How to make cycle beads

Updated February 21, 2017

Cycle beads are used to track a woman's ovulation. Women use the beads to determine the optimal time for getting pregnant, or to indicate when a woman should abstain from sex in order to avoid getting pregnant. Cycle beads are colour coded, and work best for women whose menstrual cycle is between 26 and 32 days in length.

Count the days of your menstrual cycle. Determine the number of days from the first day of your last period to the first day of your next period. This number will determine how many beads you need. The more predictable the number is, the more accurate the beads will be, so keep track for several months.

Knot the end of the cord. Use a tight double knot to make sure that the beads do not come off.

Thread the beads in order. Start with the red bead on the bottom of the stack of beads. Follow it with six brown beads. These brown beads represent days that pregnancy is unlikely. Next, add the 12 glow-in-the-dark beads. These represent the days that pregnancy is possible to likely. Finish off the bead chain with as many brown beads as you need to have the same number of beads as you have days in your cycle. For example, if you have 31 days in your cycle, then you will need to add 12 more brown beads to show the days that pregnancy is once again unlikely.

Thread the rubber gasket onto the bead string. You will move the gasket to sit over or next to the bead that represents the day of your cycle that you are on. Move the ring each day to mark your spot in your cycle and determine whether or not you are likely to get pregnant if you have sex.

Knot the cord on the other end of the bead chain. This will keep all the beads on the cord. Now, you are ready to start tracking your fertility cycle using your cycle beads.


No birth control is entirely reliable, but a natural birth control method can be less reliable than a medical one. However, the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association found that when these beads were used appropriately and the user abstained from sex during her fertile days, the results were 95 per cent effective.

Things You'll Need

  • Bead cord
  • Red bead
  • 12 glow-in-the-dark white beads
  • 19 brown beads
  • Rubber gaskets
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