Stringing beads is one of the greatest joys of crafting. Whether you’re new to stringing beads or not, taking a refresher course on the foundational techniques of how to string beads is always a good idea. If you want to learn how to string beads with thread for the first time, this is also a good place to start. Whether you’re eager to create a bracelet or mastering how to string beads on a necklace, the learning process always begins with knowing your tools, learning how knots work, and most importantly, working with the right jewelry-making supplies, like precious and semiprecious beads and findings.
How Does Stringing Beads Work?
Stringing beads is the common entry point for those new to jewelry making. Most bead stringing techniques can be learned by the average hobbyist in a short amount of time, while others require more time and effort to master. Consequently, we go over them in some depth below. Crimp beads, bead tips, and knotting are detailed for concluding and securing jewelry creations made from strung beads. You can use all three methods to affect when making beaded jewelry significantly.
How to Close a Crimp Bead?
It may take some practice before you master closing the crimp bead at the end of a beaded necklace or bracelet. This is just one of the things that you have to master while learning how stringing beads works. You will eventually work with different crimp beads and crimp covers as you proceed with your projects.
Remember that crimping takes practice if it’s been a while since you last did it. It would help if you celebrated on the rare occasion that you succeeded the first time perfectly. Learning how to crimp is so essential if you want to learn how to string beads with thread.
You can use chain-nose pliers to flatten these, but a pair of crimping pliers will give your jewelry designs a much more professional appearance. The crimp bead is closed and shaped using the pliers’ two notches; this process is sometimes called the two-phase crimp method because it requires using both notches simultaneously. Additionally, the crimps are less likely to scratch the wearer because the beads are rolled instead of flattened.
You can use a high-quality crimp bead to give your strung items a professional look. Even though tube-shaped crimp beads of sterling silver will set you back more than their round counterparts made of cheaper metals, the extra money will be well spent. In addition, the tube-shaped crimp beads are much more manageable, so you’ll be able to fasten the crimp bead with greater ease securely. High-quality crimp beads are essential for a professional finish on your strung work. Even though tube-shaped crimp beads of sterling silver will set you back more than their round counterparts made of cheaper metals, the extra money will be well spent. You can do a much more professional job of fastening the crimp bead with the tube-shaped crimp beads, and the beads will remain securely in place.
A high-quality crimp bead, like our sterling silver tube crimp beads, can help you put the finishing touches on your strung creations. Even though tube-shaped, sterling silver crimp beads are more expensive than their round, base-metal counterparts, they are well worth the investment. In addition, the tube-shaped crimp beads are much more manageable, so you can reliably and securely fasten the crimp bead.
When working with crimp beads, beading wire, and crimping pliers, it’s crucial to get the proportions just right. To find out what size crimp beads, beading wire, and pliers you should use, look at the respective manufacturers’ websites.
Here are the steps to closing a crimp bead:
Loop your beading wire through your crimp bead and back down through it again.
Place the crimp bead on the second notch of your pliers and firmly close the pair with one move.
With the same crimp bead on its side, please place it in the first notch of the pliers. When you’re done, firmly close the pliers around the crimp bead.
Getting better at closing crimp beads requires practice. Allow yourself some time to get back into the swing of things before you demand perfectly closed crimp beads from a cold hand.
How Do Clamshell Bead Tips Work?
A clamshell bead tip is one common way to complete a piece of beaded jewelry. Since the end pieces of this discovery are cup-shaped and, when opened, resemble an actual clamshell, it is sometimes referred to by that name.
Bead tips come in various shapes and sizes; some have two cups to conceal a knot and make the knot appear to be a bead.
Most jewelry designers prefer nylon or silk cording with bead tips. These cords are typically knotted at the end. The name “bead tip” comes from the way it appears when it’s finally closed. They usually look like tiny beads after closure. You can use bead tips to complete both seed bead jewelry and strung jewelry designs, as bead tips are commonly used in both types of bead weaving.
Beginners typically find that bead tips produce satisfactory results. Therefore, if a friend is interested in learning how to make jewelry, you may want to recommend that they begin with these findings rather than crimp beads.
Tips for working with bead tips:
Begin with overhand knots, then cut off the excess with scissors, leaving a longer cord to string beads. After threading the cord, pull until the knot is inside the shell of the bead.
Next, put a drop of glue on the knot. Then, using chain-nose pliers, carefully close the clamshell sides of the bead tip around the knot if it has one.
After stringing your beads, finish the end of the cord with a bead tip. To do this, thread the cord through a second bead tip, but this time, turn the bead’s open side toward the rest of the necklace.
Make a second overhand knot, and then use a beading awl to help embed the knot in the bead tip’s shell. After the knot, cut off the extra cord.
To complete the bead’s point, repeat step three.
The tiniest amount of pressure is needed to seal the bead tips. However, you can damage the bead’s security by pressing too firmly, as a flattened or otherwise damaged tip will no longer hold the bead in place. If this occurs, we’ll have to start from scratch.
How Do You Knot Between Beads?
Knotting the ends of a string of beads together may look more complicated than simple bead stringing, but it’s simple. It just takes time, like most methods of jewelry making.
When you’ve tied enough knots, you’ll gain proficiency and speed. A few of the projects here require knowledge of knot tying, an essential skill for anyone who wants to advance to the next level of bead stringing.
Why learn to knot?
- A better bead drape can be achieved with skillful knot tying.
- It helps keep them safe even if one of the strands breaks.
- It avoids beads scratching each other on the string. When dealing with porous beads like pearls, this is crucial.
When laying out your beads on the bead board, remember that knotting can significantly increase the overall length of your design. If you want a longer necklace, it won’t be a problem, but this is crucial information to have if you’re making a bracelet. If you string it on too long, it will wrap around your ankle rather than your wrist.
Here’s how you can tie a classic bead knot:
After stringing on the first bead to your strand, secure it with a loose overhand knot.
Use a corsage pin or beading awl to pierce the knot.
With the pin still inside the knot, move the knot closer to the bead until it is as close as you can get it without untying the knot.
Once the knot is snug against the bead, hold it with your fingers and remove the pin with the other hand. Then, press the knot firmly against the bead using your fingers and the pin.
The Tri-Cord Knotter is a popular tool among jewelers for creating intricate knots. It costs around $50 and can be purchased from any online or brick-and-mortar store selling beads.
This tool is ideal for beginners to make the knot and press it up against each bead in a single motion. In addition, this one-of-a-kind jewelry tool comes with its accessory kit, which features a variety of learning resources.
Studying the Foundations of Bead Weaving
Bead weaving’s main attraction is its stitches. Among those who have some familiarity with the art of weaving with the tiny glass treasures known as seed beads, brick stitch, net stitch, and peyote are typically the first techniques that come to mind.
Completing bead-weaving projects, however, requires knowledge of other fundamentals, such as how to thread a needle and condition thread. They’re essential to making the stitches work.
When stitching, it doesn’t matter how well you’ve learned the stitch itself if you can’t take care of the threads at the end.
A sewing needle’s eye is much broader than a needle used for bead weaving. Therefore, a different strategy is needed for threading it. First, hold the needle backward and thread it through the eye from the front. Next, bring the Thread up to the eye of the needle, holding it between your thumb and index finger.
How Does Thread Conditioning Work?
Many beaders use Silamide thread, which is pre-conditioned. However, if you prefer to use Nymo thread, you must condition it before threading your needle. Thread Heaven or natural beeswax work well for this purpose.
Tangled threads are a pain to deal with, so it’s essential to condition your beading threads before using them.
Brands like Nymo are not exempt from bead conditioning, regardless of their popularity. Covering the Thread with Thread Heaven or beeswax makes beading threads easier. These substances also make threads super soft!
If you have never conditioning beading threads before, follow these tips:
- Take some Nymo thread and cut it to size. Then, press the Thread end into the beeswax or Thread Heaven with your thumb.
- Keeping your thumb in place, pull the Thread across the beeswax or Thread Heaven with the other hand.
- Coat the Thread several times for best coverage.
How Do You Use Stop Beads?
Bead weavers use the stop bead to keep their beads from sliding off the Thread. As you’ll only be using one bead for this and then removing it, choose one that stands out from the other beads you intend to use in the weave. Thus, the stop bead can be located and removed with greater ease.
Here are the steps to affixing a stop bead:
- Thread the needle and pass it through the stop bead.
- Re-insert the needle after wrapping it around the bead’s base.
- Drop the bead until it’s between 6 and 10 inches from the Thread’s end.
- Follow the project guidelines and start stringing on beads.
How to Add More Threads as You Bead?
Bead weaving requires frequent thread changes because the longer the beaded object gets, the less Thread you’ll have to work with (naturally). Begin with a thread three feet long, give or take. This is the typical starting point for most bead weavers. In most cases, only the most seasoned of bead weavers will be able, to begin with, a longer working thread without quickly becoming overwhelmed by knots.
Therefore, a crucial skill is learning how to secure a new thread onto a work-in-progress jewel. The specifics of this process may change slightly depending on the woven jewelry design you’re working on, but here are the fundamentals.
Dealing with Loose Ends Before Completing a Jewelry or Craft Beading Project
There will be a lot of loose ends as you weave the beads. For example, thread tails must be left when beginning a new section of weaving. Another downside is that your working Thread will eventually become too short and need to be replaced. Finally, you’ll inevitably need to tie up all these loose ends at some point. One option is to wait until the end and do them all at once, while another is to do them as you go along if the stray threads are getting in the way.
You can complete the threads by re-weaving them into the beads you’ve already made. However, beads can become unwoven and fall off a jewelry piece if trimmed without being woven.
It’s going to be a breeze to finish off the tails you’ve already tied off:
First, thread the tail you need to finish onto a beading needle, and then begin weaving the needle and tail through the string of beads you already have.
Cut it with sharp scissors when only a short thread length remains, such as an inch.
Whether you’re working with a tail that hasn’t been knotted or a thread that needs to be finished, here’s how to do it:
- Put a needle into the Thread you want to use to complete the project.
- Second, locate a bead close to where the Thread is leaving the textile, and Thread the needle through it.
- Continue threading the needle with more beads. Pick a bridge thread and proceed to thread the needle around the bridge thread. Pull the Thread taut to force the knot into the hole of the closest bead.
- Put your needle through more beads.
- With about an inch of Thread remaining, exit the needle through the last bead and cut the excess with sharp scissors.
You may have noticed that we didn’t recommend using glue to secure loose ends of Thread. While some weavers may choose to use glue, we do not endorse this. You could run into serious complications when the glue dries inside the bead holes and soaks into your beading thread.
Even for an experienced weaver, it’s not unheard of to unweave some beads and re-weave them into a design. But, unfortunately, using glue renders this method useless. In fact, for the same reasons, some weavers choose not to use knots at all.