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  • Writer's pictureMicha Strauss

prayer wheels and the different designs we developed over the years

today we will show here all the different styles of prayer wheels we have come up with over the years and how we perfected the art of "finding" the right design to make it as easy and comfortable to spin. after all, prayer wheels should be easy and comfortable to spin for long periods of time.


first of all I wish to start by saying that H.E. Garchen Rinpoche told us once that it is better to spin a medium size prayer wheel than a large size one. the reason is that a medium size prayer wheel is easier to spin over long periods of time as apposed to a large size prayer wheel which is much heavier. spinning a prayer wheel for a longer period of time gives you much more concentration of mind and resting in this state as Rinpoche has stated, this is much more important than spinning a large prayer wheel (with more mantras inside) for a shorter period of time. the first prayer wheel we have ever made was this prototype. I still had no idea as of to what kind of design of prayer wheels I will make in time...

hand held Tibetan wooden prayer wheel with microfilm printed mantras
our very first prayer wheel ever made! this was the prototype that started it all

later on, when my mind started to wonder and think "I want to craft more prayer wheels!" I started to think of designs... since I had no prior experience in working with wood, I had no idea of what kind of design to come up with but started to play with this thought.


the second prayer wheel I crafted was already in a different style. this is a photo of this second prayer wheel and its design

wooden Tibetan prayer wheel
prayer wheel design number 2#

this prayer wheel (second one ever made) is owned by my brother Omri. it was my "artistic" attempt at crafting a prayer wheel that is not so straight but has some angles to it. it is still in use by my brother. it was crafted around Feb of 2009.



the third prayer wheel made and its design was another attempt of becoming better and making our prayer wheels lighter in weight and easier to spin. this prayer wheel number 3# was requested by my late dear mom who wanted a colorful prayer wheel and asked Ayelet to do her magic on it (this is the first "artistic" prayer wheel we have made)

this design would later become the corner stone of our "retro" design we use for our small size hand held prayer wheels

one of a kind Tibetan wooden hand held prayer wheel
prayer wheel design number 3# became my mom's first prayer wheel

prayer wheel number 4# would be my first attempt at crafting a very small size prayer wheel for the young daughter of a dear friend. this started the idea of crafting small size prayer wheels and is still being done today, only in a different design.


a tiny hand held wooden Tibetan prayer wheel
prayer wheel design number 4#

prayer wheel design number 5# was the first "classic" design I have crafted and it became a gift to Phakchok Rinpoche. this prayer wheel was made around May of 2009. Rinpoche loved his new prayer wheel and later on requested another one to be made for him.


Tibetan wooden prayer wheels for sale
prayer wheel design number 5# was given as an offering to Phakchok Rinpoche

prayer wheel design number 6# was an upgrade on number 5# which started the "classic" design era which lasted for years. this prayer wheel was requested by my late older brother Lior Strauss to whom I owe all my Buddhist exposure. my older brother was the one who turned my interest to Buddhism in the fist place sometime in the year 2001 when he gave me a book on Zen Buddhism. Lior asked for this prayer wheel to be made for him


wooden Tibetan prayer wheels
prayer wheel design number 6# given to my late brother Lior Strauss

prayer wheel design number 7# was my attempt at crafting the very first large size hand held prayer wheel. I crafted it in the "retro" prayer wheel design and it came out amazing but being novice prayer wheel makers we made a mistake on it and drilled the counterbalance stone's hook between the wrong syllables and it stayed here in the studio with us to remind us that as humans, we will always make mistakes... I love this prayer wheel, it reminds me of our prayer wheel journey and what we went through over the years. it spins perfectly like all prayer wheels made even after all these years...


Tibetan prayer wheels
prayer wheel design number 7#

prayer wheel design number 8# was the return of the "retro" design. I wanted to try and refine and perfect this design because I was still thinking at that time that it will be the best design so I had to try and perfect it. over time I came to realize that the "classic" design would be a better one and would be preferred by our customers, but this number 8# design came out to teach me to continue and try to play with other prayer wheel designs...


hand held wooden Tibetan prayer wheels
prayer wheel design number 8#. what would later become our "retro" design

prayer wheel design number 9# would be my attempt at crafting a "classic" design but with different angles, what would never continue and become a kind of a prototype design that was never continued, just another special designs that did not make it out of the studio. it was given to Lior's wife Rita and is still in use to this day. a very interesting design I must say!


custom Tibetan prayer wheels
prayer wheel design number 9#

prayer wheel design number 10# was my attempt to craft a medium size hand held prayer wheel but made from a wood type I had never worked with before, Mahogany. so, I tried to craft a new design for it. eventually it became the prayer wheel of Phakchok Rinpoche's translator. at this point in time I was starting to hone down the design and the "classic" design was about to be born and rule over for many years


custom hand held prayer wheels
prayer wheel design number 10#

prayer wheel design number 11# was the birth of the "classic" design of our prayer wheels and it would rule for many years of prayer wheel crafting. of course that this prayer wheel was requested by my late mom who loved it so much! now that she has passed away this prayer wheel was given to my mom's neighbors and friends of many many years to cherish and hold and to always remind them of my mom and her love for our prayer wheels.


hand held prayer wheels
prayer wheel design number 11# and the birth of our "classic" design

the next prayer wheel design was a step up! this prayer wheel was made after 6 years of crafting prayer wheels! most made in the "classic" prayer wheel design. this was my first ever "artistic" prayer wheel on my end as a wood turner! to craft a prayer wheel design that has freedom of thought... what is so special about this prayer wheel design? well, only the drum rotates! the caps do not! this gives you a special option of spinning the prayer wheel while it is resting on your hand... it gives you the option of opening your fingers a little bit after a long time of holding on to the prayer wheel's handle... to rest your fingers while the prayer wheel is still spinning while resting on your hand. this was such a revolutionary design that we named it "Version 2.0" or V2.0 for short.

I had this design stuck in my mind for so long and one day I realized that I know how to do it! this prototype is owned by me! I still have it and spin it from time to time. it is still spinning perfectly after all these years! it was crafted around April of 2015. since I was so eager to hold and spin it I had no patience to have Ayelet do some artwork on it and requested that she does nothing on it and we can close it up so I can spin it already!! impatient little boy...

this was the start of crafting prayer wheels that are different in design and style after more than 2600+ years of making prayer wheels in one style and design...



one of a kind masterpiece prayer wheel
prayer wheel design number 12# which got its name "Version 2.0"

next and last is our spherical prayer wheel design. this was our biggest leap in crafting prayer wheels. this design was born as a necessity to help a customer who was bed ridden and wanted a prayer wheel to spin in bed. that made me think of a spherical prayer wheel! later on after this first spherical tabletop prayer wheel was crafted for her, I had to try and craft a spherical hand held but that turned out to not be as easy as I thought... it took me several more months of trial and error till I got it figured out! once the first one was made I started to play with the design till I got it perfect and that is our signature spherical prayer wheel design, what later lead to the globe prayer wheel design that became one of our most sold prayer wheels over time, the world peace prayer wheel!

there is something very special about this round prayer wheel, not just how it looks, but to spin it is the most amazing feeling. it is so easy to spin! and over time, this design is the easiest and most comfortable to hold and spin over time. I am so happy that I struggled with it till I got it right!

spherical prayer wheel
prayer wheel design number 13# - our signature spherical prayer wheel design


H.E. Garchen Rinpoche and his very own spherical world peace prayer wheel he asked us to craft for him
H.E. Garchen Rinpoche and his very own spherical world peace prayer wheel he asked us to craft for him

around the year 2019 we were asked to craft a prayer wheel design that was not ours. this design was created by H.E. Garchen Rinpoche and was made by one of his students and sold over the world. we did turn the customer who asked for it to the other prayer wheel maker who crafted them but he became unavailable and we started to receive many requests for this design. we turned to Rinpoche for advice and Rinpoche's answer was very straight forward: "you should craft this prayer wheel design for practitioners. it will benefit them and you"

so, we wrote an email to explain this chain of events to the prayer wheel maker who crafted this design for his customers and his response was: "please go ahead and use this design. no problem. what has merit needs to be shared"

so, this design is now being crafted by us too, but it is not ours so it is named by its creator "the H.E. Garchen Rinpoche's prayer wheel design"


H.E. Garchen Rinpche's prayer wheel deisgn
H.E. Garchen Rinpche's prayer wheel deisgn


and of course there are the tabletop prayer wheels and their designs, but that is for another post :-)



thank you all for your support over the years! because of all of you, we get to do what we love most! craft prayer wheels!


much love,

Micha & Ayelet


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