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Beading Resources > EncycloBEADia > Thread, Cord and Wire Information

 Thread, Cord and Wire Information 

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Thread

FireLine® interknitted thread for jewelry-making is designed for stringing and weaving projects. This popular jewelry-making thread does not stretch or tangle, threads effortlessly and resists abrasion from beads with sharp or rough edges. Great for use with Swarovski crystal components, seed beads and gemstone beads.

The gel-spun, polyethylene braided thread is recognized as the strongest fiber, per diameter, ever created. The advanced technology used to make FireLine interknitted thread makes it ultra-thin in diameter but three times stronger than regular monofilament. It's also UV protected so it won't deteriorate in the sunlight.

Nymo® is a nylon thread, the size of dental floss, specifically made for beading seed beads. We recommend coating your thread with beeswax or Thread Heaven® before beginning any seed or bugle bead project. It will keep the thread from fraying and help it last longer. A bobbin of "O" (fine size) contains 90 yards, "OO" (extra-fine size) contains 110 yards. Size "B" is medium and contains 72 yards. Size "D" is thicker and a bobbin contains 64 yards. We also have Nymo thread in bulk spools weighing 3 ounces. All Nymo weights are available in black and white; colors are available in "O" weight.

Kevlar is incredibly strong thread that is used to make bulletproof vests. Easy to cut, yet almost impossible to break, it is sold in 50-yard spools. Kevlar thread is sold in two colors: the natural yellow and dyed black. Use fisherman-type knots when tying Kevlar, as overhand knots weaken the strength and integrity of the thread.

Silk is used when beading "soft" gem materials such as pearls. It is also chosen for decorative use, as in weaving multicolored strands. It is soft, sleek and comes in a rainbow of colors. Sold in bulk spools and pre-carded with needle on 2-yard cards in black, white and a variety of colors. Use the colors to enhance the colors of clear beads. (For example, use rose color with rose quartz to add pink, etc.)

Silk Thread Weight Reference Chart
Bead Size
00
0
A
B
C
D
E
F
FF
FFF
Heishi
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
 
 
 
2mm
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
 
 
 
3mm
 
 
X
X
X
X
X
 
 
X
4mm
 
 
 
 
X
X
X
X
X
X
6mm
 
 
 
 
 
X
X
X
X
X
8mm
 
 
 
 
 
 
X
X
X
X
10mm
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
X
 
X
12mm
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
X
X
X



Silkon® Nylon-Bonded Thread is used for "hard" gem bead materials such as garnet, rock crystal, amethyst, etc., and also used when stringing metal beads. These materials tend to have abrasive-edged drill holes which will fray silk or softer cords. Bonded nylon comes in a wide variety of colors and knots well. Use the colors to brighten or enhance your bead color. Using white will brighten dark garnets. Using purple will help deepen the color of light amethyst. Silkon thread is sold in 20-yard and 100-yard spools without needle.

Silkon Nylon Thread Weight Reference Chart
Bead Size
#1 (smallest)
#2 (medium)
#3 (largest)
Heishi
X
 
 
2mm
X
 
 
3mm
X
 
 
4mm
X
X
 
6mm
X
X
X
8mm
 
X
X
10mm
 
X
X
12mm
 
 
X

Cord



Elastic Cord is great for slip-on jewelry--like bracelets and watch bands. Elastic cord can be knotted and used with beads with larger than 1mm diameter holes. Terminate your strands by knotting or with cord caps or cord coils and clasp.

Super Strength Parachute Necklace Cord is made from super hi-tech Spectra® fibers, which gives it less stretch (3%) when compared to most monofilaments. It is naturally waterproof and resists 100% of the sun's damaging ultraviolet radiation. It has a tensile strength 10 times stronger than steel, with superior abrasion resistance.

C-Thru® ''Cord '' is a woven clear nylon cord (like fishing line, but not just a single strand). It's great for clear beads, such as Austrian crystal, where you want little or no cord color to show through. It may also be used where you would use nylon cord. It knots well and can be used with bead tips.

Stretch Floss Cord retains its shape memory longer than other elastic beading cords. It takes and holds knots well.

Invisible Beading Cord is clear and nearly undetectable to the naked eye. Perfect for illusion-style necklaces.

Satin Cord is woven from manmade fibers in three sizes: 2mm (rattail), 1.5mm (mousetail) and 1.0mm (bugtail). Colorfast satin cord available in limited colors and weights.

Macramé Beading Cord is available in a variety of colors. It resists fraying, threads smoothly and holds knots with ease, but is not colorfast.

Hemp Beading Cord is available in a variety of weights and package sizes. It is extremely uniform, fray resistant, knots easily and maintains shape well under normal wear. Our hemp beading cord is colorfast.

Waxed Cotton Cord is tightly woven and waxed for ease of beading. Cotton cord takes and holds knots well. Testing for colorfastness is recommended.

Suede Lace Leather Cord is made from genuine leather. Color will vary in different dye lots. Testing for colorfastness is recommended.

Leather Cord has a smooth, round cross-section. It is made from genuine leather and permanently dyed so it is colorfast.

Imitation Leather Cord is a woven round cord, stronger and more uniform than animal leather. Made of biodegradable cotton. Takes and holds knots well. This cord is not colorfast.

Imitation Sinew is spun from a continuous filament of polypropylene fiber for 60-lb. breaking strength. It is waxed and easy to split.

Imitation Silk Cord is woven from a cotton/polyester blend and is not colorfast.

Wire

Beading Wire (Accu-Flex® and Acculon®) is a twisted stainless steel wire with a plastic coating. Accu-Flex wire is an excellent choice for abrasive beads and gives an appealing drape to lightweight beads such as gemstone heishi, liquid gold or liquid silver and bugle or seed beads. It is also sold in thicker weights to accommodate larger, heavier bead strands. Begin and end strands by using crimp beads or crimp clasps. Acculon is great for beads with sharpened holes. No beading needle required.

Memory Wire is rigid and pre-coiled wire which makes simple and stylish finger and toe rings, bracelets and necklaces. This genuine stainless steel wire won't rust like ordinary cold-rolled steel memory wire sold by others. Easy to use: just make a loop on one side, string on beads and finish with a loop or a 1/2 drilled bead. Use in single loops or multi-loop combinations.

Precious Metal Wire is used for wire-wrapping, chain-making and other jewelry construction. Available in two metals (gold-filled, sterling silver and argentium), in three shapes (round, half-round and square) and in three hardnesses (dead soft, half-hard and full hard).
Dead Soft Wire is extremely malleable and can be bent easily into a myriad of shapes. It does not hold its shape in stress situations, such as clasps.


Half Hard Wire is malleable; however, it will maintain an intricate shape under moderate stress. Useful for weight-bearing parts of wire wrapped jewelry.


Full-Hard Wire holds its shape for wire-wrapping jewelry. Its tempered nature holds intricate designs well. Excellent for clasps.

Super-Thin Beading Wire is 34-gauge wire for beading projects which comes in gold and silver color spools; each spool contains 24 yards. Use it for forming shapes, weaving around findings or making dream catchers. Because the thread is so fine, this wire will accommodate almost any drill hole. It is to be used for lightweight beads only (bugle or seed beads) as it is very thin and does not have much tensile strength.

Wrapit® Wire for Wire-Wrapping is soft and easy to shape--it is considered dead soft which is the most pliable type of jeweler's wire. The wire has an anti-tarnish coating for a long-lasting shine and is packaged on a reusable plastic spool for convenient storage.

Wrapit is available in three colors that each simulate the look of precious metal:
  • ''Jeweler's bronze,'' also known as ''Merlin's gold'' or ''red brass,'' is a favorite among jewelry designers for its exceptional durability and medium gold color (85% copper and 15% zinc).
  • ''Nickel silver,'' commonly known as ''German silver,'' emulates the gleam of sterling silver and the elegance of brass (65% copper, 18% nickel and 17% zinc).
  • ''Bright copper'' is a true-color, solid copper wire (99% copper and 1% alloy) for easy wrapping and handling.
Wrapit wire is available in 20-gauge, 22-gauge, 24-gauge, 26-gauge and 28-gauge.


Zebra Wire™ is a colored copper wire specially designed for wire-wrapping projects. The copper material is electroplated, then sprayed with an enamel coating and finished with a protective lacquer, making it both flexible and durable. Artists can incorporate any of the following nine colors of Zebra Wire into designs: black, silver, gold, brown, natural, sapphire blue, green, magenta and red. All wire is on easy-to-use spools in 10- to 50-yard lengths and is available in seven gauges: 18, 20, 22, 24, 26, 28 and 30.


Customer Comments

We would like to share some of the customer comments we received in response to the article, "Thread, Cord and Wire Information," featured in a newsletter. Please keep in mind that the comments expressed below are those of our customers and do not reflect the views of Fire Mountain Gems and Beads.

"For the first time I found an article that states just what each type of beading material should be used for and what they are made out of! It was the most informative article that I have ever read. Thank you so much! Sincerely,"
- Karen

"Just wanted to send you a quick note to let you know how much I appreciate all your information and charts that are made available for all of us "artists" out there!!! Thanks a million!! All of this information just makes our jobs (or hobbies, etc.) so much easier. Love your site and your products."
- Marcy

"I have just printed out the thread, cord and wire information which is going to be immensely helpful, please keep your tip and helpful info coming, good work and my congratulations to the team who put the information together. Thank you so much. Regards,"
- Dawn

"I appreciated the stringing info from the "encyclobeadia" and to know the differences in wires. I'm trying to learn wire wrapping and this helps decide what to use that is best for my project. Thank you!"
- Suzie

"The article is very informative and helpful. It is good for beginners like me. Thanks."
- Smith

"Thanks SO much for this reference summary on wire, thread, and cord. All of these reference resources I have received from you have been most helpful. I print them out and keep them in a special binder.

This one, in particular, was useful because I tend to stick to what I always use. Now I have more info about what I might try to go in new directions. Cordially,"
- Evie

"Thank you so very much for your instructional/informational pages. I copy and save them as my guides for guiding my creative impulses toward better beading et cetera. Please continue to teach us."
- Anastasia
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