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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Beading Threads

When I first started beading, (a long time ago) beaders were fairly limited in the selection of thread choices used to string or weave beads. Because cottons thread deteriorate, break, or mold and mildew, beaders commonly used nylon thread or, believe it or not, dental floss as their beading medium. But as times have evolved, so have our selection of beading threads. Today there are many types of threads that are used and are quite suitable for beading. Here is a list of a just a few of them…

Salamide is an all purpose beading thread. It is twisted and pre-waxed. Salamide comes in a variety of colors. I have tried using Salamide on several occasions, and I personally do not care for it. For me, it was hard to thread, tangled, and broke too easily. However, many beaders swear by this thread and won’t use anything else.

Nylon Coated Beading Wire is a great choice for bead stringing. The wire is very strong. You can easily tie knots with it. The wire also comes in many varying sizes or gauges depending on the weight and type of beads you are using.

Stretchy Cord is another great stringing material, especially if you do not want to use clasps. Stretchy cord is thin and flexible enough to stretch over your wrist for a bracelet, your neck for a necklace, and even your ankles, for an ankle bracelet. The ends tie easy and are fairly easy to hide when you tuck them into your beadwork. Stretch cord is also great to use when you create a gift for a child. No complicated clasps for the child to have to fasten. Stretchy cord is also a great first beading medium if a child is interested in learning how to string beads

100% Polyester Thread that is sold in the notions department in any sewing or fabric store is a great choice for bead crochet. This thread makes lovely soft crochet ropes. It is strong, difficult to break, and comes in a variety of colors. And, because polyester threads do not break easily or mildew, polyester thread is a good choice for warping a beading loom.

69 Weight Upholstery Thread is also excellent for bead crochet. It works well with size 11/0, 10/0, 8/0, and 6/0 seed beads. This is also a good thread to use when creating netting stitch beadwork or loom work.

Kevlar Thread, yes the type of thread that is used to make Kevlar vest, is another thread that is used in some types of beading. Kevlar is strong and durable, but does have it’s drawbacks as a beading thread. For one, it has a bad reaction when exposed to UV light. Over exposure to sunlight can reduce the strength of your thread. I would not recommend it for use in beaded jewelry because the thread tends to breakdown when exposed to skin. This thread does not knot well either. Beaders tend to use this thread mainly for bead appliqué that does not involve direct skin contact, such as an appliqué on a purse. It is also often used for tapestries but said tapestries should not be hung in direct sunlight.

DandyLine is a new beading thread from Beadalon. I have a spool, but have, as yet, not used any of it. It is suppose to be as strong as the GSP fishing lines. But, DandyLine is a soft unlike the GSP fishing lines which are stiffer. I have only seen this thread in the colors of white and black, but it probably comes in other colors. Dandyline was created specifically for beading and it is also water proof. I am looking forward to trying out this product, and if I like it, I will most probably right a blog post about his thread.

PowerPro is a GSP braided fishing line. PowerPro is very strong and is great for beading. It comes in various thicknesses and weights (test is the official term used on the packaging). You can buy PowerPro at almost any sporting goods supply store that sell fishing tackle. I have also seen reels for sale at K-mart. PowerPro is available in 3 different colors, moss green, hi-vis-yellow, and white.

Fireline is also a GSP braided fishing line used by beaders. It is also very strong and comes in various test sizes. You can purchase Fireline, also, at almost any sporting goods store that sells fishing tackle. I have also purchased reels of Fireline at K-mart. Fireline is one of my preferred beading mediums. I usually use 4, 6, 8, and sometimes 10 lb test. It just depends on the project that I happen to be working on. The colors of Fireline that I purchase are smoke gray, and crystal. I have also seen it at K-mart in pink and a sort of lime green but have not purchased those colors.

Nymo is my current other preferred beading medium. It is a non twisted fiber. It is easy to thread and fairly strong. You can purchase nymo thread in small bobbins or large spindals. It comes in a rainbow variety of colors. The 3 biggest drawbacks to nymo are that it stretches while you are beading, so pre-stretching your thread is definitely recommended. The other drawback is that the thread does tend to fray if you have to repeatedly fix mistakes in your beadwork. So when the thread does start to fray, I recommend tying off and weaving in a new length of thread in order to continue your beadwork project. The 3rd drawback is that nymo is not waterproof. So you do not want to get any beadwork made with nymo wet. Nymo thread comes in various thicknesses, E, D, C, B, A, 0, 00. E is the thickest thread size on down to 00 which is the thinnest.

There are many more types of thread that are used for beading. The ones listed above are just the ones that I am most familiar with. But as you can now see the choices for beading thread has come a long way from the days when beaders used dental floss. Beaders are now able to retire the dental floss as a beading medium and now it can go back to its original purpose, flossing our teeth.

I invite you to visit my picturetrails website “Bead Between The Lines.” You just might find something there that you like or something that will inspire you. And, please, take a moment to sign my guestbook.


http://www.picturetrail.com/bead_between_the_lines

I am also on now on myspace.

http://www.myspace.com/beadbetweenthelines

2 comments:

Melanie said...

Fabulous information. :) Love beading!

Eva Maria Keiser said...

Thank you Brenda for this excellent information.
Happy Beading!