Mala making has been gaining immense popularity in recent years among young people. Some utilize it to be a part of the thriving digital small business community, while some do it entirely for recreation.
A mala, when fitted with the right gemstone, is also believed to help one with meditation practice, healing, and progressing on their spiritual journey. If you are trying to make the perfect mala at home, we have just the right cords for you.
In this article, you will get to know about the best cord for mala making. For your convenience, we have only picked products that are affordable, versatile, resilient, and go with almost every design.
Types of Cords for Mala Making
Before we jump into our top five cords for necklace malas, let’s check out the primary types of cord materials available in the market.
Nylon is one of the most popular threads among mala makers. It’s best known for its unparalleled strength and durability. Nylon is also a pretty affordable option, especially if you are buying by the spool.
If you want more options in terms of colors, nylon is an excellent choice for you. Not only do you get countless original colors, but you can also easily dye them with protein-based dyes to match your design.
Silk is another popular option among mala makers. Although it’s slightly costlier compared to Nylon, its strength and shine make it worth every penny. Being biodegradable, it’s often preferred by staunch supporters of sustainable products.
It’s also preferred by people making mala for spiritual or healing purposes. Silk is believed to have magical correspondence with the five elements of life and is expert at trapping energy.
3. Waxed Linen
If you’re looking for something a little more luxurious and glossy, waxed linen is a great choice. Linen is a popular fiber known for its tensile strength, smooth texture, breathability, and ability to manage your body temperature.
Polyester cords are perfect for mala makers looking for something strong and colorful but on a budget. It’s not as strong as nylon or silk but is certainly the cheapest.
Also, most polyester cords have a glossy texture and are available in multiple colors. The only major downside to polyester cords is they are way too slippery, which makes it difficult for you to make knots that will keep the beads in place.
Four Common Beading Mistakes to Avoid
Having the right tools and equipment is undoubtedly the first step to creating the perfect mala. But if you are a beginner, watch out for these four rookie mistakes:
1. Splitting Mala Cords
Most threads used in mala making consist of several layers of the fabric interwoven together. If you accidentally pass the needle through it, the fabric bond will weaken. Once the thread is damaged, it gets a lot harder to fix mistakes. A small split in the mala thread might also rise and spread to the entire length, making the whole set go to waste.
Splits usually happen when you try to fix mistakes by going backward. The best way to fix errors while beading is to remove the needle and gently pull the thread out. Also, try to pass the needles through the bead holes as far as possible from the previous stitch to prevent splitting the thread.
2. Incorrect Thread Tension
Thread tension determines the ultimate look of your mala. It basically refers to how tight or loose the stitch around each bead is. If the thread tension is too high, your beads will curl up and become too rigid. On the other hand, if the thread tension is too low, there will be plenty of gaps between the beads where the thread will be clearly visible. The only way to get the perfect thread tension is by practice.
Also, it’s better to have a loose, floppy bead than a tight thread tension which cannot be fixed once the beads are ready. For the same reason, it is always recommended to start gently and tighten the threads as needed.
3. Using Too Much Thread
The most common rookie mistake beginners often make is using too much thread for beading. The notion is to have more than enough to complete the whole design. While this might sound like a good idea, it might complicate things. The more thread you have, the more it will get tangled and knotted up.
Also, long sections of threads will be pulled more often while stitching in the beads. The constant pressure of pulling, along with frequent tangling and untangling, can weaken the integrity of the cord, making the whole design fragile.
4. Using the Wrong Beads
When you start beading, the initial excitement might make you want to try every bead you can get your hands on to create a new design. While this motivation can help you perfect the skill, it might not always work.
It’s ill-advised to use random beads to create a design. Only specific shapes and sizes will work together in harmony. Without the right synchronization, the beads might not lay flat or stay in whatever shape you desire.
The most classic example of this phenomenon is the loom beadwork, which only works with Japanese cylinder beads. Trying this design with any other bead will only end up in a mess.
Top Five Best Cords for Mala Making
Here are our top five picks for the best cords for mala making:
This bead cord is made from natural cotton, meaning it’s light and breezy yet strong. The added layer of natural wax prevents the possibility of fraying. The cord is long and resilient and evenly thick throughout its length. Available in more than 16 shades, it’s best for those that want to experiment with multiple colors.
The best part about this bead cord is that it’s 100% waterproof and non-slippery. You can also pull it as much as you want without worrying about weakening the thread. Its chemical-free composition and zero odor lock make it easy to work with.
Also, you can use this cotton cord any way you like. It’s highly versatile and can be used in beading, lacing, knotting, jewelry making, etc.
- Dimensions: 2.01 x 2.01 x 2.01 inches of cord
- Weight: 0.64 ounces
- Colors: 16 options
- Material: Cotton
This spool of nylon bead cord is approximately 45m long and 0.8mm thick. One of the best things about this cord is that it’s highly resilient. After all, nylon is one of the most robust known fabrics in beading, which is resistant to every kind of pulling and knotting, even the most complicated one used in Chinese knotting.
It’s available in 14 colors, of which one is a multi-color option where you get different colors in one spool. The colors do not fade easily whether you use the final product indoors or outdoors. The texture of the threads is slightly glossy and is immune to fraying.
What makes this cord immaculate is that its thread is neither too rigid nor too slippery. It has the perfect grip on your beads for the mala, which will make stitching the design a breeze.
- Dimensions: 2.05 x 2.05 x 1.77 inches
- Weight: 1.12 ounces
- Colors: 14 options
- Material: Nylon
If you are looking for something a little thicker that can withstand the pressure of complex knotting techniques like Chinese knotting, try this nylon, double-braided cord by Konmay.
The double braiding makes the cord much thicker and stronger than the other options on our list. Apart from that, the thread is non-stretchable, which helps you retain the original structure of your jewelry pieces or mala.
It’s also resistant to moisture and does not absorb sweat, and the ends can be sealed with a light flame to prevent fraying. It’s one of the few products that offer multiple thickness options ranging from 0.4mm to 1.8mm.
Approximately 280m long, one spool of this odorless nylon cord is enough to complete multiple beading projects.
- Dimensions: 3.15 x 3.15 x 3.15 inches
- Weight: 7.6 ounces
- Color: Black
- Material: Nylon
The best thing about this black nylon cord by Arricraft is that it’s convenient to work with. The thread is non-stretchy and has a firm grip on the beads. Once stitched into a bead, it won’t slip out. You can also melt the ends of the thread over a light frame to make beading even easier.
Each pack consists of one spool that’s about 450 ft. long and 0.5mm thick. As you can see, a single pack is enough to complete several projects.
The spool is made of plastic, which makes storage convenient and prevents the thread from knotting or tangling up during storage. A lot of buyers also find this cord to be sturdy and durable. And just like most other quality nylon threads, it does not fray.
Along with making mala, you can also use this versatile nylon cord for making decor items like dreamcatchers or other jewelry pieces.
- Dimensions: 3 x 2.5 x 2.5 inches
- Weight: 1.44 ounces
- Color: Black
- Material: Nylon
Looking for an extra thick, twisted nylon thread? This product is for you. Each pack comes with one spool of 70.4m of twisted nylon thread with a 0.5mm thickness. One spool is enough to help you cover a considerable number of projects each month.
Also, twisting makes a greater length of thread condense into one, compact unit with an even diameter, which automatically increases its tensile strength. This means it will require a much larger amount of force to damage or tear up this nylon cord.
The cord is strong enough to endure summer heat without weakening. Also, since the spools are not too big, it’s much easier to store them.
- Dimensions: 3.75 x 2.7 x 1.32 inches
- Weight: 0.8 ounces
- Color: White
- Material: Nylon
Not sure which of these is the best cord for mala making? No worries. Here’s a quick recap on the best features of our top five mala cords. Take a look and find your perfect match:
- If you are looking for a strong and resilient cotton cord for your mala with multiple color options, try Mandala Crafts Jewelry Making Macramé Waxed Cotton Cord Thread.
- If you are looking for black nylon threads, both KONMAY Nylon Shamballa Macramé/Beading Cord, Chinese Knotting Cord, and Arricraft Nylon Black Cord for Chinese Knotting, Beading, Macramé, & Jewelry Making are great.
- If you are looking for more color options in a nylon thread, try 0.8mm Nylon Cord, Thread Chinese Knot Macrame Rattail Bracelet Braided String
- If you are looking for a simple white, nylon, twisted thread for smaller projects, go for BeadSmith XCR-4248 Super-Lon Cord 18 Twisted Nylon Spool.
All of the threads listed above meet industry standards of quality and strength. So irrespective of which one you pick, your mala designs are going to be a hit!
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