Now that I had a goal in mind - making a set of prayer beads dedicated to a Deity, specifically Artemis - I could begin thinking a bit more on design specifics. I wanted to make something simple and small, about the length of a loose bracelet, something that could easily fit into a pocket. I also knew that I wanted to include a rosary style drop pendant.
I had a large green and gold glass bead in my craft box that I decide to use for the pendant, rather than a charm. Keeping this in mind, I visited the local craft store. There I found some green-brown beads with black marbling. The coloring reminded me of the forests and mountains sacred to Artemis. I wrapped the strand of beads around my hand to see if it would give the length I desired - it was a little short, but I wanted to include some smaller beads as well, so it would work out. I also spent a bit of time touching and holding the beads, making sure they felt nice to the touch, and didn't have any little defects that would distract me from my prayers/meditation.
I picked up some small bronze-gold spacer beads, which I thought would go well with the gold on my focal bead. I like to include the smaller spacer beads because I find it helps me feel the break between each bead a little better. I'd also need something to string the beads on, and chose some 10lb hemp cord.
When I got home I set my design and began to string it. I cut off a good amount of cord, several inches more than I thought I'd need (this helps with making the final knot).
I began with the main part of my prayer beads, which was just a simple pattern of spacer bead, large bead, spacer, large, etc. I began and ended with a spacer bead, as these would be the ends that would eventually come to the drop down. (The cord was stiff, so I did not require a needle or anything special to string it. Be sure to consider the size of the holes in the beads when picking a stringing material!)
With the main section finished, I brought both ends of the string together and slipped a bronze bead down both strands. This is the beginning of the drop.
Here you can see the loop of beads, being brought together by a bronze bead with both strands running though it.
Next I added a few more bronze beads, and finally the focal bead, again stringing them through both strands at the same time.
Finally I tied a knot at the base of the focal bead, and cut off the excess cord. I dabbed a bit of super glue all over the knot to help secure it. Bead stores sell special glue for this, and school glue works as well. I've also been told a dab of clear nail polish can help. A very tight and secure knot can also stand alone.
That's it, my beads were made and ready to be cleansed and dedicated to use in the worship of and meditation on the Goddess Artemis. All in all, the project cost me around $13 - although $5 of that went to the cord, which I have plenty of for future projects now (as well as having a number of the bronze beads left). It's an inexpensive project that's not hard to do, but can be very rewarding in the end.
Again, this is just one of many uses/designs, so expect a few more how to guides in the future.