Bead Stringing Q and A

1. Which beading wire should I choose?

Finding the right flexible beading wire for your design project can be one of the most important beading decisions you make! Keeping the following in mind may help you decide which product will work best with your design:

Diameter: Diameter is the thickness of the wire. You will see the diameter in decimal form, in fractions of an inch. Our thinnest wire is.010", and .024" is typically the largest size. Keep these sizes in mind to find the right size for the holes of the beads that you'll be stringing. The wire size you use will also depend on how many times you may need to pass through the bead.

Strands: Strands refers to the number of reinforcing stainless steel strands that are within the nylon coating of the flexible beading wire. (Strands does not refer to separate pieces of wire on the spool.) The more strands, the less likely the wire will fray or break over time and the greater the wire's resistance to kinking and becoming misshapen. The greater the number of strands, the better the overall quality of the wire (and therefore the higher the cost). A 7-strand wire has 7 strands of stainless steel twisted within the nylon coating; a 21-strand wire has three 7-strand twists within the nylon; and a 49-strand wire has seven 7-strand twists within the nylon coating.

Strength: If you're working with beads that have sharp edges around their holes (such as semi-precious stones, crystals and pearls), we recommend using a beading wire with a higher number of strands to ensure that your jewelry does not wear through the wire and break.

2. What kind of stringing material should I use to make a basic beaded necklace or bracelet?

For most basic bead stringing projects, we recommend Soft Flex or Beadalon flexible beading wire, which are made of multiple strands of stainless steel covered with nylon. Use crimp beads to securely fasten flexible beading wire to a clasp. For information on appropriate crimp beads and crimping tools to use with beading wire, please see "Which crimp bead and corresponding crimping pliers should I use with which beading wire size?"

3. Which crimp bead and corresponding crimping pliers should I use with which beading wire size?

First find the table for the crimping pliers size you want to use. Then find the beading wire size (diameter in inches) you want to use in the top row. When you look down the column for that beading wire size, you'll find one or more dots indicating the crimp bead(s) that will fit perfectly with the beading wire you have selected when the wire has been doubled.

TL1925 Euro Crimper

Beading Wire Size 0.010" 0.012" 0.013" 0.014" 0.015" 0.018" 0.019" 0.021" 0.024"
2x1mm Crimp Bead

2x1.5mm Crimp Bead

2x2mm Crimp Bead

 

TL0500 Standard Crimping Pliers

Beading Wire Size 0.010" 0.012" 0.013" 0.014" 0.015" 0.018" 0.019" 0.021" 0.024"
2x2mm Crimp Bead

2x3mm Crimp Bead

2x1mm Crimp Bead

1.25mm Crimp Bead

1.5x2mm Crimp Bead

   

1.5x3mm Crimp Bead

   
 
TL0501 Micro Crimping Pliers
 
Beading Wire Size 0.010" 0.012" 0.013" 0.014" 0.015" 0.018" 0.019" 0.021" 0.024"

1x1mm Crimp Bead

           

TL0502 Mighty Crimping Pliers

Beading Wire Size 0.010" 0.012" 0.013" 0.014" 0.015" 0.018" 0.019" 0.021" 0.024"
*3x3mm Light Crimp Bead

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3x3mm Heavy Crimp Bead

* recommended with ribbon and cord; not recommended with beading wire 

TL2932 Universal Magical Crimper

Beading Wire Size 0.010" 0.012" 0.013" 0.014" 0.015" 0.018" 0.019" 0.021" 0.024"
2x2mm Crimp Bead
       

 
TL0106 Chain Nose Pliers
To crimp twisted crimp beads, we recommend using chain nose pliers to crimp them flat.
 
Beading Wire Size 0.010" 0.012" 0.013" 0.014" 0.015" 0.018" 0.019" 0.021" 0.024"
2x2mm Twisted Crimp Bead

 

 

2x3 Twisted Crimp Bead

   

4. What is a crimping tool?

A crimping tool, used with tubular crimp beads, creates smooth, rounded crimps in a two-step process. Please see our Technique for step-by-step photos and instructions on using a crimping tool.

5. On what types of jewelry should I use 3x3mm crimp beads and pliers?

Use 3x3mm crimp beads – the largest we offer – and corresponding Mighty crimping pliers with cord, organza ribbon, satin cord or waxed cotton ribbon and especially heavy or large beads. Please see "Which crimp bead and corresponding crimping pliers should I use with which beading wire size?" for information on appropriate flexible beading wire sizes that will work with the 3x3mm crimp beads.

6. Can I use scissors to cut beading wire?

We do not recommend cutting beading wire with regular scissors, as this may damage your scissors. In addition, they may not cut the beading wire cleanly or get sufficiently close. We recommend that you use wire cutters (TL0300).

7. How do I attach a clasp to my beading wire?

To attach a clasp to a beading wire with a crimp bead, string all your beads, and then string a crimp bead. String one side of your clasp. Loop the end of the beading wire back over the clasp and slip it back through the crimp bead; pull the wire snugly. Using a crimping tool or chain-nose pliers, squeeze the crimp bead firmly. For a step-by-step picture tutorial, please see our Crimping Technique.

8. How do I use French Wire, and what size should I use?

French Wire, or bullion, is a hollow tube of tightly wound wire used to hide and strengthen the ends of flexible stringing wire, giving jewelry a clean, professional finish. Fine French Wire fits .014 fine stringing wire, Medium fits .019 medium stringing wire, and Heavy fits .024 heavy stringing wire. It is also used to reinforce silk cord used in pearl knotting. When you have finished stringing the beads, follow these easy steps on each side of your jewelry:

1. String a crimp bead.
2. Cut ¾” piece of French Wire and string onto end of wire.
3. Loop wire through one side of clasp and pass end of wire back through the crimp bead.
4. Pull wire snugly so that the crimp bead is close to the clasp, and use crimping pliers to secure your crimp bead.

For a step-by-step picture tutorial, please see our Using French Wire with Beading Wire Technique.

9. How do I use a toggle clasp if my beads are large and do not allow the toggle bar to pivot and fit through the loop?

Add an inch of chain to the bar end of your toggle, or add a few small beads to the end of the wire before attaching the bar end. The chain or small beads will give the bar sufficient space to pivot.

10. How do I string beads onto organza ribbon?

Cut the ribbon at a sharp angle and thread it through a flexible, twisted wire needle. The needle eye will compress as it passes through bead holes. You can also thread the ribbon directly through beads without a needle if you cut the ribbon at a very sharp angle.

11. How do I finish a bracelet strung on elastic cord?

Tie the ends of the cord into a square knot and dab the knot with glue. Hypo Cement (TL1202) works well because of its fine applicator point. You can also use a 2x2mm crimp bead to finish the bracelet instead. Pass both ends of the cord through the crimp in opposite directions and crimp the crimp bead flat with chain-nosed pliers.

12. How do I attach a clasp to a cord?

Two ways to attach a clasp to a cord (such as waxed cotton or silk strings) are with a cord end or a 3x3mm crimp bead. To use a cord end, slip one end of the cord into the hollow cord end, then crimp firmly with chain nose pliers. A 3x3mm crimp bead can be used with a cord as long as the cord will fit through the crimp bead when doubled. Please see our Crimping Cord Technique for instructions.

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