Mala and T-shirt Necklace

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T-shirt and Buddhist Prayer Bead Necklace


I’d had these wooden beads in a glass jar for nearly 10 years. I’d saved them from… are you ready?… a pair of flip-flops. Yes, that rubber part that keeps them on your feet? They were covered in these beads. They were cute, but ridiculously uncomfortable and therefore unwearable. Just recently it occurred to me to show them to my Taiwanese friend to find out if the characters meant anything or not and she told me that they’re mala beads, or Buddhist prayer beads for a Buddhist rosary! On flip flops, go figure!

T-shirt and Buddhist Prayer Bead Necklace


I thought I could make a necklace from these beads with t-shirt yarn. Originally I wanted to make it like the first t-shirt necklace here, but then I remembered this refashioning fail from the same general time period.

T-shirt and Buddhist Prayer Bead Necklace


In my attempt to make something somewhat wearable, I’d cut pratically the whole shirt into strips. Once I’d given up, I stuffed it in a box of future refashions, awaiting inspiration. The Buddhist prayer beads provided it.

T-shirt and Buddhist Prayer Bead Necklace

There was only this central part keeping the strips together.

T-shirt and Buddhist Prayer Bead Necklace


So I cut through it to make lots of separate strips. Having cut the two sides of strips at two different times, they weren’t properly lined up, so some of these new strips are Y-shaped.

T-shirt and Buddhist Prayer Bead Necklace

Using a thicker needle, I pulled the strips through the beads, usually using two or three beads per strip.

T-shirt and Buddhist Prayer Bead Necklace


Then I made some knots to keep them in place, trying to vary their positioning along the strips. Here are a few different ways that I knotted the strips.

T-shirt and Buddhist Prayer Bead Necklace


I used the same old trick of gently pulling the strips to lengthen them and make them roll up. I joined the ends all up and sewed them together. I did the same with the remaining strips, but sewing the second set of ends further inwards to make it shorter. This second part is the back of the necklace. (If I’d made the necklace as I’d originally thought, the strips would’ve been long enough to go around my neck, but these ones weren’t because of how I’d initially cut them. That’s why I had to make them longer.)

T-shirt and Buddhist Prayer Bead Necklace

Here are the sewn ends. You need to cut off the excess fabric close to the stitching.

T-shirt and Buddhist Prayer Bead Necklace


I joined the front and back ends to make a loop and sewed them together.

T-shirt and Buddhist Prayer Bead Necklace


The stitching didn’t look very nice, so I took four scrap strips left over from when I trimmed the back part of the necklace and wrapped two around each seam, hot glueing them down. (The thickness of all those strips wouldn’t made it too complicated to sew.)

T-shirt and Buddhist Prayer Bead Necklace


And there’s my lovely Buddhist necklace made from two items destined for the trash can! You can see it in Day 1 and Day 17 of my Me-Made-May’13 challenge. I feel a little blasphemous using these beads like this, but in the end it’s always better than on flip-flops!

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21 Responses

  1. complimenti, è un ottimo risultato

  2. Ti suggerisco di togliere le parole di verifica, quelli come me che hanno problemi agli occhi rischiano di non commentare perché diventa lungo e complicato

  3. Ciao Daniela, grazie! Non so più come fare con le parole di verifica. Le ho tolte più volte, ma da subito cominciano ad arrivare commenti di spam a tutta forza, decine al giorno. Ma non voglio bloccare tutti i commenti anonimi perché c'è gente senza account che vorrebbe commentare a volte e non vorrei bloccare loro. E non voglio mettere la moderazione dei commenti perché a me piace quando vedo subito che venga pubblicato un mio commento altrove. Almeno hanno migliorato le parole di verifica, nel senso che sono un po' più facili da decifrare rispetto a prima, che erano davvero impossibili!!

  4. Grandiosa! Un'ottimo riciclo, usando poi già un precedente riciclo! 😛 Sei troppo creativa!! un abbraccio

  5. …e dopo averla addocchiata sia su Pinterest che su FB dovevo proprio passare a complimentarmi!

  6. I love this! Thankyou!

    Lisa 🙂

  7. Sempre geniale!

  8. Infatti, sono molto soddisfatta di non aver dovuto buttato via quel orrore che avevo combinato l'anno scorso! 🙂

  9. Haha! Non si può mai esaggerare col fare complimenti: fa sempre piacere a chi riceve!! Grazie mille!

  10. Thanks for stopping by, Lisa!

  11. Mi lusinghi! 🙂

  12. Bellissima!
    Hai fatto un ottimo lavoro Lisa!

  13. Grazie Phoebe, soprattutto per la visita quando sarai sicuramente molto impegnata! 🙂

  14. I love the IDEA of t-shirt necklaces but up until I saw your refashion here have never liked how they actually turned out. It was adding the beads that made this one stand out.


  1. […] This beautiful necklace actually began as a t-shirt. Mom is sure to adore the necklace, whatever her fashion style and you will find it so easy to make that you just won’t believe it. You will need an old t-shirt in whatever color you want or you could use several shirts and do a multi-colored necklace as well. The beads really make it look stylish. This is a great gift for younger Moms or just anyone who loves fashion and adores being unique. DIY Instructions – Cucicucicoo […]

  2. […] If you liked this T-shirt bracelets tutorial, make sure to check out my beaded T-shirt necklace DIY! […]

  3. […] Using some beads and an old t shirt cut into fringes this lovely necklace has been yielded and so you can make it easily yourself at home and gift it to your mom on the mother’s day special and let her flaunt it in style and feel young again. Here is the full tutorial of it cucicucicoo […]

  4. […] Necklace from a t-shirt and upcycled beads (Pin it here) […]

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