There are many learning curves when you begin making Malas prayer beads. Some of them are unavoidable like loose knots, overlooking a bead, miscounting! But some of them I have already figured out for you, so in the hopes of making your foray into the work of the Mala Wallah a little easier, here are a few resources.
My favorite cotton (good for vegan clients) is Mandala Crafts 1mm cord. It knots nicely and the spools are large. https://www.mandalacraftsinc.com/1mm-109-yards-waxed-cotton-cord-thread-many-colors-available/
You can also get it at Amazon, it’s more expensive but shipping is free.
For small bead malas, 6mm and smaller, I use Griffen Silk. Size ten is about perfect, but 8 is better for small hole beads and a safer bet if you’re using seed beads like Rudraksha, which are sometimes very hard to string. If you string your Guru bead first, then at the end you can just put the attached needle back through and voila! Be sure to start with a conservative amount of thread below your first knot so you don’t run out of thread, especially if you’re using 8 mm beads. Not recommended to 10mm beads unless you are making a half or quarter mala. I buy from a very nice lady on Etsy, Avalon Beads https://www.etsy.com/shop/AvalonBeads?ref=l2-shopheader-name
Tell Rhonda that Prana Devi says hello!
I like to glue my knots within the tassel. I use Aleene’s Craft Glue and for visible knots or knots for which I want a little more flexibility I use G-S Hypo Cement, which is in the beading section at Michaels. Aleene’s is with the other glues. Use these in a well ventilated space and sparingly at first. Remember your coupons for the craft store!
I have to order the curved needle like the one that comes in your kit from Michael’s Online. They also have them at Jo-Ann Fabric online and sometimes in store. I like the smaller needle that comes in the pack, but both work. You can Google “curved needle” or just follow this link to Michael’s https://www.michaels.com/loops-and-threads-curved-needles/10340882.html Don’t forget to apply your coupon! 🙂
You won’t need the needle if you’re using hemp, cotton, sari silk or beads for a tassel. The needles are just for the thin threads, like embroidery fabric. The silk and hemp tassels you wrap and knot on the outside.
Michael’s actually has some really nice beads. If they are real gemstones they will say on the back of the tags and are often on sale. These are also great for practice. I buy gemstones from several places; I use Etsy sellers often, but be sure to look for where the items ship from, how many sales the seller has and the reviews – just like shopping for anything else. Ask questions if you’re not sure and if the seller doesn’t respond then that’s your answer. Avalon Beads, as mentioned above, has beautiful beads and she ships quickly.
Remember to take your time with your Mala, be patient with yourself and have fun! Leave questions in the comments section of this post so the answer will benefit future students.
Love ~ Prana Devi