Rosaries and malas have been used for centuries to help keep track of prayers and meditative chants.  You do not have to be religious to realize the benefits of meditation. It brings about relaxation and inner peace. Today meditation is used in patient care and counselling.  Want to make your own mala? Jason Walz of Shade of the Bodhi Tree is offering a special giveaway where you can  customize your own malas.

 Buddhist malas traditionally consist of 108 beads, not counting the guru or marker bead. They can be worn as necklaces - they resemble Edwardian style sautoirs. Or they are wrapped around the wrist. Note : you can also make mala bracelets so long as the beads number 18 or 27, depending on the size of the beads used.

Jason sent me two kits to try. One was finished with a tassel, the other with a charm.  He also has a very helpful Youtube channel which shows how to string malas, attach a charm or a tassel, and the all important one - how to string the guru bead which is actually a 3 hole or T drilled bead. His videos meant I had a lot of fun making the two malas with the minimum of fuss!

Key to the whole process was the kind of collapsible eye needles he supplies.  These are not like the usual kind I have from Beadalon. They are a lot more flexible and do not have a twisted shaft.

Jason has a neat trick where the end of the cord is mashed up so that this bit is caught in the eye of the needle. The deliberately frayed end means it can be drawn through the small bead hole that much easier.  I also liked his tip of stacking the next few beads on the needle (shown below) before pulling the cord right through all the beads!

I tested out the Beadalon needles and even a plastic dental floss threader which also has a collapsible eye. Neither worked well. I also tried the wire method which proved too difficult with small guru beads. But the needles from Shade of the Bodhi Tree made stringing guru beads an easy task. The key is the ability to slightly bend the tip of the needle into a gentle hook. Jason does it with his fingers in his video. I used my round nose pliers.

The needle made it easy to pull the cord through an L shaped path.  If you are going to be making a lot of malas, I recommend getting the extra needle kit (5). The first one I used flew out of my hands while I was pulling it through some beads, never to be seen again!  The needles also fray with extended use. So extra needles are worth getting.

He also has an efficient way to tie the tassel to the bottom of the guru and cap bead. His video shows a larger guru bead which could "stand" on its own. As I was working with small gemstone guru beads which could not stay upright, I simply propped it up against something convenient.

The snowflake obsidian mala I made had a smallish charm so I added a gemstone pendant which complimented both the snowflake obsidian beads as well as the tiger eye guru bead. I adapted his tutorial on how to attach a charm using a jump ring and a little wire work.

My favorite though was the sandalwood bead mala with the unakite guru bead and red tassel. It has a beautiful scent.

If you'd like to win a $40 gift certificate for DIY malas from Shade of the Bodhi Tree, please make a comment below. Make sure you leave contact info below if you do not have an online shop or blog.

Email subscribers need to scroll down the post they receive, click on Share Comment and enter your comment. Pick Name/URL. If you don't have a store or blog, leave the URL blank.

This giveaway is international.

Extra entries if you become or are a blog subscriber or follower etc. If you also do shout outs about this giveaway, those will count as additional entries too! Please say so in the comments. (The exception is Facebook - just like/comment on the giveaway status there!!)

It ends in a week's time at 6 pm EST Monday, September 11, 2017. I will pick the winner randomly and announce the results as soon as possible after. So be sure to leave a contact email if you don't have an online link or make sure you come back and check! Otherwise I will redraw in a week. Good luck!

I used natural light, my iPhone 6S with the ProCamera app and the Modahaus TS400 tabletop studio and rostrum stand (overhead photography) for final product photography. The tutorial pictures were taken with the same equipment but with artificial lights in my windowless basement studio. Check out my How to Photograph Jewelry Webinar .

I receive books and products for review.  I do receive a small fee for any products purchased through affiliate links which are provided as resource information for readers.   This goes towards the support of this blog. The opinions expressed are solely my own.  They would be the same whether or not I receive any compensation.

Before You Go:
Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
Jewelry Making Tips - Wire JewelryTips  -Jewelry Business Tips