Sunday, January 24, 2021

Making Malas - How to Choose Cord Colors

A while ago I wrote a post with step by step instructions on how to make Malas. This was after getting a lot of requests on the best cords to use to make Malas and how to make the tassels. Go to the post HERE. Friday, I got a phone call asking me about color choices for a Mala with Rose Quartz, and it requires some follow up and a few tests... so I may as well share this with everyone.

These tests are a great way to choose colors. In addition, they will confirm that the cord size chosen for stringing the beads and knotting between the beads is the correct size. 

The size of the knots in between the beads need to be just right. The knots need to be large enough to keep the beads separated, but if they are too small, they may partially disappear into the bead holes. If they are too large, they take over visually.  

As a rule of thumb, use the standard C-Lon Bead Cord doubled over for 8mm and 10mm gemstone beads, and use C-Lon Fine Weight Bead Cord (that's the Tex 135 with a 0.4mm diameter) doubled over for 6mm gemstone beads. If you use wood or metal beads it gets more complicated as there is not really a standard hole size for these beads, so testing becomes even more crucial. 

Here are my tests:

Making Malas - How to Choose Colors and Cord Sizes

The cord for stringing the beads and knotting in between is the standard size of C-Lon Bead Cord (the Tex 210 with a 0.5mm diameter). The colors are from top to bottom: FL French Lilac, PTL Petal, and AP Apricot. 

The rose quartz 10mm gemstone beads I happen to have are a bit milky so they do not show the bead holes. Other rose quartz beads I have had in the past have been more transparent. French Lilac may have shown as a dark line at the center of the bead, and Apricot may have added a yellow glow to the rose quartz I may not have wanted. 

Making Malas - How to Choose Colors and Cord Sizes

As for the choices for the tassel color, I chose to go with Chinese Knotting Cord Size E, or New E, as the tassel will be large and require about 50 yd of cord. For these tests, from top to bottom, I chose Chinese Knotting Cord Size E: E-415 French Lilac, NewE-312 Pink Blossom, E-320 Bubblegum, and E-941 Pale Coral. 

Other good choices for tassels include the next size up of Chinese Knotting Cord (Size F), silks such as Kanagawa or Fujix Tire, or Griffin Jewelry Silk on spools. 

Links & References: 

–> DIY Instruction on Making Malas with a Tassel

–> C-Lon Bead Cord

–> Chinese Knotting Cord Size E or New E

–> Matching C-Lon with Chinese Knotting Cord and Silks