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Make Your Own Rosary with a Rosary Chain and Other Jewelry-Making Accessories
If you were raised in the Roman Catholic Church, chances are you already own a rosary. Even if you are not Catholic, a rosary can make a wonderful gift for anyone celebrating a baptism, first Holy Communion, confirmation or the marriage of a friend or relative who is Catholic.
What Is a Rosary?
A rosary is a length of beads and other attachments strung on a cord or metal chain. In the Catholic religious practice, a rosary is a devotional tool used to focus one’s attention on prayer and encourage meditation on the life of Jesus Christ.
What Are the Components of a Rosary?
Rosary beads can be made from a wide variety of materials, including wood, glass, agate, quartz, opal and countless other gemstones. Rosary beads are typically — but not always — round or oval and may be smooth or faceted.
A rosary consists of more than just a string of beads, however. The “findings” are all the other components of the rosary except the beads. These include a crucifix, a center or medallion, the chain itself and all the other connecting metal pieces, like wire, eye pins and jump rings.
The metal chain can be made of gold, silver or any suitable combination of precious or non-precious metals. The various pieces of a rosary should complement one another in color, pattern, shape and size. Other than that, you are limited only by your imagination in designing your rosary.
What Tools and Supplies Do I Need?
Rosaries can be made using individual beads, chain and other findings. Alternatively, you can purchase lengths of pre-beaded gold rosary chain by the foot, for example, which will significantly simplify your project. However, you will still need some other tools and supplies to make your rosary.
At TheBeadTraders.com, we offer a vast selection of beads and jewelry supplies online. Here is what you’ll need to make your own rosary:
- 2 pairs of pliers: flat-nose pliers to hold and manipulate the piece you are working on and “rosary pliers,” which are a handy combination of round-nose pliers used to create loops and side-cutting pliers used to cut wire and chain. Round-nose pliers and a separate wire cutter can be substituted for rosary pliers.
- 53 small (6-8 mm) beads, 10 for each of five groups of beads for the “Hail Mary” prayer, plus three additional “Hail Mary” beads. Each group of 10 beads is called a “decade.”
- 6 separator beads to say the “Our Father” prayer, which can be the same size or larger than the decadal beads
- 14 short pieces of chain (3-4 links each) to connect the decadal beads with the separator beads and other rosary components
- Wire or eye pins
- 1 medallion or “center” (often depicting Christ, Mary, a saint or biblical event)
- 1 cross or crucifix
- 4 jump rings: three small jump rings to connect the medallion and one larger jump ring to connect the crucifix
How to Make Your Own Rosary
- Create the five decades of beads
First, cut 53 same-length pieces of wire, one for each decadal bead. Each piece of wire should be long enough to create a loop on each end. For each piece of wire, make a loop at one end using your rosary or round-nose pliers. Insert the straight end of the wire through the hole in the bead, and then make another loop identical to that on the other side.
Rather than cutting individual pieces of wire, an easier method is to use eye pins, which are already cut to size and have a loop on one end. Simply insert the straight end of the eye pin through the bead and then form a loop on its end, as described above.
Once you have constructed all 53 bead segments, join them together, using your flat-nose pliers to open, connect and close the loops at either end of each bead. Repeat this process 50 times, joining 10 beads together into each of five segments or decades. Join the remaining decadal beads into a single group of three beads. This group of beads will be used in the last step to connect the crucifix to the rest of the rosary.
- Connect the separator beads to the decades
For the six separator beads, cut six same-length pieces of wire as described above. As in the previous step, each piece of wire should be long enough to create identical loops on both ends of each bead. The length of wire will depend on the size of the separator beads chosen. Eye pins may be substituted for the wire.
Cut 14 segments of chain (3-4 links each) to connect all parts of the rosary together. Twist open the loops on the ends of each separator bead, add a chain segment on each end of the bead and close the loop. Connect the free end of each chain segment to one end of a decadal segment made in the previous step. Continue this process until all five decadal segments are connected to the separator beads. This step will use four of the six separator beads and 10 of the 14 pieces of chain.
- Connect the medallion and crucifix
The medallion or “center” has two holes on either side of its upper end and one hole on its lower end. Connect one small jump ring to each of the three holes in the medallion. Add a segment of chain to each of the upper two jump rings and connect the free end of each chain segment to opposite ends of the single strand of beads assembled in the previous two steps. You will now have a complete circle of rosary beads connected by the medallion.
The crucifix is connected to the medallion and circle of beads with another short string of beads. First, attach one of the four remaining segments of chain to the small jump ring already connected to the bottom end of the medallion. Connect the free end of this chain segment to one separator bead, followed by a second chain segment, then the three-bead segment created in step 1, followed by a third chain segment, another separator bead and finally the fourth (and last remaining) chain segment.
Attach the free end of the last chain segment to the hole at the top of the crucifix using the large jump ring. Make sure the face of the crucifix and front of the medallion are oriented in the same direction.
Making your own rosary can be a spiritual and rewarding experience, and they make a unique and heartfelt religious gift.