Japanese Bead Knotting

  • The beads look better. The knots space the beads, allowing you to see each bead better
  • Beaded necklaces and bracelets that have been knotted have a more finished and expensive look
  • If the necklace ever breaks while your customer is swirling around on the dance floor, only one bead will be lost
  • The necklace is less likely to break. The sharp part of the bead hole tends to wear against the reinforced knot, not the thin bead cord
  • Softer bead materials (such as pearls, malachite, or coral) are prevented from rubbing together and abrading the sides of the beads
  • The necklace costs less to make since fewer beads are required (1-1/2mm per bead). You can sell it for more, too!
Forget everything you know about bead knotting.
Selecting cord:

Color: Select cord to match the color of the beads.

Type: Silk is the preferred cord for knotting. Nylon cord will work when a stronger, thicker cord is necessary.

Thickness: Use a thickness of cord that when doubled (2 strands) fits snugly inside your bead. For soft bead materials such as pearls, silk cord in size E or F works well. For harder materials like black onyx, garnet, or rose quartz, use nylon cord in size 2 or silk in size F for 8mm beads.

Length: You will need a length of cord at least four times the length of your finished necklace, for example, an 18" necklace will need at least 4x18=72 inches, or 6 feet.
Select two beading needles. Light-medium Big-Eye or twisted wire beading needles work well for most projects. Attach one end of your clasp to the edge of your workbench with a thumbtack. Then loop the cord through the free end of the clasp so that about 1/3 of the length is in your left hand and 2/3 is in your right hand. If you are left-handed, reverse all of the directions.
Now tie the right-hand cord around the left against the clasp with a half-hitch knot. Always make it in the same direction. This is the only type of knot you'll use for the entire job.
Thread a beading needle on each end of the cord. Pass a few inches of cord through the eye. String about a dozen beads loosely onto the left-hand cord. Wrap the loose end of that cord around the middle button on your blouse or shirt, to keep the beads from falling off. Push the first bead up to the clasp and string through it with the right-hand needle. Tie another half-hitch as before always with the right-hand cord. Pull the knot snug. Push the second bead into place, string through it with the right-hand cord, knot as before, and pull snug. Continue, stringing more beads on your left-hand cord as required. Use any mixture of beads you desire, knotting after each.

Read Step 6 before you get to the end of the necklace.
Tying off to the clasp: Do not knot the last two beads. Instead, string both cords through them. With the right-hand cord, go through the loop in the clasp that was held by the tack and come back through the last bead. Remove all slack and tie a double half-hitch knot (make 2 half hitches) between the last bead and the next-to-the-last bead. Take the left-hand cord through the clasp loop and tie a double half-hitch with it between the last bead and the clasp.

A: Pull out slack and knot here, using right-handed thread.

B: Path of threads. String each thread independently through the clasp.
Now put a tiny drop of a thin adhesive such as Hypo Tube Cement on each of the last two knots. When dry, carefully trim off the excess cords. Congratulations! You've knotted a strand just like a professional.

Have a question regarding this project? Email Customer Service.

Copyright Permissions

Permission to copy this instruction sheet is granted for non-commercial educational purposes only. All other reproduction requires written permission. Please email copyrightpermission@firemtn.com for more information.