How to Make a Mala Necklace

Stylish Mala Necklace using African Trade Beads.

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Primary Bead
Secondary Bead
Tertiary Bead

Time: 30 min
Skill Level: Intermediate

Create a modern style Mala Necklace with traditional and fashionable African Trade Beads. Making mala necklaces is a great way to redesign and re-purpose beads in jewelry to make them new again. Traditionally there are 108 counted beads used for meditation of mantras. In this tutorial, we begin with a simple, pre-made bone mala necklace which we will redesign. Keep in mind it is best to keep all beads laying stable on a flat surface to keep the count, pattern and structure of the necklace.

Things You'll Need

  • African Recycled Glass Bead (Black)
  • African Turquoise
  • Mala Prayer Beads
  • 1.0mm Waxed Cotton Cord
  • Wire Cutters
  • Ruler

Step by Step Instructions

1 Measure String

In this tutorial, we use an inexpensive strand of mala bone beads as our starting point, which we will redesign. Begin by measuring your base necklace, and add 10 inches to this length. Then, cut a piece of waxed cotton cord measuring this length.

2 Create Your Pattern

Prepare and establish the layout and pattern of the new mala necklace design. Laying out the beads in advance will make it easier during the stringing process.

3 Remove Tassel

Cut between the tassel and neighboring bead to remove the tassel from your base necklace.

4 Remove String from Tassel

Once separated, carefully pull the tassel string away from the toggle bead.

5 Restringing Tassel

On the tassel that you removed, you will see a short piece of string with a loop on its end. Place your cotton cord through the loop.

Pull on the string in a way that will bring your cotton cord through the tassel's upper knot.

6 Secure New Tassel

Center the tassel on your cotton cord.

Tie a knot to secure it in the middle of the cord.

Slide your tassel's toggle through both ends of the cord at the same time.

7 Add Tassel Bead

Using your three-hole tassel bead, first slide both ends of the string into the beginning of the bead, then bring each string out of a different side's hole (left and right).

8 String Beads

String the beads in the pattern you laid out earlier on each side of the necklace.

9 Knot the Necklace

Tie a knot at the finished end of the necklace.

10 Cut Excess Cord

Take the extra cord and pass it through two beads on each side of the knot. Cut the remaining visible portion of the cord.

11 Enjoy!

Congrats on making your first Mala necklace. Was it as easy as you expected?

Tips & Advice

  • Make sure that you have a good flat surface when working.
  • Always plan out the layout of your pattern.


Let us know about your experience making and and don't forget to share your pictures wearing your finished mala necklace.

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