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 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 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’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

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


    Hi Liz! We would definitely recommend doubling up on your Fireline or Wildfire thread when making wrap bracelets. Check out our technique page for making wrapped cord bracelets here:

  • Hello,

    Thank you for the great post on different threads to use. I am wanting to make mala necklaces/beads and I read that the string you use needs to be able to withstand 30 lbs. Do you know what the weight restrictions are on the Fireline? Also, does Fireline cord come in different thicknesses?

    Thanks again!



    Hello Natalie from Fusion Beads! These are really excellent questions and we would love to help you! Please email your questions to your Customer Support Team at They will be able to answer your questions about Fireline and the other threads we offer on our website. Happy beading!

  • Brandy Burnett

    I am wanting to do some bead work to put on bridles and halters for my horses. I def need a durable thread bc it takes a lot of use and abuse. So what thread should I use. Most likely they will be glued or sewed onto leather. Thanks in advance.

  • Karen

    I would like to point out that crystal bicones will cut fireline, so I don’t recommend using it for them. Probably K thread or Slon may be better. If anyone else has a better idea please comment.


    Hi Brandy. Thank you for your inquiry regarding beaded horse tack. I’ve had the best results in my projects like this when I’ve used One-G Beading Thread. This strong nylon thread is shred-resistant and has an anti-tangle coating that makes it easy to work with. FireLine is also a good choice.

    Once your beadwork is finished I’d recommend finishing it with a clear spray sealant like Krylon before it’s set in the tack or collar. This will help preserve your completed work as it’s exposed to temperature and moisture changes. You can find Krylon spray at most art supply or hardware stores.


    Hi Karen, thank you for your post! We find FireLine works very well with beads that have sharp edges. However, stringing materials are often selected based upon a person’s preference so we certainly encourage beaders to use what works best for them. If you find your thread is breaking try doubling it up. Also try to avoid scraping the thread along the edge of the bead as you weave. This will help prevent breakage.

  • It’s an remarkable piece of writing for all the online users; they
    will get benefit from it I am sure.

  • Please tell me what thread and needle to use to make the wavy flag bracelet using 11 toho glass beads


    Hello Shelley! If you have questions about a project, please contact the Fusion Beads customer support department. They’d be happy to help and can be reached at Happy Beading!

  • Merle

    I am making using the right angle weave technique to make a pair of earrings, it requires multiple passes through seed beads 11/0 and 15/0, plus bicones. I need needles sizes and ideal thread for this project, and getting the items on time is important. I am making these for my daughter in law and I leave 22 April 2018, please advise…

  • Merle

    Don’t want to spend a ton on shipping.


    Hi Merle – Please contact our customer support team for product questions. They’ll be happy to help! You can reach them at

  • LadyT

    What type of thread should I use waist beading ?


    Hi LadyT, thank you for your question. We are happy to provide you with some thread recommendations. Please tell us a little bit more about your project so we can provide the best product for your needs! You can reach our Customer Support team directly at

  • Nice post. I used to be checking continuously this blog and I’m inspired!

    Very useful info particularly the ultimate part :) I take care of
    such information a lot. I was seeking this certain information for a very long time.
    Thank you and good luck.

  • I am looking for the answer which Lady T had asked about what type of thread to use for waist beading. It is like wearing a necklace around your waist. I would also like to know which thread and size to use for 6/0 beads.

    Thank you in advance,
    Mz Dimples


    Hi Mz Dimples, we do encourage the use of either Clear Stretch Magic Cord or beading wire.

  • lynne stuart

    Which is the best thread for seed beads size 15?
    Thank you


    Hi Lynne, great question! We would recommend either 4lb Fireline in any color of your choosing or Nymo. These will allow for many passes through size 15 seed beads and keep their strength.

  • Premi

    Hi… I use thin nylon thread for my beadwork, but I find the thread so fine and the holes are bigger. It’s so tough to get it tight. Please tell me what kind of threads should I use?
    Thank you


    Hi Premi, great question! We tend to use Fireline as it’s a monofilament that is strong and does not budge once you’ve tightened your work. It is also fine enough to allow for multiple passes through small beads. If the holes are really large, potentially using a thicker stringing material may be in order.

  • Amber Izquierdo

    Thank You so much for this informative article. I have been making Mala beads for many years now. I prefer to knot between each bead. One issue I keep running into though is when I use nylon thread the cord becomes almost relaxed. Not as tight as when I first strung it. I’m at a loss as to what else I could use that would still look nice and work well when knotting. Any advice?


    Hi Amber! This is an amazing question! We run into it with many types of stringing material that can stretch over time and use. What we have found is pre-stretching the cord helps to stop this in its tracks.

    To Pre-stretch, remove the amount of stringing material you’re going to use for your design. Then attach it to a heavy object and hang it. The cord will stretch out. The longer it hangs (24 – 48 hours) the more it’ll stretch and reduce the amount of stretching over time.

    We hope this helps you!

  • Janet Fuller

    I am adding small round seed beads to a cross stitch pattern. should I use thread that is the color of the fabric, or the bead? The piece is designed to lay flat and the beads are not angular or rough. Is DMC white sufficient?


    Hi Janet, in this regard, you would want the thread to blend in with the fabric. DMC is sufficient for regular beads, you would only consider heavier thread or a monofiliment thread, like fireline, if working with crystals or gemstones.

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