it in an oval. The oval should be roughly 6 inches long.

Fold the embroidery thread over your finger, with equal thread on each side.

Take an additional piece of embroidery thread (roughly 2 feet in length) and tie a knot in the middle of the oval where your finger was previously. The thread should be roughly equal on either side of the knot.

Using another piece of embroidery thread (roughly 2 feet in length), tie a knot a half inch down from the top knot.

Wrap the string around the tassel, leaving the top string free. Once the string is wrapped fully around, secure with super glue.

Then, cut the bottom loop of the tassel open, so the thread hangs free.

Now it's time to secure your tassel to your mala, on top of the elastic knot. I didn't find a precise way of doing this, other than just wrapping the embroidery thread around the knot multiple times and securing it with super glue. The result should look like the below.

And voila! Your own DIY mala necklace.

|| All photos are property of Twentyapolis. Must give credit. ||

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