How To String Beads

This article is an over view of the tools required, the different stringing materials their characteristics, and things to have in mind when making string bead jewelery.

Chevron bead and Indian glass bead strings
Chevron bead and Indian glass bead strings (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Learning how to string beads to make a necklace or bracelet is a wonderful way of expressing your creativity as well producing beautiful jewelery to enjoy yourself, give to friends and family or to sell as the start of a business venture.

First of all, what are you going to make, what type of beads are you using which has an impact on the type of string you use, are you using spacers and what is the color scheme. Far too much choice!

You will need to assemble the usual “tools of the trade” in order to start stringing beads, a beading board or felt mat if you use one, wire cutters, pliers, craft glue, beading needle, clasp and crimp beads, the list is dependent on what you are making.

Let’s quickly look at the types of stringing material available and what they are more suitable for:

  • silk thread is easy to knot, comes in a huge variety of colors and is soft to touch, but can be fragile and frays easily. Used with pearls and light beads.
  • hemp and waxed linen cord holds its shape, knots easily and is difficult to fray. Used with larger beads.
  • nylon cord comes in a multitude of colors, knots easily and is far more resilient than silk. Also good with pearls and seed beads.
  • leather is strong and can be knotted and braided. Gives a more rustic look to jewelery.
  • bead stringing wire is multiple strands of steel coated in nylon, and comes in a variety of diameters and range of qualities. Very popular but a little inflexible.
  • sterling silver is a more expensive option and lends itself to silver or gemstone jewelery. Silver, gold or copper plated wire is a less expensive alternative.

Once you have decided what you are going to make, and have assembled the required number of beads, mixing colors, shapes, materials and even textures, then you are ready to start stringing beads.

A few things to have in mind as you proceed:

  • some beads such as glass, semi-precious stones and pearls require spacers between them. This can be achieved
  • by knotting the cord between each bead or by using silver or gold spacers which look better with expensive beads.
  • arrange your beads so you can see what the finished article looks like and can amend the design at this early stage rather than during the stringing process.
  • make sure you cut sufficient stringing material for your needs. Always add more than you think you need and if you are knotting between each bead, double the length.
  • choose the string color to match your beads.
  • some string material stretches, so allow it to do so and readjust the beads before wearing.
  • make sure the ends are knotted firmly and glued, knot covers can be used to cover them. Alternatively crimp beads can be used with stringing wire to secure the ends.

About The Author

By Simon Hunter. So now you know how to string beads, what are you waiting for! There is no limit to what you can make. To your bead stringing success!