Chances are we’ve all been there. You’re all set to create your next beautiful piece of jewelry when you begin and quickly realize you’ve got the wrong kind of craft wire, thread or cord.
Choosing the right type of bead stringing wire or thread for your project is essential for ensuring it lasts the test of time, looks great and is easy to craft. Just follow our guide below to ensure you’re choosing the right type of material for your project.
The most basic tip, no matter what stringing material or wire you are using, is to choose the largest diameter that passes through the smallest bead hole.
(Learn how to craft these wrapped wire rings from our Crafts Unleashed blogger, Adrianne.)
Beading and Craft Wire
For beaded projects, beading wire is the obvious choice. But with the wide variety of sizes and types available, it can be difficult to know which is the best for your project. A couple things to pay attention to:
Wire Diameter, which determines strength and fit. A large diameter craft wire is ideal for large and heavy beads because it’s strong and a small diameter is ideal for small, lightweight beads, because it’s easy to fit through small bead holes.
Number of strands, which determines flexibility. Beading wire is actually made up of multiple strands of steel wire woven or braided, and the amount of strands determines the flexibility of the wire. The more strands, the more flexible the wire is. The type of jewelry you’re creating determines how much flexibility you need in the wire. For example, a bracelet needs a lot of flexibility versus a simple beaded necklace which doesn’t require as much.
Number of strands also determines the price of the craft wire. Wire that has more strands typically is more expensive than other options with less strands.
Pound Test Strength, which determines strength and durability. The pound test strength of a wire is the number of pounds a piece of wire can theoretically support before it breaks. The higher the pound test strength number, the stronger the beading wire.
Beading wire also comes in a variety of colors, which can make a great, fun choice for bright, colorful beading projects.
(Learn how to craft this paracord bracelet from our Crafts Unleashed blogger, Vanessa.)
There are a variety of different craft cords available, but again, it’s all about knowing what types of materials you’re working with and what kind of project you’re completing.
Bungee cord is a stretchy type of craft cord similar to paracord. Both paracord and bungee cord are soft, flexible and stretchy, making them ideal for creating bracelets and other pieces of jewelry or hair accessories that need a little bit of give. To learn more about bungee cord and its wide variety of uses, check out this great video.
Craft cord also comes in a variety of other types and colors, including:
- Clear stretchy cord
- Metallic, elastic and stretchy craft cord
- Suede cord
- Leather cord
- Satin cord
- Cotton cord
- Specialty craft cord (for items such as kites)
In general, craft cord is a more durable selection than others like thread, string or yarn. Use it for craft projects that need to be durable and last and jewelry projects that may get a lot of wear and movement, like bracelets.
(Learn how to craft thread wrapped safety pins from our blogger, Kelly.)
Silk thread has been a traditional type of craft thread used for many years, typically for pearls and other gemstones. However, as beautiful as it is, silk is not a very strong fiber, so only use it for very light beaded jewelry projects.
For projects with many beads, like an entirely beaded necklace, use nylon thread, as it’s extremely strong and ideal for stringing plenty of beads. It has very little stretch and because of the strength, it’s great for knotting because knots stay right where they should. Nylon typically comes in a variety of colors and sizes. Be sure to pick the largest size available that fits through your smallest bead hole.
Nymo thread is a type of nylon thread typically used for intricate bead work and with seed beads.
Monofilament thread, also typically known as jewelry thread, is another craft thread option that is strong and doesn’t stretch much, making it ideal for stringing. However, if you want to knot in between your beads, don’t use monofilament as it doesn’t knot well.
Standard Jewelry Lengths
Now that you know which type of stringing material is best for your next project, you need to know how much of it to use! To help, we’ve created this handy chart of standard jewelry lengths. Print it and keep it nearby your crafting area – we bet it will be helpful more than once.
|BRACELET||16 CM-17 CM (6.5″-7″)|
|ANKLET||22 CM-25 CM (9″-10″)|
|CHOKER||38 CM-40 CM (15″-16″)|
|PRINCESS NECKLACE||45 CM- 50 CM (18″-20″)|
|MATINEE NECKLACE||58 CM- 68 CM ( 23″-27″)|
|OPERA NECKLACE||71 CM + (28″ +)|
More Project Ideas
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