Introduction: How to Make a Rosary

Picture of How to Make a Rosary

Instruction to make an heirloom quality Rosary with eye pins and chain. This example uses Sterling Silver parts & pieces, with glass beads, totalling $60 (incl. shipping). Makes a unique, heartfelt, and lasting gift. A more utilitarian (but still pretty) version can be made using base metal parts & pieces for under $20 (incl. shipping).

See some of the rosaries I've made at

Featured 10/29/09 - Welcome new viewers!


Step 1: Anatomy of a Rosary

Picture of Anatomy of a Rosary

The following will help you understand the process of creating a Rosary.

Step 2: Gather Your Parts!

Picture of Gather Your Parts!

59 Beads - Can be 59 of the same, or 53 of one and 6 of another.
. 8mm beads makes a 'normal' sized rosary. Use 8 or 10 for the
. Our Fathers (never smaller)
59 Eye pins
3 Jump rings (4 if Crucifix does not have a jump ring)
1 8" Chain,
. OR: fourteen 3-link pieces of chain
1 Center
1 Crucifix
Rosary instructions
Gift box
Carry bag

Round nose pliers
Flat nose pliers
Wire cutters
Rosary pliers with side cutters built-in
Felt mat (less bouncing, rolling, and breaking!)

I get all of my parts and pieces from Lewis & Company, and most of my beads. Sometimes I get beads from local shops or Beadworks. (I have no affiliation with any of these sites, but if you use Lewis&Co, tell them I said, "Hi!")

Step 3: Cut Your Chain

Picture of Cut Your Chain

If you are using a single length of chain, use your wire cutters (or side cutter equipped rosary pliers) to cut every 4th link, making 14 pieces, each with 3 links.

The best method I have found is to hang the chain down in between the cutters, close the jaws so that they hold the 4th link, then cover with my hand as I apply pressure to the cutters. This prevents the pieces of the cut link from flying around the room. Holding the chain close to pivot point lessens the tendency for the cut pieces to take off. It 'scissors' more close in, and 'chops' more at the ends.

Step 4: Put Beads on Eye Pins

Picture of Put Beads on Eye Pins

Here you will mount each bead onto an eye pin. Eye pins have one end already formed into a loop, so you only have to form the other end. It is important to use the right size eye pin. My supplier does a great job of making it easy to select the right size for the bead you use. I use 6 & 7mm beads and though 1mm sounds a trifling difference, these beads need different sized eye pins!

1. Put the bead on the pin, all the way down to the loop.
2. Bend the other end 90 degrees right at the bead, perpendicular to the existing loop (see image)
3. Grasp (gently) the end of the eye pin in the round nose pliers and roll the pliers toward the bead. This step takes practice! The end result you want is to have both loops twisted 90 degrees to each other.
4. Repeat steps 1-3 for a total of 59 beads.

Warning: Be careful of pressure. Using the bead itself for leverage is ideal (and unavoidable!), but keep in mind that it is metal against glass: the glass may chip without care. Also, use care not to dent the eye pin with the pliers, especially when using Sterling Silver.

Step 5: String Beads

Picture of String Beads

This step will have you connecting the beads to each other and to the chain pieces.

1. Group beads together. Five sets of 10 beads, one set of three, and six loose beads.

2. Connect each set of 10 Beads together in a Decade as follows:
a. Select one loop on each bead to twist open.
b. Using the flat nose pliers, twist the end open. DO NOT UNROLL the loop!
c. Place the loop of the next bead on the opened loop, and twist closed.

3. Connect the set of 3 beads as in step 2.

4. Connect a piece of chain on each loop of the six loose beads, using the same techniques as step 2.

As I usually know the loops I formed are fully closed, I select the pre-formed loops to open. Then I can be sure these are closed tightly.

Step 6: Assemble!

Picture of Assemble!

Here you place all the different portions together into the complete Rosary.

1. Connect (by twisting loops open and closed) a chain piece to one end of one Decade.
2. Connect the chain from one end of an Our Father to the other end of the first Decade.
3. Connect the other end of the Our Father to another Decade.
4. Continue steps 2 & 3 until all five Decade are strung together, separated by four Our Fathers.
5. Add the last piece of chain to the end of the last Decade.
6. Twist open a jump ring and use it to connect one end of the Decade chain to one of the top loops of the Center.
7. Repeat for the other end of the Decade chain.
8. Connect the last two Our Fathers to each end of the set of three Hail Marys.
9. Twist open a jump ring and use it to connect the short string to the bottom of the Center.
10. Twist open the jump ring on the Crucifix and connect it to the end of the short string.
11. The number of twists in the short chain make the Crucifix hang at 90 degrees to the Center. Align the loops of the Our Father above the Crucifix so that they face the same direction (unlike the 58 other beads). This will allow the Crucifix and Center to face the same way
12. Go through all of the loops and make sure they are all tight.

Step 7: Finished!

Picture of Finished!

Your Rosary is now complete. You can accessorize with Saint Medals, Rosary bags or boxes, gift boxes, instruction pamphlets, or books about The Rosary.


eash (author)2010-05-28

I just made one to send to my husband in Iraq. Thanks for such a wonderful 'ible!

kqrpnb (author)eash2010-09-14

Hey, that's a beautiful one! I LOVE the colors - what kind of beads are those? Very well done!

EmilieB21 (author)kqrpnb2017-08-05

Cat eye beads. They're surprisingly inexpensive for something with so much glam.

rebecca.ireland.37 (author)eash2014-12-07

That is SO pretty!!

CocoAngel (author)2012-07-01

You did a commendable job...It took me a long time to make anything that resemble yours. I applaud you for taking the initiative to experiment with the chain that you used...You are well on your way to making the best of Rosary or Jewelry. Congratulations on a job very well done, CocoAngel

rsic (author)2010-09-14

thanks for the ible! i just finished making one today, it only took me a few hours, and came out very well for being my first one. i also found some beads i really liked that even had eye pins already through and looped on both sides that will save me time on my next one.

near the center the rosary overlaps, that is why it looks a little weird, i didn't notice until after i took the picture

Oriyn (author)2010-04-05

 Thank you for a great Instructable. I have never made any jewelry item before, so I took about 5.5 hrs doing this project. It was all learning. I used antique finished fastenings (made from brass I think) and stone beads. I also used a 3 connector fastening instead of a center piece and do not have any thing at the end of the drop chain. Including buying tools, I spent about 35-42 dollars. As I got used to the motions, I got much quicker and was doing a decade every 8 minutes or so...but pinning the beads took almost an hour for 25 beads....beginner's lack of skill. XP

Word of warning, my needle-nose pliers did damage the eye pins because I didn't have them coated with anything (I know there's a dip you can apply to your pliers to turn them into "jeweler's tools"...just don't have any) but it worked well for my antique look anyways. ;)

Stones used: 8mm Tigers Eye, 6mm Poppy (Red Brecciated) Jasper, 6mm Red Jasper.

Thank you again!

kqrpnb (author)Oriyn2010-04-06

 Wow, that's gorgeous!  I like what you did for the long chain between the ave's and the our fathers, though I'd like to get a better look at it.  Well done!

Oriyn (author)kqrpnb2010-04-14

 Large picture is available on my dA account,

The long chain is actually just a "Lost and Found" collection chain from Michaels. I scalped every other link twice so I could free one for the project each time it called for a space before an 'our father'. (sorry if that sounds confusing...I sacrificed every other link basicly)

Cadere made it! (author)2016-10-26

Thank you for your very clear instructions. I made one of Sterling silver, natural quartz crystal, and natural faceted blue sapphire. It came out very nice (and quite heavy). Thank you!

I'm also making a satin-lined leather case to protect it but it's a work in progress and I'll likely change the snap to a buckle. Either way, that leather will age well.



HaileyS11 made it! (author)2016-09-15

Thank you for your tutorial.. here's mine :)

RikParker made it! (author)2016-02-27

Your quick list of parts and finished picture made my first metalworking a breeze, thank you so much!

EknoorD made it! (author)2016-02-09

These are very beautiful but if you want to Buy the best rosary beads on sale than visit IndianKalakart. I have made all these products

EknoorD made it! (author)2016-02-09

These are very beautiful but if you want to Buy the best rosary beads on sale only than visit IndianKalakart. I have made all these products

noi1980 (author)2015-08-17

Спасибо очень интересно.

1ofAKindDesigns (author)2014-08-04

that was copird from another site i belong too

kqrpnb (author)1ofAKindDesigns2015-06-26

They took it from here then. This is the original. :)

RosaryM1 (author)2015-06-25

00MaryBZach08 (author)2015-01-22

erudite177 (author)2014-04-10

Thank you for your detailed but easy to follow instructions.

Padre-Pio (author)2013-12-12

Thank you so much for this instructable. I think that these are some beautiful rosaries.

Opus6363 (author)2013-06-23

Thank you for this very easy-to-follow instructable! I went to Lewis' website to get the centers and crucifixes, and I also got the "one-looper" that they advertise (although I got it from ebay!) That tool is amazing!! Especially for a newbie in bead-making, I highly recommend it! I was able to bead the eye pins for the whole rosary in about half an hour, and they are all uniform in size.

rdowning (author)2012-12-06

I have a lovely "infinity" cross I'd like to use (looks celtic). It does NOT have a loop at the top to attach to the chain, but is open so you could pass a chain through any of the 4 ends. So here's my question. Would it be too unorthodox to use the cross as the centerpiece, attaching a the chain to the left and right "arms", and hanging the bottom chain from the base with some other pendant, such as a heart in the same style as the cross?

kqrpnb (author)rdowning2012-12-07

rdowning: You are free to make the rosary however you wish, although with traditionally you'd want a crucifix and you'd want it on the end. But since these are really just tools to help you keep your tally, does it really matter? :) You could also just make a large jump ring to hang this cross off of the end and get a traditional center, but your idea might look cool!

rdowning (author)2012-12-06

i tried to upload the photo but it didn't work. trying again

rdowning (author)2012-12-06

I have a lovely "infinity" cross I'd like to use (looks celtic). It does NOT have a loop at the top to attach to the chain, but is open so you could pass a chain through any of the 4 ends. So here's my question. Would it be too unorthodox to use the cross as the centerpiece, attaching a the chain to the left and right "arms", and hanging the bottom chain from the base with some other pendant, such as a heart in the same style as the cross?

coniosis11 (author)2012-07-08

..I don't Like that instructable.........
I want blessed/holy rosary .......

TinkerJim (author)2012-07-08

...a very well done Instructable on a truly worthwhile project !

ravenking (author)2012-07-08

Beautiful rosary. :)

jessea92322 (author)2011-05-25

I love you instructable and I decided to make a rosary of my own. I think I might change it to some sort of thread instead of the eye pins because my beads are on the large side hahaha :)

Rayvenstar (author)2011-04-23

Okay, I saw from this post that I wouldn't be able to bead them on beading wire, but I do have a couple of questions.

my first: Is it absolutely necessary to have a center? My second: Does it always have to be a crucifix?

I was thinking of making some and I'm trying to get more information

MrL33TPenguin (author)2009-10-30

 You would have to get this blessed by the priest from your Church..

kqrpnb (author)MrL33TPenguin2009-10-30

 You CAN get them blessed by the priest, but you don't have to.  If you are making these to sell though, make sure you do NOT get them blessed first!

Jackson1952 (author)kqrpnb2010-09-19

It's best not to have them blessed first, they should be blessed by the priest from your your place of worship. However, I recently purchased one already Blessed by the Pope. So, if it's good enough for the Pope to prebless them I'm sure you can have them preblessed as well. Another however, it would be a missed opportunity to get to know your Priest better and your church community which is very important. Besides I don't know how Priests that would be willing to bless rosaries for your commercial gain.

MrL33TPenguin (author)kqrpnb2009-10-30

 Yeah, I was meaning that should be blessed by the priest if it's for you, but like you said, you shouldn't bless them if they are for sell.

Ladylaughsalottoo (author)2010-01-10

I had never made rosaries before & I looked all over the internet for instructions.  These were the instructions I used.  I made 5 sets, for Christmas, a couple years ago.  They were liked so well, my Grandmother (Irish Catholic) asked me to make a set for one of her sisters.  Now I have an Aunt & an Uncle that want a set as well.  I'm gonna show them the instructions, ande help them, but they can make their own.  LOL
Great instructions, great pics.   Thank you so much.

MoonPanther (author)2010-01-07

This is a really cool guide! I was wondering though, where you get the cross for it...and if there is a way to make a custom cross yourself.

kyashi (author)2009-10-10

The instructions were really well done, and the photos were great.  I used vintage faux ivory beads to make one for my best friend's birthday.  Thanks so much for posting this! 

zmannion (author)2009-07-19

Dont forget to have them blessed

Carpedi7 (author)2009-07-02

Excellent instructions, I was looking for a rosary instruction manual to make a present for my future grandmother in law and this let me make a beautiful one in about 1 1/2 hours. Thank you!

kqrpnb (author)Carpedi72009-07-02

Awesome! Post a picture in the comments

kristy666 (author)2009-05-26

I made a rosary last night using these instructions, only took me about 2 hours total time. EXCELLENT INSTRUCTIONS!

kqrpnb (author)kristy6662009-05-26

Thank, glad it helped!

morgagni (author)2008-11-11

Bless you for the clear instructions and awesome photos! I especially liked the mouse-over labeling (I hope that part is the PDF I downloaded). I feel like I could do this with some practice! (I'll practice w/the cheap stuff first, LOL!)

ARVash (author)2008-06-10

Wonderful instructable, I might just have to make some instead of buying ;D.

m0nkey013 (author)2008-03-23

cool instructable about how big should the beads be to make a normal size pair?

kqrpnb (author)m0nkey0132008-03-23

Thanks, glad you liked it. I've found 8mm beads (with 8-10mm for the Our Fathers) to make a 'Normal' sized rosary. 6mm make a comfortable one as well. 4mm is what I call a Baby Rosary. 10mm are good beads, but the rosary is too long for me. 11mm is more for decoration. Thanks also for pointing out that I never said what size to use! I was hedging on it, but I will add it to the Instructable now.

m0nkey013 (author)kqrpnb2008-03-28

yay, thanks! i made a pair and they were like 2 feet long, lol i dont think that i made the loops on the eye pins tight enough to the beads either.

Rosie-Rose (author)2008-01-27

I love the red hearts rosary, can I ask where you got the beads from? Thank you for these instructions to make Rosaries, I am really excited and can't wait to make my own.

kqrpnb (author)Rosie-Rose2008-01-29

I carried on this conversation with Rosie in personal messages, but for those interested, here is what I found (links may be dated):

These are the right beads here on ebay:***--RUBY-RED-***-GLASS-HEART--BEADS-(25)_W0QQitemZ200195366027QQcmdZViewItem?IMSfp=TL0801261110a42868

And here on this site:

But keep in mind you need 53 or 59 of them, depending on whether you use a separate bead for the Our Fathers.

Rosary Parts has something similar, not sure how it would look, but I personally would try it someday:

Here's the center:

And the Crucifix:

The Our Father hearts are Hematite. Again, I found them in the physical store, but here are some on-line that I found:

Also, I expect Rosie-Rose to post her finished product here!!

About This Instructable




Bio: Well, I am mostly a family man, which means I use "hanging out with the family" as an excuse to get less of my projects ... More »
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