Tag Archives: wood beads

DIY Worry Beads

Many times when I am looking through a magazine or retail catalog I find items that I like, but I know I could make it myself for much less.  Thankfully, most of the time I don’t actually do it, because I would have a house full of things that I don’t really need.  But, sometimes the idea sticks and I find myself trying to replicate an item for a much lower price.

beads on cinder block

The ‘worry beads’ I made this week are actually for a friend.  I thought of her immediately when I saw them in a cb2 catalog, but the $190 price tag seemed a little over the top (they were a limited edition and are now sold out).  Worry beads, or komboloi, originate in Greece and Cyprus as a way to pass the time and relieve stress.  They are typically a small string of beads that can easily be held in both hands.  The act of moving the beads along the string and hearing them click against each other is relaxing, though some people even learn a few tricks to practice with their beads.  Traditionally, worry beads are made from coral or amber, with a tassel on the end, and a ‘shield’ to separate the two sides and allow the beads to move easily.

hanging beads

The string of worry beads I replicated were much longer (more like necklace length) than traditional beads, and were made out of wood.  The ‘shield’ consisted of three beads and there was a black tassel on the end.  I chose to make the string of beads pretty long, because we plan to hang them on the wall as a decorative piece.  

I found all of my materials at JoAnne’s Fabric:

1) wooden beads (two packages of 20 mm natural beads, and one package of colored beads). You could always paint or stain the natural beads, I just already had colored ones at home.

2) Leather craft lace (about 2 yds)

3) Drapery tie back (for the tassel)


4) Sturdy wire.

5) Embroidery thread in your choice of color(s).

After a ‘practice’ session or two, I figured out the best way to keep things connected together.  The first step is to connect the tassel to the decorative hoop above it.  I made a hoop out of several loops of wire. (Pay no attention to the already-strung beads.  I had to take them all off…)

Worry Bead Hoop


Then I wrapped the cord from the tassel around it.  While holding it all together, I began wrapping the wire and the cord with embroidery thread.  

Wrapping hoop

I kept wrapping until the whole hoop was covered in embroidery thread.  

Embroidery thread

Next, I took the leather lace and tied the center to the hoop.  It was finally time to thread the beads.  I put three beads on with both laces together, then tied it off.  

Hoop close-up

Then, separate the strands and thread the beads on each side until it is the desired length.  I tied the leather cord together at the top and it was finished!

Beads on Hook

For around $20 (with coupons) we have a fun string of worry beads that coordinates with my friend’s decor.  It is great way to add some color and natural wood accents to a wall, without taking up a lot of space.