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Selecting the right type of Thread


After you have selected the beads you want to use, you need to select the right threading material for the job. Different types of beads work better with certain types of stringing material. For example, plastic pony beads work great with leather strips or plastic lanyard, but don't work nearly as well with silk. Likewise, you'll never get your leather strip threaded through the holes in your pearls... So, here is a quick discussion on some of the more common materials used to string beads.

Silk / Nylon thread

Silk (or a nylon beading thread) is the most common material used for stringing necklaces. It comes in a range of colors to match your beads. It is great for plastic, glass, and ceramic beads. It is very flexible and easy to work with. It may be used with most organic and metal beads, but use caution and watch for rough edges on the beads that might abrade the thread. I would not recommend using silk or nylon for stone beads because of the weight and general rough edges.

I would recommended that when using silk or nylon, that you use the largest thread that easily fits through the bead holes. This helps ensure the strength of necklace and helps minimize the movement of the beads. If your thread is thin, or the beads are heavy, you can double the thread and run two strands through instead of just one.

Do not be tempted to use sewing, needlepoint, or cross-stitch thread or floss. These are typically not designed to handle the wear from beads, and tend to fray easily. Use a silk or nylon thread designed for beading or jewelry.

Be sure to read the tips on stretching and conditioning the thread.


Flexible beading wire is made of miniature stainless steel wires twisted together, then covered with a nylon coating. It combines the softness of thread with the strength of wire. This makes it the preferred choice for stone, organic, and metal beads. The wire holds the weight of the heavier beads, and holds up to the rougher edges of the holes that would fray a silk string. Wire is not as flexible as silk (which actually makes stringing beads easier), so if flexibility is important, consider using multiple silk strings together.

The thicker the wire, the stronger it is. The more strands in the wire, the more flexible it is. I usually suggest around .018-inch diameter wire. But you can use a heavier wire (up to a .024 or .028) but this tends to be too stiff for such as small necklace as we're making for a Pleo. You can also use a thinner wire (like a .015) if you don't think there will be a lot of yanking on the necklace.

Elastic string

Elastic string (like Stretch Magic ) is a great choice for making quick and simple necklaces. It eliminates the need for a clasp (just stretch it over the Pleo's head), but really only works well if you're using plastic or wood beads. Glass and ceramic beads can be easily cracked or broken when the necklace snaps back to small size. Natural stone, organic, and metal beads very quickly fray and cut their way through the string as the elastic stretches and contracts. Elastic string also tends to be thicker than silk or nylon, and may not fit though beads with small holes.

Elastic string is the perfect choice for working with children, and is often used when beading is done as a craft for a party. Elastic bands are also good if the necklace needs to cling tight to the Pleo's neck rather than hanging loose.

Leather or cloth strips

Leather is a great choice for hanging a single pendant, charm, or tag. It has a more "rugged" look for your male Pleo. But about the only beads you'll find that will thread on a leather strap are larger plastic beads or wooden beads. Leather necklaces are usually tied, avoiding the need for a clasp, but can be threaded to use some clasps. Often, multiple leather strips are braided together, or combined with thin strips of cloth. Plastic coated string lanyards are also commonly used and come in a wide range of colors.

Silk / Nylon Tips

Before starting a new project, ALWAYS stretch your thread. This is a very important step to ensure the finished necklace that will hold up over time. If you forget, your necklace will soon stretch out on itís own from the weight of the beads and won't have the same shape as it did when you made it. S-T-R-E-T-C-H !

Use a double or triple strand of threads for extra strength

Use a thread conditioner (like Thread Heaven) to coat & condition your thread before you start stringing beads. It helps prevent unintentional knotting and fraying, protects thread from UV Rays that can cause color fading, and it protects against moisture that can cause mold & mildew to build up under the beads.

If you put a drop of super glue (liquid, not gel type) on the end of your thread, when it dries after a few moments, it stiffens and forms a "needle" to help string the beads.

Wire thread Tips

To prevent the end of the beading wire from scratching the wearer, make sure your last bead or two on each end of the necklace is large enough so that a small amount of extra beading wire can be threaded back through to cover the end of the wire.

To keep the end loop of your beading wire large enough, insert one side of your round-nosed pliers into the loop while you pull the wire tight.

Elastic string Tips

Overtime, the elastic in your necklace might develop a bit of slack. To restore the stretchiness, quickly dip the necklace in boiling water for one or two seconds.

Smaller is better. Elastic bracelets are made to fit rather tightly, and they do stretch over time. So, itís usually a good idea to make sure they are Ĺ inch smaller than you would usually make, depending on the size of the beads.