Mala beads have recently gained popularity as a beautiful fashion accessory. Buddhist jewelry is now part of the fashion world. But malas are so much more than just a stylish accessory with a bohemian vibe. Wearing a mala also serves as a gentle reminder of what your goals, intentions, and dreams are.
Want to make one? Let me teach you how to craft your own set of mala beads from beginning to end. Just keep in mind that a lot of work goes into a hand-knotted mala and expect to spend at least 2 hours or more if this is your first try. Let's begin!
Mala beads are usually made from sandalwood, Bodhi seeds, or gemstones such as amethyst, quartz, or howlite. The most commonly used malas are the 108 bead and they all contain a larger guru bead and a spacer bead. There can also be one, two, or four equally spaced divider beads. Many people are now stringing the beads using a clear elastic cord. The mala is often finished with a decorative "endless" knot at the end of the guru bead or a tassel.
Start by choosing the appropriate stones that align with your intention. Is it love that you're looking for? Do you need protection or do you need a flow of creative energy? Find some inspiration here.
Here is what you need to make a 108-bead mala:
- 108 beads
- 3 marker beads
- 1 guru bead
- 1 beading needle
- 1 tassel
- Scissors and a beading board
- Pendant and charms (optional)
Step 1: Lay out your beads in the order you want to string them. Identify the middle point of the beads where your guru bead will be. You have to count 54 beads on each side of the guru bead. Use a board to keep the beads from rolling away.
Step 2: Snip the ends of the cord on an angle as best you can. Use glue to make both ends pointy and needle-like. Loop the cord through the tassel, making sure both sides of the cord are equal in length. String both ends of the cord through the guru bead. Slide guru bead down toward the tassel.
Step 3: Make a knot on top of each bead, sliding the knot as close as possible to the bead. Add a bead. Knot tightly above the bead. Add a bead. Knot. Repeat. If you choose to add marker beads, place them at the 18th and 54th stations.
Step 4: You can choose to make knots in between each bead which requires a lot of concentration and patience. Add 18 beads and 18 knots on one side of the mala. Add one marker bead and one knot. Then continue with 36 more beads and 36 knots. Add one more marker bead and a knot. You have completed 1/2 of the mala.
Step 5: Now work on the other side of the mala. Add 18 beads and 18 knots. Add a marker bead and a knot. Then continue with 34 beads and 34 knots. Last step is the final cord.
Step 6: Add one bead on each cord end. Knot between these two beads. Make sure the knots are secure. Add a hint of glue to the knot on all sides. Snip excess cord.
And voila! You have successfully finished your first mala. You did great!
Now that you have created your own mala, it's time to learn how to properly take care for it.
You may want to clean your Rudraksha mala beads from time to time because they do have little wrinkles on their surface where dust can settle. Rudraksha beads need to be gently cleaned using warm water and eco-friendly soap. You can soak them overnight and use a brush to remove any impurities. Don't forget to fully dry before wearing it again. You can also try oiling it once in a few months with coconut oil or sandalwood oil.
Gemstones need to be cleaned gently. Use a simple glass cleaning cloth or micro-fiber one. Do not use any harsh substances or cleaning products.
The tassel can also show some wear. Dip them in warm water with an eco-friendly soap, comb the strands and lay it out flat to dry. For a lovely tidy-up, try trimming the ends.
Just follow your intuition. If you feel like your mala hasn't been sending the right vibrations, or is misaligned with your intention, it probably needs some cleansing.
At times, malas need cleansing and resetting. They absorb all sorts of energy so you’re going to want to cleanse your mala so it’s ready for you! It is also not recommended to lend your mala beads to someone else. You should also cleanse them after being around negative energy or if you’ve been going through any personal struggles or stresses.
Follow these simple steps to learn how to cleanse your mala beads:
After cleansing your mala, it’s time to reset its intention. You can use the same intention as before, or choose a completely new one. Don’t forget to focus your energy into the mala of what it is you are trying to manifest. Be clear with your intentions.
It's always a tough moment to have your mala break. You loved everything about it, its shape, color, and intention. You got attached to it. So it's normal to feel devastated when it breaks.
However, a broken mala can symbolize a broken cycle. It's a sign that your current intention no longer serves you and it's time to find a new one. A new focus of your energies. You are not supposed to fix it. You are supposed to gather its broken pieces and place the beads on your altar. You have learned something, or made a breakthrough. It's time to connect with and choose a new mala and intention.
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