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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Different Types of Stringing Material

By Gary A Capps 

There are various kinds of material needed in making jewelry, and choosing the right kind for you is very important. One of the most important materials is the string, whether it is for a necklace, bracelet, or anklet you want to make. Selecting the right stringing materials is a must. When choosing the right string for your jewelry, you have to consider the type of jewelry you want to create, the style and design you want to achieve, and the type and size of the beads you will use.

Some of the most common stringing materials for you to choose from are: 

  • Bead Stringing Wire 
  • Illusion Cord/Monofilament 


  • Elastic Cord
  • Nylon Thread 
  • Silk Thread 
  • Leather Cord 
  • Memory Wire

Bead stringing wire, is one of the most popular stringing material in jewelry making. This wire is composed of stainless steel cables inside a nylon coating to prevent tarnishing. Soft Flex®, Accu-Flex®, and Beadalon® are the main brands of bead stringing wire. Before using wire you will need to learn how to crimp and other techniques as well as jewelry making tools and their proper usage and maintenance.

Before buying wire, you must consider the flexibility you will need for your design. The higher the number of strands, the more flexible the wire would be. For example, a 7 strand wire has some flexibility, a 19 strand wire is more flexible, and a 49 strand is the most flexible. If you're looking for very stiff wire, choose Tiger Tail wire. This kind of wire is not as flexible as other beading wire. Beading wire also varies in diameter. Wires having a diameter of 0.13 or 0.14 are for lightweight beads like seed beads and small pearls, while wires with a diameter of 0.16 or 0.18 are for bigger beads.

Elastic cord, a flexible, stretchable cord commonly use in making informal type of jewelry. In using an elastic cord, you don't have to worry about needing any findings to finish off a jewelry piece. The end of this cord can be knotted or fused together. One of the common brands of elastic cords available in the market is Stretch Magic™.

Nylon thread is the modern alternative to silk. Unlike silk, nylon doesn't fray nor stretch as much as natural silk. And nylon is more popular today compared to silk. Main brands of nylon treads are Griffin® and C-lon®. These brands are available in a wide range of colors, sizes, and spool lengths.

Silk, this is commonly use in traditional way of stringing beads. This type of string is perfect when stringing valuable pearls where you have to do knot in
between the pearls. Silk is easier to knot than any other thread because it is soft. However, silk frays and stretched when used over 3-5 years. The main brands of silk are Gudebrod® and Griffin®. If you want to string pearls sizes of string like Griffin® size 5 or 6, and Gudebrod® size E are highly recommended. Silk is no good for heavy beads.

Leather cords, this kind of cord along with simulated suede are very popular when creating a rustic look and this cord is commonly use to string heavier pendants because it has more strength and high durability. Suede could be tied in knot and worn with a pendant. In suede necklace, you can use coil or leather crimps in finishing off. Simulated suede is more popular compared to leather cord because it is softer and it's compatible to more consistent dye colors.

Memory wire, this is a coil that has very strong tempered stainless steel wire. If you want to make quick and easy necklaces and bracelets, this is definitely what you
will be using. This can stay on your neck or wrist without a clasp. In finishing off a memory wire, just make a loop at the end of the wire or you can glue a capping bead at the end of the wire. Don't use side cutters in cutting memory wire; just use hardware store wire cutters. Just remember to protect your eyes when cutting this wire.

Now, if you are still looking for other alternative stringing materials you can use in your jewelry making, here are some other stringing materials: satin cord, hemp thread, ribbon, black rubber cord, waxed linen, and rattail. As with most things, all your supplies can be found online at various online stores. One of the most popular is eBay where you can find all you stringing materials, clasps as well as anything else you need. Most jewelry uses some sort of beads so use eBay to find cheap beads.

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