How to Make a Mala

Designing your mala

Lay your beads out in the order you want them, exactly as you want them to be on your mala.  Be sure to count your beads and make sure your pattern is even on both “sides” (or staggered any way you like).

If you are adding a charm somewhere on your mala, lay it where you want it to hang.

TIP: Read all of the instructions carefully before beginning.

Instructions on how to make a mala and make your own tassel to add at the end, see the first set of instructions.  If you opted to add a premade tassel, see the instructions below those.

How to make a knotted mala with your own tassel

1. Tie a double knot at the end of the knotting cord. Make sure this knot is large enough so your guru bead can’t slide off easily.

2. Add the guru bead to the cord and move it to the end by the knot. (Be sure to check that your thread can go through the guru bead twice before proceeding)

3. Leave 3-4inches of thread after the guru bead, then tie another knot (now the guru bead is between the 2 knots).  If using the larger, 8mm beads, leave only 3 inches if this is your first mala, so that you know you have plenty of room for knotting.

4. Add the first mala bead and place it right next to knot, then tie another knot right next to mala bead.

  • TIP: insert a tooth pick or metal pick in the hole of the knot and slide the knot as close to the bead as possible.  Then, using your finger tips, push the knot towards the bead as you remove the pick.
  • NOTE: Close knots are important so you don’t run out of cord. If your knot is not next to your bead, consider unknotting and trying again to get the knots as close to the beads as possible.

5. Add the next bead, and push it up against the knot before it with just a little bit of pressure.  Then repeat step 4 as before, knotting after each bead, including the last one.

6. Pull the knotting cord through guru bead in the opposite direction as it started so that both ends are hanging out of the same side (it should now look like a circle and your mala is almost complete!)

7.  Prepare your tassel thread

  • Wrap thread around a card to your desired thickness & length (example: short side of a business card for a short tassel, long side for a long tassel)
  • Cut the thread so it lays flat and is no longer in a circle

8. Use the knotting cord to tie tassel thread on, be sure there is equal tassel thread on either side.  Two single knots should do it. (see below “how to make your own professional looking tassel” for more details)

  • TIP: try to knot directly opposite the guru bead, not next to it, so that the knot is hidden when you finish the tassel

9. Wrap the tassel with another piece of thread, this can be the same as your tassel thread or any other color. Tie it off with first a double knot, then a single knot.  Seal your knot with a tiny dab of glue if you like. 

How to make your own professional looking tassel

These instructions can be used to craft a stand alone tassel, or add one to a mala from the first set of instructions. This is a little bit more of an advanced way to tie your tassel together, so allow yourself a few tries to get it right.

Part 1: Attaching your tassel thread to the mala.

  • Wrap tassel around a a few business card or a credit card.  Use the short end for a short tassel, or long end for a long tassel.  Wrap until your desired thickness.  This is a personal preference, and may take some experimenting.
  • Cut the thread, and lay it evenly over the cord.
  • Tie a single knot, and then another single knot.  Pull the knots so they are tight, and then drape the cord down with the rest of the tassel thread.

 

Part 2: Wrapping your tassel

I’m showing these instructions using a thick cord so that it is easiest to see.  I recommend a thin thread for tying tassels as the final knot will sit nicer with a thin thread.

  • If using the same thread as your tassel, make a knot or loop or some way of distinguishing your tassel tie thread from your tassel wrap thread.
  • Lay the thread so it is parallel with the tassel and hold it towards the very top of the tassel (nearest the guru bead)
  • While holding the thread at the top, begin to wrap the thread around the tassel
  • After you have made several wraps around, release the hold at the top of the thread and pull the thread you were once holding through so that there is no extra thread loose at the top (if you pull on the thread and the whole tie spins, you need to wrap a few more times. You should be able to pull the thread down without the rest of the wrapped thread moving)
  • Continue wrapping the thread around if you wish to have the wrap longer (if you make a very long wrap before you pull the thread down through, it may be very hard to pull it and the thread could snap)
  • Tie the 2 strands together once the lenth you want is achieved.  Use a double knot at first, followed by a single knot.
  • Place a small dab of glue on the knot and press down to make the strands hang down with the tassel thread.

How to make a knotted mala with premade tassel

For this design, we start at the “back” of the mala, for a full 108 bead mala that would be with bead #54 in your sequence – and note that we do not count the guru bead, there are 108 mala beads and 1 guru bead.  Be sure to test your guru bead to be sure your cord can go through twice before you begin.  If not, find another guru bead or use a bead reamer to enlarge the hole.

1. Tie a knot at the end of the knotting cord.  Then tie another knot about 2-3 inches after that one.  Pull the thread to tighten that 2nd knot.

2. Add bead #54 to the cord and move it to the end by the 2nd knot.

3. Add the next mala bead and place it right next to knot, then tie another knot right next to mala bead.

  • TIP: insert a tooth pick or metal pick in the hole of the knot and slide the knot as close to the bead as possible.  Then, using your finger tips, push the knot towards the bead as you remove the pick.
  • NOTE: Close knots are important so you don’t run out of cord. If your knot is not next to your bead, consider unknotting and trying again to get the knots as close to the beads as possible.

4. Add the next bead, and push it up against the knot before it with just a little bit of pressure.  Then repeat step 4 as before, knotting after each bead, until you have 54 (half of your 108) beads to the cord.

5. Add your guru bead and be sure there is a knot between the last mala bead and your guru bead.

6. Add your tassel, and then pull the cord through the guru bead again, going in the opposite direction.

7. Pull the cord so that there is no slack, and then knot again next to the guru bead.

8. Continue knotting as in steps 3-4 until the remaining 54 beads are added.  Now you have your mala nearly complete.

9. Take the 2 strands and tie these together.

  • option 1: tie 3 single knots, pull tightly and leave a bit of string hanging out on each end
  • option 2: tie 2 single knots, add glue to the knots, cover with a c-shaped crimp cover, then cut the extra cord.