There is a fantastic range of bead weaving and stringing threads for beaders and crafters, including the classic nylon beading cord. However, choosing the suitable stringing material for a jewelry project might be difficult if you are unfamiliar with the many options.
Beaders have traditionally utilized silk rope for stringing for ages. It is utilized for knotted pearl and gemstone jewelry and provides durability, flexibility, and elegance. Each 100 percent silk bead cord contains a twisted stainless steel needle at the end, so it is unnecessary to use a needle and double the thread, making it simpler to thread through the typical small holes in pearls and gemstones. Because the thread has the proper twist, it is simple to tie a knot in the cord. It is available in various sizes and colors to complement your beads.
Nowadays, beaders use nylon bead cords for most projects. And for everything else you need for your beading projects, you can always rely on Xinar’s collection of beads and findings.
What is a Nylon Beading Cord?
There are two broad groups of beading threads: nylon beading cord and monofilament thread. It is simple to differentiate between the two. Nylon-based thread resembles sewing thread in texture and is often packaged on a short spool or bobbin. When I first began beading, Nymo was almost the only widely available nylon beading thread. Therefore, you may not be surprised that many more brands are currently on the market.
Choose between KO thread, C-Lon, and Miyuki beading threads. I could continue with so many other brands. There are minute distinctions between the brands, but many of these distinctions are easier to “feel” than to define. As each new manufacturer introduces a new nylon beading cord, they will claim that it is more durable, tangle-resistant, etc. I do not deny that this is accurate, but I find that one beader’s experience with a specific beading thread may differ from another. Much depends on personal tension or the beads being used in a project.
However, there are universal realities concerning nylon beading cord that are useful. First, as previously indicated, it resembles sewing thread or cotton in appearance and texture. By this, I mean that it drapes similarly but also tangles and knots if you’re not cautious, or even if you are! It is more potent than sewing cotton, so resist the urge to grab a spool of thread from your sewing basket for your beading tasks; beading thread is superior!
Nylon beading thread is more susceptible to breaking, mainly when seeding beads with rough edges, such as crystals or bugle beads. Working with crystals and bugles requires Fireline or another monofilament thread. KO thread is a bit stronger than nymo, so it is a better alternative. However, nylon thread is prone to tangling and knotting, and it is exceedingly challenging to untie knots once they have formed. A nylon-based thread is also prone to splitting, so if you make many passes through the same bead, you may discover that you have split the old thread as you make the next pass. This is not fatal unless you need to undo your work, which might be challenging to undo through the split thread. Stitching may also cause the thread to split, so if you work with a lengthy length of thread, it will pass through so many beads that it may begin to split or tear at its conclusion. You must cut the thread to eliminate the split region if this occurs. Any part of a split thread will be weaker and more prone to break, reducing the strength of your beading.
Nylon beading threads also have a natural stretch; therefore, it is advisable to cut your thread length and stretch it by holding one end in each hand, extending your arms wide, and pulling the thread firmly. If you do not stretch the thread before using it, it may stretch while you work, causing tension issues for specific individuals.
The good news is that beeswax or a thread conditioner may be used to treat nylon-based thread. This prevents the thread from tangling and splitting by coating it. You should condition the entire thread length before using it; if it becomes too tangled while you work.
Additionally, the nylon-based thread is typically less expensive and comes in many colors, allowing you to match your beading thread to the beads you are using in your creation. If you are working on beads in colors that are very contrasting, you can even alter the thread color as you change the bead color. If you need assistance with joining or finishing threads, you may read this blog; for guidance on threading a needle, go here; and you will also find helpful advice in the portion of this site devoted to fundamental bead-weaving.
What About Monofilament Threads?
Fireline is the most popular brand in this beading thread. It is available in several weight-based sizes, with 4lb and 6lb being the most prevalent. The weight refers to the maximum load the thread can support before breaking. As you are most likely to use this for bead-weaving, where each thread only supports a single or two beads, and not stringing, when the weight of all the beads is significant, the 4lb weight is sufficient for most tasks. However, some individuals like 6lb, which is somewhat thicker; nevertheless, if you are dealing with small seed beads, such as size 15/0, I recommend sticking with 4lb.
Fireline is essentially only available in crystal and smoke colors. As the smoke is a black coating placed on the crystal thread, your fingers will turn black as you use it, but enough coating stays on the thread to keep it dark. However, I find that the crystal is so near to “clear” that it mixes beautifully with all bead colors, so I only use the smoke when I am working on creation with just black or navy beads. Nonetheless, diverse opinions may exist in this regard!
Simply put, the monofilament-based thread is a fishing line. I’m not positive, but I like to believe that one adventurous beader ran out of thread in the middle of a job and, unable to reach a bead store, was forced to steal her husband’s fishing equipment, where she realized that fishing line worked rather well! I’m sure that’s not what occurred, but it is undeniable that someone, at some point, had the brilliant idea to try fishing line, which was eventually refined into the beading thread we use today. As you can expect, this significantly alters the texture of certain sorts of a thread. They don’t drape like a nylon-based thread, so when you begin using this type of thread, it might seem like it has a little life as you draw it through the beads. However, if you can overcome the strangeness of that sensation, this topic offers several advantages.
Unlike nylon-based thread, it does not have a natural stretch, which helps generate a nice tension: after the thread has been drawn through, it stays in place and does not begin to spring back. I believe this is particularly useful with Right Angle Weave or Netting. I also find it very difficult to break Fireline; except for the occasional stray thread, I have very seldom had thread breaking in the middle of stitching. Lastly, the monofilament thread is far less prone to knotting: it may still tangle and form little loops and knots as you work, but these usually are extremely easy to remove and do not appear to weaken the thread, making for a much less stressful beading experience!
Different beaders will recommend different methods for finishing off Fireline; some will suggest weaving the thread through the beads before knotting since it does not knot either. Others, like myself, use this to tie knots between beads. I have heard that knotting the thread to begin or end can cause it to break, but I have never personally encountered this issue.
Monofilament beading threads are significantly more costly than nylon-based threads, which deters some individuals from using them. However, if you are convinced by all the other benefits and desire a beading project that will survive the test of time, you may consider the additional expense justified.
Every beader falls in love with a different brand of thread, so if you are starting, try a variety of brands – borrow a length from a friend in a beading group or workshop if you want to sample before buying – and find out what feels comfortable to you. If you despise a particular brand of thread, but the designer recommends using it for their pattern, I suggest the designer may have a good reason for recommending it. However, don’t be afraid to use a different thread; be aware that you may encounter unforeseen difficulties along the way! Hopefully, you now better understand what you are purchasing when presented with so many distinct brands. If you are uncertain, contact the store owner for more information about the brand; these recommendations should help you grasp the information provided.