Welcome to another installment of steps on threading beads. Xinar is dedicated to helping beginning crafters and beaders alike, and so we continue to grow our resource center on all things jewelry and beading. Threading beads is a crucial skill that forms the foundation of any beading project. Whether you are into simple beading patterns or complex ones, knowing how to do it right is essential, lest you end up with beads flying away when someone wears your creations.
Xinar has been selling high-quality jewelry-making supplies for over twenty years. Explore our fabulous collections of beads and findings, as well as sterling silver beads, gold-filled beads, copper beads, and rose gold-filled beads. Complete your charm bracelets with suitable sterling silver charms, too!
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Today, we’ll discuss how you can string bead tips and bullions.
Numerous beads on the market for jewelry supplies have little holes; this is especially true with genuine and natural gemstones. Unfortunately, gemstone-cut beads are tiny, necessitating extreme caution while drilling through them.
There are several threads and accessories for stringing beads with tiny holes. This technique produces some attractive jewelry designs without requiring specialized jewelry manufacturing techniques such as stone setting and silversmithing.
Gemstone beads, such as briolette, rondelle, and pearls, are traditionally intended for stringing on the delicate thread. We recommend using 0.2mm or 0.3mm thread or wire for stringing beads with tiny holes. When working with wire, care must be taken not to push it into the hole lest the bead is broken.
Thread Beads: Connecting Clamshell Bead Tip
Clamshell bead points are a more contemporary option for securing clasps on knotted jewelry creations. Many beaders believe that clamshell bead tips are more stable and handy when dealing with thicker string. Thus the name, an open clamshell bead tip, resembles an open clamshell. The cord is threaded through the connection between the two cups or “shells,” and when the bead tip is closed, the knot rests between the two cups. Finally, the clasp is attached to the bead tip through the hook at its end.
If the initial knot is insufficient to keep the rope from passing through the hole in the bead tip, tie additional knots around the initial knot to extend its circle.
1. Using single, double, or many cord strands, thread your needle and make an overhand knot in the opposite cord end (s).
2. The knot should be positioned between the two cups of the first clamshell bead tip.
3. Gently draw the knot between the cups, ensuring that the bead tip will neatly shut over the knot.
4. Add a drop of superglue to bind the knot, and then use chain nose pliers to close the bead tip around the knot. Let the adhesive dry.
Control the plier pressure, so the bead tip is neither damaged nor flattened.
5. String all of your beads and tie a knot between them using one of the previously discussed techniques. Do not tie a knot between the first bead tip and first bead or between the last and second bead tip.
Once you’ve completed knotting your product, thread the second basket bead tip so that the last knot you create will rest in the basket of this bead tip.
Try one of the following alternatives to complete this last knot:
A. Tie a loose overhand knot using single, double, or triple cords and leave the knot’s loop open. Utilize an awl or tweezers to relocate the knot between the bead tip’s cups. Allow the superglue to dry before adding a drop to the overhand knot.
B. When using double or triple cords, another approach to seat the knot in the bead tip is to grip half of the cords in each hand and pull the cords apart to slide the knot securely between the cups of the bead tip. Superglue the knot, then let it dry.
C. Alternatively, you may divide the cords in half and make a square knot that will lie securely between the bead tip’s cups. Superglue the knot, then let it dry.
8. To attach the clasp, insert one of its components onto the bead tip’s hook. Then, roll the hook into the bead’s closed tip using round-nose pliers. Now, the hook should resemble a closed loop.
9. slide the opposite end of the clasp onto the hook of the second bead tip and repeat the procedure from step 8.
Thread Beads: Attaching a Bead Tip with a Side-Closing Loop
Side-closing bead tips are convenient for mending a lost clasp on a piece of knotted jewelry without redoing the entire creation. Additionally, they are helpful when working with heavier cords.
An open side-closing bead tip resembles an open locket, with two open cups and a hook or loop at the top. This sort of bead tip does not include a hole for the cord; instead, the cups are closed around the knot once it has been formed. Finally, the clasp is attached using the loop at the top of the side-closing bead tip.
Place the knot between the side-closing bead tip’s cups. Ensure that the bead tip will neatly shut over the knot. Add a drop of super glue to bind the knot, and then close the two sides of the bead tip around the knot using chain nose pliers. Let the adhesive dry.
To attach the clasp, put one piece onto the bead tip’s hook. Next, roll the hook down with round-nose pliers until it rests on the closed bead tip. Now, the hook should resemble a closed loop. Repeat with the other half.
Bullion, often known as French wire or gimp, is a convenient substitute for bead points. Bullion is particularly effective for usage with silk cord and pearls. In addition, bullion protects silk cord against wear caused by rubbing against metal findings.
1. Thread the needle without tying a knot. Through one bead or pearl, thread your needle and thread. Position this bead 6 inches from the end of the string by sliding it towards the end. The needle is threaded through half an inch of bullion and one side of the clasp or ring.
2. Slide the needle back through the initial bead in the opposite direction to produce the first end of your jewelry piece. Pull the cord taut, so the bullion creates a loop within the clasp or ring’s loop.
3. Tie an overhand knot with the tail end around the beading cord. Add a drop of super glue, allow it to dry, and then trim the tail cord.
4. String the remaining beads or pearls and use one of the knotting techniques to create a knot between them. Do not tie a knot following the final bead.
5. Add another half-inch of bullion and the opposite side of the clasp or ring, then repeat steps 2 and 3 from above.
Knotting Between Beads
The method used to tie knots between beads is mostly a matter of choice. Before deciding on a single approach to master, it is advisable to gain proficiency in various techniques. Also, determine whether you will thread all of the beads at once or one bead at a time when you tie the knot.
Either approach is appropriate. However, the decision will depend on the size and weight of your beads. When knotting pearls or other tiny beads, the most effective way is to string all beads before tying the knot. When working with large or heavy beads, stringing one bead at a time is easier to manage.
Regardless of the technique, it takes time to tie knots consistently and keep uniform tension during knotting. Only practice will allow you to perfect these talents.
Special Topic: Thread Conditioners
Generally, a thread conditioner provides a protective covering that shields the thread from the soil, moisture, UV radiation damage, mold, and mildew. Using a thread conditioner also helps to eliminate static electricity, a typical cause of thread tangling.
Thread Weave Feature Traits
Thread Heaven is categorized as a synthetic plastic polymer with the viscosity of beeswax. However, it is neither wax nor petroleum-based. Whether natural or synthetic, beeswax similarly produces a barrier between the thread and cloth, but it can leave a sticky coating.
Thread Heaven is compatible with textiles. It reduces the strain generated by thread drag — the wear caused by repeatedly drawing a thread through the cloth during sewing — and forms a smooth, protecting coating between the thread and the fabric.
While Thread Heaven is one of the most well-known thread conditioners with side slits, making it slightly easier to use, comparable items are also available at big sewing and craft retailers.
Utilizing Thread Conditioners
Always consult the manufacturer’s directions for use. However, most operate in the same manner.
Pass the thread over the conditioner while holding it against it with your finger or thumb. Next, pull the thread to eliminate static and smooth it.
In some instances, you may choose to repeat this to add a layer.
When to Apply (and when not to) Thread Conditioner
Because products like Thread Heaven preserve your thread and decrease tangling while you work, you may want to begin using them every time you sew. Once you try it, you can get addicted to it.
It is beneficial when working with metallic threads, readily destroyed when pulled repeatedly through the cloth. It may also be used to control satin or rayon embroidery threads and DMC’s neon and glow-in-the-dark Light Effects threads.
However, specific textured threads cannot be used with thread conditioners. In addition, when using thread conditioners on white threads, some stitchers discover that the conditioner attracts dust and debris, giving the thread a grey hue. So use it carefully on whitework.
In addition to embroidery and cross-stitch, a thread conditioner is also beneficial for bookbinding, quilting, and beading.