How to Choose the Right Type of Beading Thread For Your Project!

“What beading thread should I use?” This age-old question about bead weaving stumps many beginning bead weavers as well as some more advanced weavers. It’s not uncommon for people to first ask what size of thread they need for their project, but actually nearly all of the threads at FusionBeads.com will fit through even our smallest size 15 seed beads! We do carry very thin thread (Size OO Nymo, Size AA Superlon) and very thin beading needles (sizes 13-15), but they are intended mostly for projects that incorporate antique seed beads, which we don’t carry at FusionBeads.com. The real issue to worry about when choosing your thread is which type of thread to use, not which size. That’s why I have worked with some of FusionBeads.com’s finest bead weaving experts to come up with a list of important factors in a weaving project that can affect what type of beading thread you should use:

If your project includes sharp-edged beads, such as crystals, semi-precious stones or bugle beads…
You will want to use a thread with a very strong, durable fiber. FireLine Braided Bead Thread, made of gel-spun polythylene, is perfect for this. PowerPro Braided Bead Thread, a thread first created for the fishing industry, is another durable braided thread that will work well for sharp-edged beads. Both of these threads are highly durable when compared to fiber threads that can fray and tear when used with sharp-edged beads. Both FireLine and PowerPro can be difficult to cut, so make sure to use very sharp scissors on them. When you are weaving with sharp beads, make sure that you don’t rub the thread against the edges of the beads when you pull it through or the integrity of the thread can be compromised. If you are using sharp-edged beads on a project that will move or rub a lot, such as near the clasp on a bracelet, you will absolutely need to use one of the threads recommended otherwise you should make sure to pass your thread through the beads multiple times to reinforce the project.

If your thread will be visible when your project is finished, whether your beads are transparent or you are using right angle weave, square stitch, or another stitch with visible thread…
You will most likely want to use a clear beading thread, so your best bet is to use Crystal Clear FireLine, which does have a slightly milky white coloring. Sometimes you can use colored thread to accent your piece, which works especially well with transparent beads. If you want to use colored thread, you’ll find a huge selection of colors in the Nymo Nylon Thread, K.O. Beading Thread, Superlon Nylon Beading Thread and Silamide Nylon Thread. Each of these threads is made from nylon fiber, so you should treat them with a thread conditioner before use to avoid fraying and tangling.

If you want your project to be sculptural or hold a tight form…
Your best choice will be FireLine, because it creates a very stiff form and can be pulled to a tight tension very easily. You can use nearly any beading thread to create a sculptural piece as long as you are careful to keep the tension very tight as you work.

If you want your project to have a nice flexible drape…
Your best choice will be a fibrous thread, such as Nymo, K.O., Superlon or Silamide. Just as I mentioned that any piece can be created with tight form as long as the tension is tight, the opposite is also true. If you want to create a more flexible piece with a nice drape, your main concern will be keeping a consistent, loose tension as you work.

If your project is made with a basic weaving technique, such as flat peyote, netting, herringbone, etc…
We generally recommend FireLine, as it is used in most of our Inspiration pieces. However, many of these basic techniques which are made with seed beads do not require a very strong thread, so you can use any thread that you would like! The more bead weaving projects that you do, the more you will develop preferences for certain types of thread. Some people will only use FireLine or Nymo, some will swear by K.O. and some will tell you that Superlon is the only thread for them. Try these basic techniques with all different threads and find out which threads you prefer. It’s the perfect opportunity!

If your project is made with bead embroidery…
Again, you can use whichever thread you find that you prefer. We recommend that you use FireLine if you are using crystals or bugle beads with bead embroidery, but you do not need to adhere to this if you are using smoother-edged beads. Although I have mentioned that you should use thread conditioner when working with nylon thread, a lot of people choose not to do this when working with bead embroidery because they don’t like to get the conditioner on their fabrics and there is generally a lower chance of fraying on a piece that’s embroidered as it doesn’t usually rub on the skin or move a lot.

If you want to sew crystals onto fabric…
You should use a thread that matches the color of your fabric, rather than your beads. If you are using crystals, we recommend FireLine (as if you haven’t heard it enough!), but it only comes in clear, smoke or lime green colors. For all other beads or for smoother crystal sew-on stones, you can use whichever thread that you prefer in a suitable color.

If your project is made with a loom…
Your thread will show, so you will most likely want to use a thread that is available in a variety of colors. Loomwork is traditionally done with fiber threads as they produce a very nice drape. Try using Nymo, K.O., Superlon or Silamide.

Good Luck with your weaving projects! – Sara

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