How To Make A Beacon In Minecraft

Beacons are a powerful endgame item in Minecraft. They have the benefit of not only acting as location markers that can be spotted from extremely far away, but they also provide a powerful status effect in a specific area. Due to this, beacons are one of the most popular rare blocks in the game, despite how time-consuming it is to get one.


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The game doesn’t explain how beacons are best used and activated. Even after a beacon block has been crafted, creating a foundation for them is quite resource-heavy and expensive. That’s why it’s even more important to know how beacons work, where they should ideally be placed, and what shape and size the foundation for a maximum power beacon should be.

Updated October 22, 2023 by Jacqueline Zalace: Beacons can still be a bit hard to obtain, especially if it’s your first time playing Minecraft. We’ve updated the formatting of this guide to help you find what you are looking for. Additionally, we’ve added some information on summoning the Wither, making the process go smoothly.


How To Craft A Beacon

Minecraft Beacon Crafting Recipe

The first step is to craft the beacon block itself. You can craft as many as you like in the world, so long as you have the materials for it. Here’s what you’ll need exactly for a single beacon block:

  • 5x Glass
  • 3x Obsidian
  • 1x Nether Star

Glass can be easily acquired by smelting sand in a furnace. Obsidian is mined with a diamond pickaxe from a still lava surface that has come into contact with water. Both of these are fairly easy to get, but the Nether Star is a different story.

How To Get A Nether Star

Two Wither Skeletons in a Nether Fortress

In order to get the Nether Star, you must defeat the Wither, which is a boss mob in the game. This itself is a long process; below you can check out each step you will need to complete to defeat the Wither and obtain a Nether Star.

Obtaining Wither Skeleton Heads

Summoning the Wither requires you to first have three Wither Skeleton heads, which are a random and rare drop from Wither Skeletons, most commonly found in Nether fortresses.

Using a Looting III sword makes the drop chance slightly higher.

To obtain these skulls, you can either wander through a Nether Fortress or set up your own Wither Skeleton Farm. Wither Skeletons are three blocks tall, so if you are scared to get too close, you can place blocks to form a barrier. This will allow you to pass under, but Wither Skeletons won’t be able to.

Summoning The Wither

Minecraft wither body with heads

After you have three Wither Skeleton heads, gather four pieces of soul sand, typically found in the Soul Sand Valley biome in the Nether. Place the soul sand in a T-shape, either on the ground or upright, and put down the skeleton heads on the horizontal, top part of the T-shape to summon the Wither.

You can see the layout to summon the Wither in the image above. Be sure to clear out any grass that may be underneath the ‘arms’ of the shape; this will cause the summoning to not occur. After defeating him, he will drop a Nether Star, which can immediately be turned into a beacon.

Fighting the Wither is not an easy task, and will require quite a bit of preparation. The bottom line is that you shouldn’t summon him just anywhere and certainly not near your house or any other structure you’re particularly fond of.

We suggest heading to bedrock and carving out an ‘arena’ where you can fight this boss.

What Are Beacons Made Out Of?

Minecraft Beacon Effects

The beacon block itself isn’t enough to function on its own. In order to work, the beacon must be placed on top of a pyramid-shaped foundation or base, made entirely of full blocks of ores. The beacon block must also have access to the sky, no matter how deep it is placed.

You can make the base out of the following block types.

  • Iron Ingots
  • Gold Ingots
  • Diamonds
  • Emeralds
  • Netherite Ingots

If you are looking to make a cheap beacon, stick with iron. If you happen to have an efficient Villager trading system, you can also use emeralds.

How Many Blocks Are In A Beacon?

Minecraft Beacon Each Layer Size

To reach the maximum power of the beacon, it should ideally have four levels built, with the beacon placed on top, in the center block of a 3×3 area, which is the top layer of the beacon base.

For a full pyramid with four layers, here’s how big every layer should be, as well as how many blocks you will need.

Layer (From Bottom)

Block Dimensions

Blocks Needed

Ore (Total for All Blocks)

Layer 1

9×9

81

729

Layer 2

7×7

49

441

Layer 3

5×5

25

225

Layer 4

3×3

9

81

Total

164

1,476

You can build a beacon with all four layers, or you can make it a bit smaller. For example, rather than having a 9×9 base, you can have a three-layer beacon with a 7×7 base. Remember, the beacon block is always placed on top of the first layer, above the center block of the 3×3 area.

While a beacon will also function with just a 3×3 layer, in order to get a secondary status effect, it’s recommended to invest in and build a quadruple-layered pyramid for maximum benefits.

Beacon Powers

Minecraft Beacon Interface

Beacons that have three layers or less will only come with primary status effects, meaning they only introduce one specific power while you are in range. If you’ve built a fourth layer, you’ll get to also pick a secondary status effect, making the beacon even more powerful.

To set the beacon’s powers, right-click on it to bring up the interface. In order to start using it, it must be given either a Netherite ingot, an emerald, diamond, gold ingot, or an iron ingot. This is not dependent on the material used to build the pyramid. This needs to be done every time the status effects are altered.

Below, you can find all five powers, and what they do.

Power

Description

Availability

Strength

Melee Damage Increased

Three-Leveled Pyramid Required

Speed

Increase Movement Speed

Any Pyramid Size

Haste

Mine Faster

Any Pyramid Size

Resistance

Decreased Damage Taken

Two-Leveled Pyramid Required

Jump Boost

Jump Higher

Two-Leveled Pyramid Required

Regeneration

Regenerate Health

Secondary Power with a Four-Leveled Pyramid

Beacon Range

beacon with a netherite base

The range of a beacon depends on its size. The larger your beacon, the farther the range will be. As expected, the beacon size with the farthest range is the version with four pyramid layers.

Here, you can check out the range of each beacon size. These powers will linger for a few seconds, which also depends on the size; we’ve included this information as well.

Layers

Range

Duration (After Leaving Range)

1

20 blocks

11 seconds

2

30 blocks

13 seconds

3

40 blocks

15 seconds

4

50 blocks

17 seconds

By 20 blocks, we mean 20 blocks in all four cardinal directions from the beacon. So, if you have a beacon with one layer at the coordinates X= 0, Y= 0, then the range of the beacon will stretch from X= -20 to 20 and Y= -20 to 20. This is essentially a 40 by 40 chunk of land.

This range stretches upward, with no limit. This means that if you build your beacon at bedrock, you will receive powers going upwards as far as possible.

Efficient Beacon Setup

Rather than having several beacons that line up with each other, try spacing them out a bit. For example, if you are using beacons for Speed or Haste, you can spread them out to cover more ground. By the time the lingering effects start to wear off, you will already be in the range of the next beacon.

Of course, if you are planning to work in this space, then it’s best to have the beacon ranges line up.

Beacon Variants And Colors

Minecraft Colorful Beacons

Beacons also come in variants. If you’d like to build multiple beacons, for instance, it’s possible to place them all on top of the same foundation with some minor shape and size adjustments. In the case of the classic six-beacon construction, the size for each layer would be altered in the following way

Layer

Size

Layer 1

10×11

Layer 2

8×9

Layer 3

6×7

Layer 4

4×5

This allows you to have multiple powers selected at any time. The beacon ray can also be colored by placing a dyed glass block on top of the beacon block, which adds a nice element of customization.

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