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 http://kqrpnb.googlepages.com/rosaries

Featured 10/29/09 - Welcome new viewers!

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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.
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eash5 years ago
I just made one to send to my husband in Iraq. Thanks for such a wonderful 'ible!

That is SO pretty!!

kqrpnb (author)  eash4 years ago
Hey, that's a beautiful one! I LOVE the colors - what kind of beads are those? Very well done!
CocoAngel3 years ago
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
rsic4 years ago
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

Oriyn5 years ago
 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)  Oriyn5 years ago
 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 kqrpnb5 years ago
 Large picture is available on my dA account, oriyn.deviantart.com

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)

that was copird from another site i belong too

kqrpnb (author)  1ofAKindDesigns1 month ago

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

RosaryM11 month ago
00MaryBZach086 months ago
erudite1771 year ago

Thank you for your detailed but easy to follow instructions.

Padre-Pio1 year ago
Thank you so much for this instructable. I think that these are some beautiful rosaries.
Opus63632 years ago
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.
rdowning2 years ago
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)  rdowning2 years ago
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!
rdowning2 years ago
i tried to upload the photo but it didn't work. trying again
rdowning2 years ago
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?
coniosis113 years ago
..I don't Like that instructable.........
I want blessed/holy rosary .......
TinkerJim3 years ago
...a very well done Instructable on a truly worthwhile project !
ravenking3 years ago
Beautiful rosary. :)
jessea923224 years ago
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 :)
Rayvenstar4 years ago
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
 You would have to get this blessed by the priest from your Church..
kqrpnb (author)  MrL33TPenguin5 years ago
 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!
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.
 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.
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.
MoonPanther5 years ago
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.
kyashi5 years ago
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! 
zmannion6 years ago
Dont forget to have them blessed
Carpedi76 years ago
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)  Carpedi76 years ago
Awesome! Post a picture in the comments
kristy6666 years ago
I made a rosary last night using these instructions, only took me about 2 hours total time. EXCELLENT INSTRUCTIONS!
kqrpnb (author)  kristy6666 years ago
Thank, glad it helped!
morgagni6 years ago
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!)
ARVash7 years ago
Wonderful instructable, I might just have to make some instead of buying ;D.
m0nkey0137 years ago
cool instructable about how big should the beads be to make a normal size pair?
kqrpnb (author)  m0nkey0137 years ago
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.
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