How To Make Christian Prayer Beads

Making Christian prayer beads can be as simple as a quick, afternoon project or as complicated as a finely honed skill. I have found that even with no experience, little time, and little investment, it is possible to make a set of Christian prayer beads that is very attractive and adequately durable.

Of course, as with anything, you can spend a lifetime perfecting the craft. They make wonderful gifts, particularly handmade sets that contain personal messages or mementos. But where you take the craft is up to you. Here are some resources to get you started.

Deciding What Prayer Beads to Make

The three primary styles of contemporary Christian prayer beads are the Catholic Rosary, the Orthodox Prayer Rope, and the Anglican Prayer Beads (also known as the Anglican Rosary, or generically as a Christian Rosary or Christian Prayer beads.)

Unless you have compelling reason to do otherwise, I would recommend starting with the Anglican prayer beads. They are smaller, easier to make, and have less tradition and institutional baggage behind them. You are far less likely to offend someone if you do something wrong or take artistic liberties.

Choosing Material for your Prayer Beads

There are three key types of prayer beads you can make.

Strung Prayer Beads

Simply stringing the beads is by far the easiest way to make a set of prayer beads. All it takes is some string, an appropriate inventory of beads, and a cross or crucifix to attach at the end. The hardest part is figuring out how to tie a knot that won't come out easily, and choosing a kind of string that is durable and easy to work with.

Chained Prayer Beads

Chained beads are more involved than strung beads, but the reward of that hard work is a more durable set of beads. If making prayer beads on a chain, you will need a length of chain, some "eye" pins, and a pair of pliers.

All-Knotted Prayer Beads

All knotted prayer beads are very durable, but take longer to make than just stringing beads. They are also generally less attractive than chained or strung beads. Making attractive, even knots is a extremely complicated process that takes a lot of patience and skill. On the plus side, however, all you need is a good, thick string. Most people suggest nylon, or rattail. Yarn doesn't work so well; the knots it makes are not large enough to use.

Finding Prayer Bead Material

Regardless of what sort of prayer beads you are making, you can usually find all the material you need at your local craft store. You might also check to see if there is a specialized bead store in your area. They generally have a better selection, and they may even have some helpful pointers on some of the tricky bits, like what string to use, or what knots to try.

How Many Beads Will You Need?

Making Chained Prayer Beads

I have not yet ventured into the chained prayer beads. The best guide I have found online is this one.

Making All-Knotted Prayer Beads

A Simple Knotted Set of Prayer Beads

Rosary Army does a better job of describing how to make a simple set of all-knotted prayer beads than I could. Granted, their instructions are specific to the Catholic Rosary, but If you are making a set of Anglican prayer beads, it is easy enough to scale accordingly.

The Orthodox Prayer Rope Knot

According to legend, St. Anthony invented this knot in the course of his solitary prayers. He would tie a knot for each of his prayers, but then the devil came and untied them. But by weaving seven knots together, St. Anthony discovered that he could tie a knot the devil couldn't untie.

This knot is extremely difficult to learn. I haven't figured it out myself yet. I think it is more likely that the devil invented this knot to frustrate people like me.

But if you are interested in trying it, here is a helpful youtube video…

…more to come soon…

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