How to Make an Authentic Mala
Video Tutorial Here
Beads have a place in many cultures, from the Roman Catholic rosary to New Age affirmation beads. This pattern is a Buddhist Prayer Mala, traditionally used while chanting or saying mantras. Buddhist malas have 108 beads, a guru bead, and 3 marker beads. The goal is to repeat the mantra or prayer perfectly 100 times, but there are eight extra beads in case we mess up a few times.
- Medium macrame cord - light brown (5 feet)
- Amazonite 8mm Multi Color Matte Round (108 beads / 3 Strands)
- Size 8 seed beads - F378 Antique Gold Lined Matte
- 3 marker beads that are larger or different shape than the 108 beads - We used our Bead World Exclusive Cream Lava Rock 8mm Round (3)
- Guru 3-way bead, 2 to 1 divider bead, or bead with a large whole - we used the White Lava Rock 16mm Round (1) for a large hole guru bead
- Gold Plated 5mm Nugget (6)
- Gold Plated 7mm Nugget 2mm hole (2)
- Tassel - Tan 80mm (1)
Glue (recommended G-S Hypo Fabric Cement)
** 6mm beads with 8mm marker beads are also perfect for this project.
** If the guru bead has a smaller whole a size fine macrame cord can be used
- 1.Separate beads into 4 sections of 27 each. If using multi-colored beads this is a good time to align your colors.
- 2.Pour a pile of seed beads on the mat moving or tickling them together into a small pile. This helps make scooping them up with the cord easier.
- 3.Start by pre-stretching the cord.
- 4.On one end of the cord leave a 6-inch tail by adding a bead stopper or paperclip.
- 5.Next starting with the other end of the cord add 2 seed beads.
6.Now begin to load one section of 27 beads. Load a bead then a seed bead after each one except the 27the bead. Using a 1-2 count while loading will help in not missing a bead. If you accidentally load two seed beads between the gemstone bead using needle nose pliers gently crush one of the seed beads removing it from the cord.
7.Next create your first marker set by loading one 5mm metal nugget spacer, one marker bead and another 5mm metal nugget spacer.
8.Repeat Steps 6 and 7 ending in a gemstone bead.
9.Next add 2 seed beads.
10.Pull strands together pulling down to ensure all are pulled down and no spaces.
11.Tie 2 overhand knots.
12.Trim tail cords to same length leaving a minimum of 6 inches.
13.Put both strands through the 7mm metal nugget spacer bead then the guru bead and though the loop on the tassel coming back up through the guru bead and the 7mm metal nugget spacer bead.
14.Pull the tassel loop up through the guru bead.
15.Tie a double knot over the previously double knot at the end of the necklace. (Should be between the 7mm metal nugget spacer bead and the necklace.)
16.Turn the necklace over and tie another double knot on the opposite side.
17.Add a small amount of glue to the knot ends. Let dry and then cut off your tail cords.
18.It is optional to add a crimp cover over the knot.
A mala, Sanskrit for “garland,” is a strand of beads used during meditation for counting and reciting mantras. A traditional mala is 108 beads, not counting the “marker” beads, which are there to mark how many mantras you have recited (usually a different size and/or texture of your meditation beads), and the “Guru” bead, the bead in the middle of the mala that represents your “teacher.” 108 is considered to be a sacred number in Yogic tradition, and mantras are repeated until one reaches 108.
Why 108 beads? There are a few theories on why this is such a sacred number. Here’s a few:
The Upanishads, a sacred Yogic text, has 108 sections.
108 lines of energy converge to form our Heart Chakra.
The number 1 represents our connection to The Divine.
The number 0 represents our humility.
The number 8 represents the infinity of our souls.