Introduction: 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!
Step 1: Anatomy of a Rosary
The following will help you understand the process of creating a Rosary.
Step 2: 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
Round nose pliers
Flat nose pliers
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
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
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
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!
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!
Your Rosary is now complete. You can accessorize with Saint Medals, Rosary bags or boxes, gift boxes, instruction pamphlets, or books about The Rosary.