Rosaries are prayer beads that are most commonly used by those of the Catholic faith. People of other denominations and faiths make and use prayer beads also but they typically have names other than the Roman Catholic designated rosary. In this short tutorial I’ll cover how to make a traditional Catholic rosary with simple beads and your choice of string, wire or a chain. The beads used on a rosary range from wood to plastic and everything in between. Some rosaries are made with precious minerals like quartz or hematite. It doesn’t matter what you use, as long as you follow the explicit directions and bead counts.
Need a little guidance on stringing beads? Learn how in Pearl and Bead Stringing.
Using a Rosary
In the Catholic faith, a rosary is designed to be very symbolic. It is usually arranged in sets of ten little beads called decades followed by a larger bead to separate the decades. A rosary emphasizes the participation in the life of Mary, whose focus was Christ, and reflects on four mysteries of salvation: Joyful Mysteries, Luminous Mysteries, Sorrowful Mysteries and Glorious Mysteries.
When using a rosary, you will begin by reciting the Apostles Creed while holding the crucifix. Then The Lords Prayer is recited while holding the first large bead. The following three little beads are for the Hail Mary prayer. The next large bead is when Glory be to the Father is said. This is when the cycle of ten Hail Mary’s begins. Recite the Lords Prayer at every large bead you come across. Before moving on to the next decade (or set of ten small beads) reflect on the mysteries in sequence starting with Joyful Mysteries (and the five themes) and ending with the Glorious Mysteries (and the five themes).
Making rosaries is a great way to spend time appreciating your faith. You can also learn ways to make catholic themed jewelry (like crucifix earrings or necklaces) by taking this Jewelry Design course online.
How to Make a Rosary
What you need:
- Chain, string, or wire
- 53 beads – all the same color
- 6 beads – another color and larger
Now that you’ve gathered the wire, here’s how to make the rosary:
- The amount of string you need depends mostly on the size of your beads but a good guess on length is somewhere around 3 feet. Like mentioned above, rosaries are divided into five decades (or sets of 10 smaller beads) and one set of three. Separate them before you get started to make it easier while putting together the charm.
- Make a large knot on one end of the string to keep the beads from sliding off while you put them on.
- Go ahead and put ten of the smaller Hail Mary beads on the string. Tie another knot once the beads are in place. You should have a knot on each end of this set of beads. You want to leave a little bit of space so that the beads can slide around, but not too much.
- Now is when you put on the larger, different colored Our Father bead. Tie another knot so that this bead is sandwiched between two knots.
- Repeat steps 3 and 4 to string all five decades and the respective Our Father beads except for the last large Our Father bead. Make sure to tie knots before and after each set so the beads don’t run together but make sure to leave a little room so they can be moved.
- Once you have strung all five decades and five of the six larger beads, tie the two ends of the knotted string together to form a necklace loop. You should know have two string tails with a knot connecting two sets of Hail Mary beads.
- Now string the last Our Father bead after the connecting knot. Tie another knot directly after it.
- You should be left with three of the smaller beads (same color as the decades you strung prior). String them after the last Our Father bead and knot. Tie another knot to secure these three beads.
- The last thing to do is to affix the crucifix after the last three beads. Tie a few double knots to make sure the charm does not come loose. Cut off the remaining string to tidy it up.
- Now that you have completed your first rosary – you probably want to have it blessed by a priest. If you can, take your rosary to a local parish and ask the priest for a blessing.
Your rosary is now ready to be used! Devout Catholics use the rosary to meditate and pray daily – if not more. Learn about other ways to meditate and find peace within in Morning Meditation.
After the rosary receives a blessing you can either keep it for personal use, gift it, or even sell the rosary. Here is a course on how to make a profit from making jewelry (and symbolic charms like rosaries) at home.