When you make the decision to create your own beaded jewelry, choosing which beads to use is the fun part, but there is more to creating that perfect necklace than just selecting some gorgeous beads. You still must decide what material to use on to which you will string these fantastic beads and findings.
Selecting the correct type of stringing material for your jewelry projects is the most important decision you will make when creating your own pieces. You will need to take into consideration the type of jewelry you will be making: necklace? bracelet? earrings? You will want to consider the overall look and style you plan to create with your design. Finally, you must be certain your choice for stringing material is a good fit for the type and size of beads you will be using.
To help you with this most important decision, we have put together a list of some of the most popular stringing materials.

Beading Wire

The most popular stringing material is bead stringing wire. More commonly known as “Tigertail” This wire is made up of tiny stainless-steel cables twisted together and covered with a nylon coating. The nylon cover prevents the cables from tarnishing.

Beading wire is sized according to the number of strands it has. The higher the number, the more flexible the wire will be. You will need to consider the diameter of the holes in your beads as well. Beading wire varies by diameter, with the smaller wire used for lightweight beads like small pearls or seed beads. You will need a larger diameter wire for bigger beads.

Beading wire can tend to kink, and, once there is a kink in place, it is almost impossible to straighten out completely.

Monofilament Cord

Monofilament cord is often known as illusion cord. It is a clear bead stringing cord. If you are a fisherman, you will notice the similarity to fishing pole string. The name comes from the effect that it gives to the jewelry piece. The beads seem to “float” with no visible string between the beads.

Monofilament is not as strong and durable as beading wire, but it does not kink like wire will do.

Elastic Cord

Elastic Cord

This is a flexible, stretchable cord that does not require any findings to finish off a jewelry piece made with it. Elastic cord can be knotted or fused together with heat at the ends. Elastic cord is popular with informal types of jewelry and is especially useful when designing children’s jewelry. It also comes in different colors.

Silk Thread

Silk Thread

If you are going for an authentic, traditional look, then silk thread is what you will need. Silk thread is great for stringing pearls, for example, if you need to knot between the pearls. Silk thread is softer and easier to tie into knots than any other type of thread.

Silk has its drawbacks, however. Silk will tend to fray, and can stretch over time, usually between three to five years. Because of this feature of the silk, it is usually better not to use silk with the heavier beads. You will need to be prepared to restring your jewelry after a few years.

Nylon Cord

Nylon Thread

Nylon beading thread is the modern substitute for silk thread. In fact, nylon is more popular as the beading string of choice than silk. Nylon alleviates the risk of fraying, and it does not stretch as much as natural silk. You can get nylon bead threads in a variety of colors, sizes, and spool lengths.

Leather CordsLeather Bracelets

Leather Cords

If you are going for a rustic look with your jewelry design, you may want to look at simulated suede cord and leather cords as your stringing material. Leather cording is used mostly for stringing the larger, bulkier beads and pendants because of its strength and durability.

Suede cord does not require any findings to close the necklace. It can be tied with a knot and worn as a pendant. If you prefer findings to close off the end of your necklace, you can use coil or leather crimps. Simulated suede is generally more popular than leather because it is softer, and it can be obtained in a variety of dyed colors.

Memory WireMemory Wire Bracelets

Memory Wire

Memory wire is a coil of tempered stainless-steel wire. It is extraordinarily strong and holds its circular shape when stretched. It can stay on your wrist or neck without a clasp. To close off memory wire, all you must do is make a loop at the end of the wire or add a capping bead at the end.

When cutting memory wire, you will need hardware store wire cutters, not side cutters. Remember to wear your eye protection when cutting memory wire.