All About Stringing Materials
The variety of stringing and bead weaving thread and jewelry wire available today is amazing. But unless you are familiar with them, knowing which type of material to choose for a jewelry project can be daunting. Here's a look at the different types and what they are used for.
Today, jewelry wire is the go-to material for most stringing projects. It is designed for stringing beads of all shapes and sizes. It is much stronger than typical stringing threads and cords. It is also fray-resistant, so designs with beads that have sharp edges, such as crystals and metal beads, will be more durable. And instead of knotting, jewelry wire is secured with crimps, which offer durability for long-lasting wear.
Jewelry wire is made up of several strands of stainless steel wire that are woven together and then coated with nylon. The stainless steel wire makes it very strong and the nylon coating protects the wire, adds to the durability and offers a smooth surface for the beads. What differs among jewelry wire is the number of wire strands used. The numbers range from 7 strands up to 49 strands. The more strands the jewelry wire is made of, the more flexible it is. Some of the jewelry wires are flexible enough to knot. They also range in diameter from very fine to heavy. So, choose the largest diameter that will fit through the bead hole sizes in the design, and will support the overall weight the design will carry.
But beyond the basics, there is an amazing array of colors and metallics available, so you can find colors to match or contrast the beads in your design or the wire itself can be the star.
For more information about jewelry wire and crimps please see our Choosing Jewelry Wire and All About Crimps pages.
Artbeads Starter Set for Bead Stringing
Artbeads Designer Jewelry Wire
Soft Touch Jewelry Wire
Soft Flex Beading Wire
Griffin Jewelry Wire
Beadalon Jewelry Wire
Silk cord is the traditional stringing material used by beaders for centuries. Used for knotted pearl and gemstone jewelry, it offers strength, flexibility and luxury. Each 100% silk bead cord has a twisted stainless steel needle at the end, so using a needle and doubling the thread is unnecessary, making it easier to go through typical small holes in pearls and gemstones. The cord is easily knotted because the thread has the correct twist. It comes in a variety of diameters and many, many colors to choose from to match your beads.
Super-Lon (S-Lon) is a nylon bead cord similar in weight and texture to upholstery thread and avoids stretching. It is great for bead crochet, micro-macrame, and stringing. It also comes in a finer weight called micro, which can be used for the same project types but on an even smaller scale.
Amiet Beading Thread by TOHO is a 100% polyester cord perfect for thread-wrapping, knotting, crochet, micro-macrame, kumhimo, and more. It is sturdy enough to use without the help of a needle and is similar in weight to regular Super-Lon. It works with beads 11/0 and larger.
For more information, checkout these:
How to Knot Pearls
How to Knot Pearls with a Clasp
Stretch Elastic Cord:
Designed for stretch jewelry, stretch elastic cords are durable and knottable and are perfect for children's as well as adult jewelry. A clasp is not needed for easy-to-make stretch bracelets; just string the beads, tie a knot, slip the bracelet over the wrist and you're done.
Elasticity and Stretch Magic are two stretch elastic brands. They are strong and knottable and have enough body that they don't require a needle for stringing on the beads.
Elonga is a unique stringing material, made up of several individual stretchy strands bonded together. It is durable and the multiple-strand construction of Elonga has an inherent safety feature; once the Elonga material starts to be cut or worn down by bead abrasion, the wearer will notice some fraying. This gives notice that restringing is necessary. Elonga does require a needle for threading. It is a great material for barefoot sandals as well as other jewelry designs where stretch is desired.
All of these stretch materials come in a variety of diameters and are clear or white in color.
After creating a knot in your elastic cord, you need to glue it with cement glue or clear nail polish to keep it secured. You can also place the knot in a bead before the glue dries out, to make it stick to the bead.
While some manufacturers say it is acceptable to use crimp tubes with elastic products, we do not recommend ever using crimps on anything but jewelry wire. The elastic products are porous and can easily wear through. The blunt ends of crimp tubes and beads can work through those types of materials very easily, causing them to break.
When it comes to thread, there are several choices. All of these choices can be used for stringing seed beads and other small beads and for loom and off-loom bead weaving and bead embroidery.
Nylon Thread:Silamide Nylon Thread is a good all-around nylon thread, popular for its range of colors. It is used primarily for bead weaving.
Nymo Waxed Nylon Thread is another good all-around thread for bead weaving. It is lightly waxed, is easy to thread and resists twisting and knotting.
KO Nylon Japanese Beading Thread is a strong beading thread. It is tangle and fray resistant and comes in many colors. Bead weaving projects have a soft, fluid feel when done with this thread.
TOHO One-G Beading Thread is also created specifically for bead weaving. It's a great option for looming, stringing, and more. It is strong but not stiff, easy to thread, and shred-resistant. It is treated with an anti-tangle agent, so it doesn't require waxing.
Hana Beading Thread is 100% pre-waxed nylon in unique and vibrant colors. It also can be used in weaving, loomed projects, and bead embroidery.
Miyuki Bead Crochet Thread is designed specifically for bead crochet. It is resin treated to ensure that it does not come undone while you work. It comes on fun multi-colored spools and would work well for other bead weaving projects as well.
Monofilament Cord:Beadsmith Illusion Monofilament Cord is virtually invisible. It is also durable and flexible. Perfect for designs where you want the beads to take center stage and not the strings.
Beadsmith Power Pro Braided Thread is a strong, flexible beading thread. It is prewaxed and fray-resistant. You can knot it as well. It comes in a variety of diameters.
Miyuki Dura-Line Beading Thread is a strong and flexible white beading thread made from 100% polyethylene. It is one of the strongest fiber cords per diameter. You don't have to worry about beads cutting the thread. It is pre-waxed braided thread that does not stretch and knots easily.
As you can see, there are lots of options for stringing materials when starting your projects. These options will get you started creating high-quality jewelry you can be proud of. Make sure to visit our Jewelry Stringing Materials page to discover all of the many different types of stringing materials you can use in your designs!