My workshop calendar is full and prayer bead orders are coming in at a rapid rate, which means that Lent is just around the corner. People love prayer beads for this season of preparation. The beads really help to foster a sense of stillness, introspection, and prayer as we journey with Jesus towards Jerusalem and the cross.
We’ve heard that many people are preparing to lead Lenten studies using either A Bead and a Prayer or Another Bead, Another Prayer. I hope you will include time for participants to make prayer beads. As so many of you know, getting to make your own prayer beads is a fun, creative, group-building activity. And the bonus is, you end up with a great set of prayer beads that YOU created!
Interested? I’ve included a supply list and full instructions below. There’s even a YouTube instructional video at the bottom of this post for those of you who want to follow me step by step.
All of the supplies can be purchased at your local craft store or online. We also sell kits in our Etsy store, which come with everything you need except the two tools. We generally keep all the kits in stock, though if you need to place a large order for a group, please contact me for information on volume discounts and shipping times. A good rule of thumb is we need two weeks to complete large orders (40 or more) of kits.
Instructions for Making Your Own Prayer Beads
- 5 large (10mm – 12mm) beads
- 29 medium (8mm – 10mm) beads
- 36 seed (size #6 or #8) beads
- 1 cross or other pendant
- 2 crimp tubes (size 2 x 2)
- 20 – 24 inches of wire (49-strand, .019 or .018″)
- 1 pair of chain nose pliers
- 1 set of side (flush) wire cutters
- L = Large bead
- M = Medium bead
- s = seed bead
- Thread one of the crimp tubes onto the wire, then add the cross. Thread the end of the wire back up through the crimp tube. This will leave you with the two ends of the wire coming out of the crimp tube: the primary length of wire and a smaller “tail,” about one inch in length. Using the pliers, squeeze the crimp tube until it is flattened.
- String the beads in the following pattern, taking them all the way down so that the first bead aligns with the crimp tube that sits above the cross. (Note: make sure the beads cover both of the wires—the primary wire and the “tail” that extends from the top of the cross): s L s M s L s
- String the crimp tube (this is a critical step!).
- String the first section of week beads in the following pattern: s M (7 times), then 1 s. It will look like this: s M s M s M s M s M s M s M s
- String 1 L bead.
- String the second section of week beads by repeating Step 4.
- String 1 L bead.
- String the third section of week beads by repeating Step 4.
- String 1 L bead.
- String the fourth section of week beads by repeating Step 4.
- Take the end of the wire and thread it back through the crimp tube that was added in Step 3 (the wire will be heading back toward the cross). Thread it through the crimp tube, the seed bead, the large bead, the seed bead, and the medium bead so that it comes out from the bottom of the medium bead.
- Pull the wire tightly, adjusting the beads as necessary to remove any slack in the wire and to ensure that the wire is completely covered up by the beads. This is a good time to count all the beads and double check your pattern to be sure the beads are in the order you desire. If not, make the necessary changes before proceeding to the next step.
- Using a pair of chain nose pliers, flatten the crimp tube as tightly as possible.
- Using a set of side (flush) wire cutters, cut the remaining wire off as close to the beads as possible.
- Enjoy your beads! Blessings!
(excerpted from my book, A Bead and a Prayer: A Beginner’s Guide to Protestant Prayer Beads) (Upper Room Books)