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Beading Tips

Posted by Jamie on 3/4/2014

In beading, it’s important for the thread you use to accommodate the beads.  For instance, if you’re using a heavy or large hole bead, you would be well suited to use C-lon thread, #18 upholstery thread or wire, with the wire probably being the most appropriate for the heavier beads.  The size of beading needle you use is important, too.  Generally, a size 10 beading needle will fit through many of the bead sizes that you will most likely use.

A good way to work with heavier thread is to use a big-eye needle.  The eye is in the center of the needle, so either end of it can be used as the eye. You just open it in the center, put the thread through it, cut the length you want and then begin beading.

When working with lighter weight beads, a lighter thread is best.  One of the preferred stringing materials is called Nymo, but it needs to be waxed or conditioned before you can use it.  Conditioning gives the thread strength and bulk, and makes it less likely to tangle or fray.  Just cut the length you intend to use, and pull it across some bees wax (or my favorite which is Thread Heaven)

A good way to regard beading is that you are bringing the needle to the bead instead of bringing the bead to the needle.  This way you’ll be less likely to drop beads and you can line up the beads on your working surface in advance, so you’ll get an idea of how they are going to look, once threaded.

Pearl knotting is a nice technique to develop when beading.  To begin with, you take the first bead, and string it all the way to the end of the thread. Next, you loop it back through the thread to make a large knot, which you then use a t-pin to bring all the way to the bead before you pull the thread to cinch the knot closed.  When pulling the thread, no matter what type thread you’re using, never pull it too tightly or you could either stretch or break your thread, resulting in your having to begin all over or lost beads.

If you are teaching beading to younger beaders, a good way for them to get the hang of it is to first use pipe cleaners for stringing your beads.  This way, they will not be prone to fall off if the student is feeling awkward at first.