A Rudraksha mala is commonly made by using five mukhi rudraksha beads, which are available easily and in different sizes. Usually 7 mm to 10 mm sizes are good to be handled by fingers. A mala for chanting of mantras, known as Jap Mala has 108+1=109 beads, although 54+1 and 27+1 beads can also be used. The +1 bead in the continuous mala is known as Meru Mani (or Meru bead) and it functions like a stopper while counting the mantras.
The jap is usually done in the following manner: As the mantra is chanted, the mala is made to rotate using middle finger and thumb. As soon the meru is reached, the mala is turned back without crossing the meru. The count is noted by different means — using a pen to write down or by keeping some loose beads on the ground. Each bead of the mala is charged with a specific letter and this procedure is known as Martrika Pratishtha. In Akshamalokaupnishad, For a general user, a rudraksha mala can be used just by following the rudraksha pooja procedure Chanting of mantras on a mala is called Jap Yog and as Lord Krishna has enunciated it in Bhagvadgita, it is the best form of yogic Practice. Jap Can be done using any mantra on Rudraksha mala.
The mala can be made using cotton, silk, silver, copper or gold. If it is thread, it can be red or black. The rudraksha beads should be strung face to face and tail to tail. The natural shape of rudraksha is such that when strung face to face and tail to tail, the beads will maintain natural distance and look balanced.
After each bead is strung, the maker should utter Om to remember the supreme lord for ending and restarting the effort. To ensure that two beads do not touch each other, use a bigger knot (knot diameter should be twice the hole diameter), in case a thread is being used. Alternatively, use metal wire loops and caps to make the bead rigid so that it does not rotate. If rudraksha bead rotates using a metal wire then the bead will get damaged due to friction of rudraksha with the metal wire.
For higher mukhi beads, which are rare and expensive, always use wool thread inside the hole of rudraksha bead even if metal wires are being used so that these do not get spoiled over a long period of time — may be several years —due to friction in case the bead becomes free.
References : Kamal N Seetha (2014) The Power Of Rudraksha