How to Make Greek Worry Beads

Written by helen sterling
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Greek worry beads, or komboloi, consist of a set of large beads threaded on a cord, with holes large enough to allow the beads to slide freely back and forth. They usually have some sort of decorative bead and a tassel at the end as well. While the worry beads resemble prayer beads, they hold no religious significance and are used as stress relievers. They are flicked back and forth in the hand with a characteristic repetitive movement, which clicks the beads together in a soothing, rhythmic motion.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Cord, 1mm diameter, approximately 24 to 28 inches, in any material desired
  • 13mm to 15mm decorative beads, centre holes larger than 1mm (see Tips)
  • Decorative metal spacers (optional)
  • 3-hole bead, approximately 20mm by 18mm
  • Nickel-plated cord tip, 3mm inside diameter
  • Wire cutters
  • Nail file or sandpaper
  • Tassel with loop attachment at top
  • Chain-nose pliers

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  1. 1

    Determine the length of cord needed by wrapping the cord around your open palm twice and cutting the cord to that length. Typical lengths of cord are 20 to 24 inches.

  2. 2

    String the beads on the cord. Add decorative metal spacers, if desired, between the larger beads.

  3. 3

    String one end of the cord through one hole at the top of the three-hole heart bead and out the bottom hole. Repeat with the other strand of cord, going through the second hole at the top of the heart bead.

  4. 4

    Clip off the eye portion of the cord tip with the wire cutters. File the rough edge with a nail file or sandpaper.

  5. 5

    Thread the cords from the bottom of the three-hole bead through the loop of the tassel. Lay the two cords from the tassel side by side with the main cords in the cord tip. Fold the cord tip over the cords from the tassel loop and the main cords. Crimp with the chain-nose pliers. Carefully clip any loose ends of cord close to the cord tip without cutting the main cord.

Tips and warnings

  • Komboloi usually consist of an odd number of beads based on even groupings of four plus one—for example, 17 (four groups of four plus one). The number of beads you choose to use in your komboloi is a personal choice. Just make sure there is enough empty cord left for the beads to have room to move freely.

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