Material for stitching, stringing and shaping.
There are many options for beading thread and stringing material, each with different advantages. Synthetic materials are best for long lasting, durable beadwork, but natural fibers can be an environmentally friendly alternative.
Nymo and C-Lon
These threads are made specifically for beading, and are available in a variety of colors. It is recommended that the threads be prepared with beeswax or a thread conditioner like Thread Heaven, to stiffen the fibers and protect them from fraying. Used primarily for stitching, these threads are available from most bead and hobby stores.
This super strong thread is more expensive than traditional materials, but is popular among many beaders for it’s durability. It is available from fabric stores, and shops that specialize in fly tying materials.
Normally used for stringing pearls, this thread must be pre-stretched before use.
Cotton or polyester sewing thread is a great medium for beginners. It is inexpensive, and comes in a variety of colors. To protect and stiffen the fibers, clear craft glue can be used as a thread conditioner. Coat comfortable lengths of thread evenly with glue and allow to dry.
Braided Fishing Line
There are several brands of fishing line appropriate for beading, including Fireline, Spiderwire and Powerpro. Popular for stitching, they come in a variety of diameters, though 6lb test is most commonly used for it’s strength and ability to pass through beads several times. No stretching or conditioning is required to prepare it as a thread, but color selection is limited to white, black, and neon green. Fishing line is available at tackle shops and sporting goods stores, as well as department stores that carry fishing gear. To save on cost and packaging, some retailers can order bulk spools of several hundred yards.
Most often used as a stringing material, this plastic fishing line is available in a variety of diameters, from 2lb to 80lb test. Although it is strong and flexible, monofilament is susceptible to wear over time, and does not hold up well against heat and sunlight.
This elastic stringing material comes in a variety of colors and diameters. Thicker cord will resist wear better, whereas thin cord can become brittle over time. Thin stretch cord can also be used as a stitching material when combined with larger beads and collapsible needles.
Thread Length - Different types of beadwork will require different lengths of thread. Generally, you can work with two-arms' length. Grasp the end of the thread with your fingertips, then pull the spool or card across your body with the other hand, stretching out both arms. Hold the base of the thread against the spool and cut it just below your fingers.
Single Thread - Pass one end of the thread through the eye of the needle. Pull the needle down about 6 inches, then fold the thread over the eye. Depending on the stiffness of the material, you may also want to twist the thread to help prevent it from slipping.
Double Thread - To create doubled thread for heavier beadwork, thread a needle and line up either end of the thread. Grasp the ends, and pull the needle with the opposite hand until it reaches the center point.