Gemstone Beads

Beading Basics: How to Choose the Right Material to String Your Bead

Beading can seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be! Stringing beads gives your jewelry or craft projects an instant boost in style, whether you’re making bracelets or earrings or anything else you can imagine. Knowing what type of string to use can help you make the most of your creativity and design your perfect piece. In this article, we will go over wholesale gemstone beads stringing basics and how to choose the right material to string your beads.

Finding the right material for beading

There are tons of materials that can be used for beading. It’s fun and challenging finding the right one for your jewelry pieces. Before deciding on a material, think about how you want the material to look and what type of setting (metal or plastic) will go best with it. Most importantly, try it out before committing—materials such as glass beads and wire are tricky since they aren’t soft enough for everyday wear. If you decide on beads made from metal, remember that most alloys tarnish over time. This is an easy fix though; simply rub some clear nail polish over them after stringing your bead so they don’t get scratched when worn. This also works well if you just want to keep your favorite piece looking new longer.

What materials can you use?

When selecting materials for stringing beads, there are a few things you need to consider before making your selection. Some materials are better suited for particular applications than others, and knowing what each material is capable of can help you make an informed decision about which one is right for you. Here’s a quick overview of some of our most popular stringing materials and when they are best used. Our customers have also found success using these types of materials in creative ways. There are no set rules as to what materials you should use, but there are certainly several guidelines that will help guide your decisions and maximize your results. Remember that all materials come with their unique advantages and disadvantages; how you choose to incorporate them into your projects will depend on how much weight you want to give those advantages or disadvantages.

Leather, string, and thread

Leather can provide a rugged and elegant look. It is difficult to sew, however, and tends to require special threading needles. Leather is ideal for bead necklaces or bracelets but should not be used with small beads because they will quickly wear down, leaving your piece looking shabby. If you are stringing larger beads onto leather cord, remember that all leathers have their unique stretch capacity, so select appropriately sized beading thread accordingly. Suede, ribbon, and silk: Suede has more flexibility than leather does. It’s also easier to sew than leather is; just be sure to use a fine needle designed specifically for sewing suede.

Thread and yarn

Thread is generally stronger than yarn, but the yarn is easier to work with. If you’re stringing beads onto a thread or yarn, there are two basic types of knot you can use—the single-knot and double-knot. The single-knot works well for thin threads and yarns (i.e., sewing thread). For thicker threads or yarns, you should use a double-knot. If you’re using thick strings or yarns, make sure your knots are big enough to accommodate them; otherwise, they might slip right through! This isn’t an issue if you have multiple strands of thinner material threaded through your bead. Another consideration when choosing a thread or yarn is its thickness about your bead size. If you’re working with large beads, it doesn’t matter how much your thread or yarn sags between each bead because they will support each other—but smaller beads may not be able to support a long strand of thread or yarn, so keep that in mind when choosing materials.

Waxed thread or wire

The most common material for stringing beads is nylon thread or wire. These materials are both very durable and have a slick texture that makes them easy to thread into large holes. Nylon wire is generally stronger than thread, but it’s also stiffer and harder to use when you’re working with large beads. Waxed thread is easier to work with, but it also has a shorter lifespan than waxed wire. The wire is often coated in beeswax to prevent tangling. This means that it can be unwound from spools without needing scissors or wire cutters, which makes it much more convenient to use while bead-stringing. You should choose waxed thread if you need flexibility and strength in your string; otherwise, go with plain old unwaxed thread (it’s cheaper).

Metals including silver, gold, copper, brass, and aluminum

Silver is a very soft metal, and it can become dented with too much wear. Gold is softer than silver but less likely to become damaged. Copper, brass, and aluminum are common in handmade beaded jewelry because they’re all lightweight metals that won’t clog your bead holes and make them unusable. It also doesn’t matter if you need to resize or repair your piece of jewelry—copper and aluminum can easily be worked with ordinary tools. *For beginners, we recommend starting with copper or aluminum.* *Some people don’t like working with silver due to its color.

Natural objects including shells, stones, and bones

What sets shells, stones and bones apart from plastic or acrylic beads is their authenticity. These materials help you express a personal and unique style—much like natural wholesale gemstones, these items have variations, in colors, size, and shape. What’s more, beading with natural objects doesn’t require any special tools; simply string them on cotton or silk cord or even dental floss as if they were plastic beads. People have been using natural beads for thousands of years; ancient civilizations used sea shells and turquoise as currency. And while there are many ways to incorporate these materials into your designs (for example, you can use them whole or cut them into shapes), it’s important to remember that they may not last forever.


If you want to create professional-looking beaded jewelry, it’s important that you choose a quality stringing material. In addition to adding character and value, your choice of thread also can contribute greatly to a finished product that’s as durable as it is beautiful.