How to Make a Rosary




About: 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 started, and a fraction of the started ones finished. I try to be passionate about wha...

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!


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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
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

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.

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51 Discussions


9 years ago on Introduction

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

3 replies

Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

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


Reply 2 years ago

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


7 years ago on Introduction

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


8 years ago on Introduction

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


9 years ago on Introduction

 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!

2 replies

Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

 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!


Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

 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)


5 years ago on Introduction

Thank you for your detailed but easy to follow instructions.


5 years ago on Introduction

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


6 years ago on Introduction

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.


6 years ago on Introduction

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?

1 reply

Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

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!


6 years ago on Introduction

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