On this page, we run through the most popular bead stringing materials and threads for creating handmade jewellery designs. Choosing a thread depends on the design you have in mind and is determined by the style, weight and desired durability of the design.
We take a look at elastic, memory wire, Flex-Rite wire, illusion cord, FireLine, hemp cord, leather thonging, silkon thread, silk thread, beading chain and metal wire. Providing an insight into each material, the advantages of using them as well as sharing with you our favourite projects and tutorials.
We hope you find this helpful and it gives you some inspiration to try new materials and techniques!
All of the threads and materials featured below are available to purchase on our website. You can also find all of the jewellery making supplies, including tools, findings and beads you need to complete your designs online too. Not to mention lots of free wire wrapping and beading tutorials to follow!
If you have any questions about our products or need some advice on your next project, get in touch with our friendly team who will be happy to help.
Elastic is a popular threading material for affordable beaded jewellery designs, especially at the start of your jewellery making journey where minimal skill is needed. Usually available as a clear colour, this stretchy cord is great for creating bracelets and can be easily secured with a simple knot and glue. This inexpensive threading material is great for children wishing to have a go at jewellery making - with adult supervision of course! We recommend opting for the thickest cord you can to work with your chosen beads to add security to your design.
Stretch Magic is our go-to elastic thread and it's the world's best selling flexible resistant elastic bead and jewellery cord. It is a strong elastic which is durable and won't crack or harden over time.
Another favourite of ours is memory wire! This is a great material that makes it so easy for creating single or multi-loop eye-catching bracelets, chokers and even rings. It is a rigid, thick pre-coiled wire which holds its shape and is great for combining with your favourite gemstone and metal beads.
It's also really easy to finish the ends, you could simply glue on memory wire end bead or your choice of half drilled beads. Or alternatively, you can use round nose pliers to create a loop at the end of the wire to act as a stopper, which you can also use to dangle charms from! As the wire is thick, you will need heavy duty side cutters to cut this.
Flex-Rite jewellery wire is brilliant for floating bead necklace designs, hanging pendants and for general stringing to add sparkle and shine! It consists of multiple strands of stainless steel with a nylon coating, offering strength to your designs and resists kinking and no compromise on flexibility. It is also available in a range of colours and diameters to suit your designs. It is loved within the jewellery community for its similarities to thread whilst holding the same strength as wire. As you cannot knot Flex-rite wire, the best way to fasten this is to use crimps.
Illusion cord is made up of clear nylon monofilament cord, offering a strong yet soft stringing material that is durable.
It is clear coloured and nearly invisible, making it ideal for creating 'floating' jewellery designs or if you want your stringing material to be hidden. Suitable to use with glue, crimps and other findings.
FireLine by is a fantastic beading thread and is suitable for use with a wide variety of different beads such as pearls, metal seed beads, bugle beads, crystals, gemstone beads and off-loom bead weaving. It is a fine yet incredibly strong thread that is suitable to use with beads with small holes. It also resists tangling, stretching and abrasion from sharp beads, plus another bonus is that it is UV protected so won't deteriorate with exposure to sunlight like some other materials.
Hemp cord is a natural, biodegradable and eco-friendly choice for a bead stringing material. Hemp is a versatile material that is durable and strong, making it ideal for the use of macramé, kumihimo, knotted bracelets, necklace cords as well as other crafts such as card making, hang tags, gardening and packaging-to name just a few! Great for texture lovers, hemp cord is available in a range of colours and our favourite way to finish your designs is by using a sliding knot.
Cotton cord is a great choice for hanging pendants and making bracelets. It is available in a range of vibrant colours and can easily be knotted to create interesting designs. As well as coloured cotton, we also offer black cotton cord available here.
Our micro fibre suede cord is a great alternative to real suede cord, it is incredibly soft yet strong which makes it ideal for creating necklaces, bracelets and anklets and it won't crack or fray over time. Available in a range of beautiful colours on our website.
Leather thonging has always been a popular choice for creating modern and stylish jewellery designs with large holed beads and knotting techniques. It's a popular choice among mens and unisex jewellery designs. An advantage of using leather thonging is that it's available in a range of thicknesses and colours, plus it doesn't fray which makes it suitable for using alongside beads, end caps and clasps.
Silkon thread is a bonded synthetic fibre that does not fray or stretch and can be used without a needle to create beautiful jewellery designs. It's a heavyweight thread which makes it suitable to use with a wide range of gemstone and metal beads. Silkon thread is often available in a range of bright colours to choose from, so you can get creative with a range of styles! Can be easily finished using knots or with crimps and a clasp.
At Kernowcraft, we offer 0.4mm silkon thread in a range of beautiful colours, available as a reel or 3m card
Silk thread is a popular choice for stringing pearls and gemstone beads with small holes for a traditional look. Silk thread is incredibly soft and smooth while also offering strength to your designs. Making necklaces using silk thread allows your design to drape naturally, creating an elegant and pretty result.
Griffin natural silk bead stringing thread is a popular choice among jewellers and is available in a range of diameters and colours. The silk comes with an attached needle so there is no need to double over the thread when bead stringing, making it much easier to thread beads, especially with small holes.
We love using beading chain to create minimal and modern designs. Ideal for stringing small holed beads, beading chain offers more strength and durability compared to other threads. The links on this beading chain are small and closely connected allowing appropriately sized beads to be strung onto it. Once you have selected your beads, simply add crimp ends and a clasp to finish.
Metal wire is also a great medium to use for creating jewellery using beads. Available in a range of metals and diameters, our go-to is sterling silver round wire as it's a lovely and soft metal to work with which makes it easy to manipulate into shape. Our favourite way to use wire is through wire-wrapping techniques, which offers endless possibilities for designs. We recommend checking out our wire wrapping tutorial and advice pages to find out more.
If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch with our friendly team who will be more than happy to give you advice over email or on the phone.
You can learn more and find inspiration by visiting our Jewellery Making Tutorials, Jewellery Making Kits and YouTube Channel. Don't forget to follow us on social media and tag us in your designs on Instagram & Facebook, we would love to see!