How to thread beads and make jewelry

Threading beads is easy, but it does help to know a few tricks if you are going to add a clasp or if you are planning on knotting between each bead for a necklace.


Minimum materials needed:

Beads, Beading Thread, Beading Needle, Super Glue & Stretchy Elastic for Bracelets

Other things to consider: Bead Measure, Beading Tray, Chain Nose Pliers, Clasp and Bead Tips & Bees Wax for Thread.

You can find all kinds of great uses for beaded jewelry. For example, you could use flat beads to dress up wedding invites or if your wedding invitations include a notice about a wedding shower, you could have a beading party and simply print out this page as instructions. On a budget? Consider sending a beaded necklace or bracelet in your wedding colors along with the wedding invitations to your bridal party. Store-bought necklaces are expensive, but if you buy the components yourself you can make very beautiful, inexpensive designs that are sure to be cherished!



The best way to design a necklace is to work with a beading tray. You can set up all your beads on the tray and move them around to come up with the best design. If you don't have a beading tray, use a towel. That way they won't roll off the table Ė beads have a habit of finding the floor!  If you want a clasp in your necklace, arrange the pattern so that it will take the place of a bead that is in the center of a group of beads - and consider where the clasp will go when designing.  Fishhook clasps are the most common, but a round push-in box-type looks best.  If your necklace will be 26 inches or longer, you donít need a clasp.


Itís attractive to mix different sizes of beads in a necklace, and sometimes varying types of beads too. One beautiful large bead looks nice as a focal point.  However, this will affect the weight of thread you use, since different types of beads have different hole sizes.  You need thread that is thin enough to allow the beads through Ė but also heavy enough to form a knot that the bead canít slip over.  Try different cords and if necessary double to ensure you get a big enough knot.  Silk is the best cord for pearls and gemstones, giving the necklace a more graceful drop.  Nylon like fishing line is best for glass bead necklaces - cheaper and stronger than silk, but slightly harder to work.  If you plan on knotting between the beads, then choose the color of the cord carefully.


Once your beads are arranged and the thread cut to about 6-inches longer than you plan the necklace (or twice as long if you intend to knot), you are ready to string.   Itís best to use a beading needle. Twisted wire needles are best as they have a loop at the end that threads easily and then flattens out to fit through the beads. They are available in different sizes. For pearls you will need a finer needle, but for most projects a medium size is ideal.


If you want to use a clasp, then string a bead tip first, but the clasp itself goes on last.  The bead tip size depends on your thread, but a 3.5mm tip fits most.  First attach one end of your cord to the bead tip with a knot, crimp the tip closed, and cut the excess cord away with pliers.


To knot or not to knot is up to you.  Knotting makes the necklace drape nicely and it stops the beads from rubbing against each other or getting lost if the necklace breaks. Knots also add to the length of your necklace, so you need less beads.  Start your necklace with the right length of doubled thread and tie a knot at the end. Then you can begin to string your beads. The first bead that you string must have a hole that is wide enough to allow you to string the thread through it twice. This is because when you finish the necklace you will be pulling the thread back through this first bead.




Bracelets using elastic, to go with a necklace, only take a few minutes to make and are a great way to use up the few extra beads left over.  Arrange the beads to form a 7 inch long bracelet as standard.  Once you have your beads arranged take your spool of elastic and string the beads without cutting a length of elastic. This will keep your beads in place.  To finish, a larger complementary bead for the end looks attractive. Pull both ends of the elastic through this bead, and then pull both ends through a small crimp bead. Then flatten the crimp bead with pliers to secure the beads.


To help you make jewelry, go to our bead store: click here