Chain & Cord
Discover which types of necklace wire, cording, beading thread and other stringing materials will work best for your bead stringing creations. Beadalon®, SoftFlex™ and memory wire are just the tip of the beading supplies iceberg! Learn about various sizes and types of beading and stringing thread, cord, cable and wire, from brand-name favorites like Beadalon, Soft Flex, Wildfire and Stretch Magic, to hand dyed silk ribbon, leather cord, Chinese knotting cord, and more. Natural-material stringing materials include cotton cord, waxed linen cord, and polished hemp twine - all great choices for men's jewelry as well as vegan couture. Black rubber cord and rubber tubing provide you with easy options for making timelessly stylish black necklaces and more.
Not sure where to get started? Check out our free projects and helpful guides (no blinkin' ads and no login required).
Please excuse the mess while we rearrange this page to fix duplicate/missing information & broken links.
We're in the process of integrating this info from our previous website's beading thread page (and other pages), into our upgraded website.
Wire CableBeadalon®, Soft Flex® & Soft Touch™ Beading Wires are similar to tigertail, but are stronger (often made of more strands) and have a smooth, soft-feeling plastic coating. These stringing cables do not kink unless extremely abused. The more strands they have, and the thicker the diameter, the more durable they are. Use crimp beads with crimp pliers to finish the ends.
Beadalon Jewelry Cable is similar to standard Beadalon, but is thicker and has no plastic coating. Cable can be separated, giving three to six wavy strands. Finish ends with crimp tubes w/ loops.
Beading Thread / Bead Cord
Beading thread is a staple jewelry supply for making many styles of bracelets and necklaces. But there is no single best type for all beads & beading methods. Some beading thread and cord is best for general bead stringing, and others are best for beadweaving. Some can be used for both. Choose cord type and size depending on the type of project, and the size of your beads (or more specifically, the size of their holes).
- Beadweavers need thin, strong thread, that can be woven back and forth multiple times through tiny beads. When using teensy size 15 beads and a complicated pattern, you need the thinnest thread possible. When using size 11 seed beads and a simpler pattern, you can use a little thicker cord.
- Some projects are best with beading thread that doesn't stretch... and other projects are best with beading thread that has a little "give" to it.
- When stringing necklaces and bracelets with large gemstones, trade beads, or other heavier beads, use thicker beading cord -- generally the thickest cord that fits easily through all the beads. (You may also prefer to use stringing cable, also known as beading wire or flex wire.)
- If you can't stand to thread needles, try needle-end cord, or some of the stiffer types of cord that don't require a needle, or make your own "needle" by dipping the end of the cord into a bit of glue, and then trimming at an angle.
FireLine is a pre-waxed, braided cord consisting of gel-spun polyethylene (Dyneema). It has a high tensile strength and has been recommended in numerous how-to articles on beadworking. #12 English beading needles are perfect for this cord. We highly recommend Fiskars Precision Scissors for cutting this thread. It is not machine washable.
Nymo beading thread is a popular bead cord to use for beadwork both on and off loom, and is preferred for seed beads size 12 and smaller. Choose from black and white thread in Size O, a very fine size of beading thread that is commonly used with English beading needles. Most users of Nymo prefer to condition the thread with beeswax or a synthetic thread conditioner, to help prevent fraying and tangling when weaving through the same beads multiple times. Size O Nymo is approximately 0.006" (0.15mm).
WildFire beading thread by Beadalon is ideal for working with seed beads, especially as a bead weaving thread. It is 100% waterproof, knottable, and its super-strong fibers cannot be pierced with a needle! WildFire also features a smooth, thermally bonded coating. Choose from 2 sizes that features the strength and durability of DandyLine.
Rapidly growing in popularity, TOHO One-G nylon beading thread was created specifically for bead weaving (on or off loom). It is strong and flexible, yet doesn't fray as easily as most other nylon beading threads. One of beaders' favorite features of One-G cord, is that it is preconditioned, so it doesn't require waxing.
S-Lon Japan Polyester Beading Thread is available in 0.20mm, 0.25mm and .30mm. If you have a tough time threading needles, this is the perfect stringing and beading cord for you! It's specially coated for needle-free stringing for seed bead work.
Size D Super-Lon (C Lon) nylon beading thread offers a beautiful palette of colors to satisfy your jewelry cording needs! Size D (0.3mm, or 0.012") S-Lon provides the feel of Nymo, but with more strength. It's very popular for use with size 11 seed beads. Created with parallel construction and UV resistance, Size D cord is an extremely strong nylon thread with very little stretch and very little twist. Super-Lon is also available in size #18 (0.5mm), which can be used for stringing larger beads, plus is excellent for kumihimo and micro-macramé.
Clear Supplemax is strong and clear, ideal for "floating" necklaces (illusion necklaces), bridal jewelry, and hair adornments. It is beautifully clear, with no blue tint. It's designed specifically for bead stringing and crafts, and has a much nicer look and feel than fishing line. 0.010" = 0.25mm, and .016" = 0.4mm. Please note, this clear cord is not stretchy. For clear stretchy cord, see Stretch Magic.
Needle-End Silk Cord is popular for stringing gemstones, pearls, glass beads... just about any type of bead! There is a needle built into one end of the cord, so you don't need to worry about finding a needle the right size, or threading a tiny beading needle.
- Size 2 = 0.45mm (works for most freshwater pearl beads and small gemstones beads)
- Size 4 = 0.6mm (a good general purpose size)
- Size 6 = 0.7mm (popular for stringing larger gemstones)
Bead tips are the most popular way to finish the ends of necklaces and bracelets strung on silk cord, and bullion is an attractive, but less common material for finishing the ends. (See "Related Products" tab of needle-end cord.)
Size E Silk Bead Cord is excellent for stringing all types of beads, and is especially popular for stringing gemstone necklaces (with or without knotting between the beads). It's approximately 0.325mm (0.0128") and works well with 0.23mm twisted steel wire needles. Ends are normally finished with bead tips or bullion.
Size FF Nylon No-Stretch Bead Cord: Use with size 10 or twisted-wire needles, or simply stiffen the end with superglue. Size FF is about the same size as Size 6 needle-end nylon cord. It's a nice size for stringing most materials, and goes easily through standard Czech glass beads.
One-G Toho thread (330 DTEX, 0.203mm) is about the same as size B (0.2mm).
FireLine and WildFire:
0.005" (0.13mm), 0.006" (0.15mm) and 0.008" (0.2mm)
Power Pro (out of production) was .009" (0.22mm)
Necklaces and bracelets strung on beading thread are normally finished with bead tips, which help you securely knot your cord ends, plus hide the knotted ends.
|Needle-End Cord is easy to use because a very fine needle is built onto the cord's end. Make the first necklace at the far end of the cord so the needle remains with the cord for the next necklace.Size #4 needle-end cord is popular for stringing Czech glass beads. Both the silk and nylon varieties knot well. Silk needle-end cord is a favorite for stringing larger gemstones and pearls. Bullion (French wire) is an elegant finishing method.|| Bullion (French Wire)|
|Nymo® Bead Thread requires a needle and is commonly used with English beading needles for Native American-style bead work. Size 'O' is very thin, so can go through most beads multiples times, or be doubled to make it thicker. Most beaders use beeswax to coat the cord. This keeps it from fraying and tangling as much when it repeatedly goes through tiny sharp beads.|| Bullion (French Wire)|
|SuperLon Bead Thread is thicker than Nymo, and available in a wide variety of colors. It works well for bead weaving with Japanese seed beads, and for beading on cloth or soft leather. It is commonly used with English beading needles. Most beaders coat the cord with beeswax to keep it from fraying and tangling when it repeatedly goes through small sharp bead holes.|| Bullion (French Wire)|
|WildFire™ cord by Beadalon® and FireLine by the BeadSmith are bead-weaving and stringing threads that are super strong, knottable, 100% waterproof and no fray with near zero stretch. They cannot be pierced with a needle.|| Bullion (French Wire)|
Leather & Cotton Cord
|Genuine Leather Cord is very easy to work with — string an interesting pendant with a few large-hole side beads, tie knots to hold the beads in place, and add a clasp. Or, make necklaces long enough to go over the head. Black, dark brown and natural colors are the most popular. Types of round leather cord include economical "goat-skin" leather cord and superior-quality Greek leather cord. Pre-made leather chokers (necklaces) are also available; just attach a pendant and you're done!|| Coil Ends|
Sterling End Caps
|Suede Cord & "Suede" Lace are both flat, straight-cut cords. Choose from 3mm genuine leather suede or a strong, thin (1.5mm) manmade suede-like laces. Supple genuine deer hide lace is a similar style of flat cord. Finish single strands of these types of cording with fold-over crimp ends. Finish multiple strands with bullet ends or clamp ends.|| Fold-Over Crimp Ends|
Bullet Ends Clamp Ends
|Leather Cuff Bracelets are made colored with lead-free vegetable dyes. Available in a variety of widths, lengths and colors, and complete with snap clasps, these bracelets are ready for your custom decoration. Leather strips are also available, if you want to make your leather bracelets from scratch!|| Leather-Working Tools|
Rivets & Eyelets
TierraCast Leather Accessories
|Bolo Cord is typically a braided round cord offered in vinyl, rayon and leather. For bolo ties, finish with bolo tips and bolo slides. For chokers or bracelets, the four-strand leather cord can be finished with sterling hook & eye end caps, and the vinyl cord can be finished with bullet ends.|| Bolo Tips & Slides|
Sterling End Caps
|Waxed Cotton Cord is very similar to leather cord, but since it is machine-made, it is much more regular in size and color than leather cord. Water does not seem to adversely affect waxed, flat or braided cotton cord.|| Coil Ends|
Sterling End Caps
Rubber, Plastic & Elastic
|Rubber Cording is round, flexible cording, great for showing off specialty beads and pendants. Finish the ends with sterling silver rubber cord ends and adhesive. Premade rubber chokers/necklaces are also available; just attach a pendant and you're done!|| Sterling End Caps|
Loctite Ultra Gel Control
|Hollow Rubber Tubing can be used in continuous lengths to cover an entire piece of memory wire. Or, cut the tubing into sections and string smaller-hole beads directly onto memory wire or Beadalon, between sections of black tubing. Finish with rubber-tubing end caps and glue.|| End Caps for Tubing|
Loctite Ulgra Gel Control
|SuppleMax™ is a soft, supple — but not stretchy — plastic cord. The clear style is designed for "illusion"(floating bead) necklaces, and looks good with pearls, translucent glass and gemstone beads. It is also available in black. Finish ends with crimp beads, super glue or square knots.|| Super Glue|
|Stretch Magic™ is a strong, flexible elastic cord. It is often used for "endless" crystal bead bracelets, or for nearly invisible stretchy hair bands and necklaces. Comes in clear and black. Ends may be seared (fused together), square knotted or crimped.||Crimps|
|Gossamer Floss™ and Elonga are strong, extremely stretchy multi-ply semitranslucent cord. They knot very well, and the resultant tiny square knots can often be hidden inside beads. A dot of glue helps secure knots. We suggest size-10 beading needles, or a big-eye needle such as the Igolochkoy needle/threader.|| Needles|
Fabric Cord, Ribbon & Mesh Tubing
|Rattail is a round, satin-like cord often used to show off one large centerpiece. Rough or thin edges fray this cord, so use necklace tubes instead of jump rings for backs of pendants. Single strands are usually finished with fold-over crimps, and multiple strands with bullet ends.|| Bullet Ends|
Fold-Over Crimp Ends
|Braided Nylon Cord is popular for Chinese knotting. It's normally finished with a loop and knot. Cut the cord with a Perfect-End Thread Burner to keep ends from fraying.||Thread Burners|
|Hand-dyed Silk Ribbon & Cord comes in color blends with lovely ombre. Handmade ribbons come in 32"-36" lengths with finished edges and are 1/2" wide with tapered ends. They work great for necklaces and wrapped bracelets. Handmade cords / strings are 2mm wide and 40-42" long.|
Chokers & Pendant Cords
|Magnetic Chokers are coated-steel neck rings with a strong magnetic barrel clasp. Beads with 2.7mm and larger holes can be strung over the smaller clasp end, and of course bails and jump rings can be used to hang anything else. Highly versatile — can be worn with a different bead or pendant every day!|| Split Rings|
|Wire Chokers are convenient pre-made necklace forms. Some large-hole beads may be slipped over the ends. Pendants are generally attached with jump rings or split rings, or handmade wire-wrapped attachments.|| Jump Rings|
|Nylon Necklace Cords are nice looking, unusual, and inexpensive options for displaying handmade pendants.||Thread Burners|
|Flocked Necklace Cords are sleek and inexpensive with a"velveteen" outer coating. Use a large jump ring or wire-wrap a bail to attach a pendant.|| Jump Rings|
Chain & Wire
|Metal Chain is available bulk by the spool, meter, and foot. It's also available as finished necklaces and bracelets with a clasp already attached! Use chain for everything from stringing heavy statement necklaces, to making free-form multistrand beaded chain necklaces, to linking delicate filigree findings and crystal beads.|| Jump Rings|
|Memory Wire is very strong coiled wire that retains its coiled shape. Use for chokers, bracelets, wine-glass charms and rings. Finish ends with memory-wire end caps, or use durable round-nose pliers to twist ends into loops, then dangle charms or beads from the end loops.|| Heavy-Duty Cutters|
Memory Wire Looping Pliers
Memory Wire Ends
Click here for More Finishing Methods
Click here for Tips on How to Choose a Clasp
Types of Jewelry Chain and How To Use Them
Bulk chain is sold by the spool, meter, or foot. At Rings & Things, you'll find over 400 styles, sizes, and colors! Types of bulk jewelry chain include cable chain, curb chain, rolo chain, antique chain and much more in silver plate, gold plate, brass, copper, gunmetal, white plate, sterling silver, and gold fill. Ways to use bulk chain in jewelry projects include (but are not limited to) the following:
- Make custom-length bracelets and necklaces — our finished chain necklaces and chain bracelets are great if you want standard lengths, but with bulk chain you can cut the chain to any length you want! You can make long wrap bracelets (as seen in the Tree of Life Lashed Chain & Leather Wrap Bracelet Tutorial), charm bracelets to custom fit any wrist, short chokers that sexily hug the neck, long flapper-length necklaces, and every length in between. You can even knot together several lengths of chain to create an easy and attractive focal element!
- Make statement necklaces — use multiple strands of chain to make popular bib necklaces and statement necklaces. See our Random Scraps Bib Necklace Tutorial for a good how-to example!
- Bling out with purse chain — use larger types of bulk chain to make trendy purse straps on handcrafted purses and tote bags.
- Choose unique chain styles that stand out — while finished chain necklaces and chain bracelets are handy, the types of chain you can buy them in are limited. With bulk jewelry chain, you can choose from a huge variety of styles, widths, and platings!
- Make custom-fit fashion belts — nothing could be easier than turning a fun style of chain (or two) into a fashion statement that shows off your beautiful curves! Bulk chain gives you both the length you need and the variety of styles to create chain belts that drape attractively around the hips! Cut to your desired length, then add a large lobster clasp several links in from the end of one side. You can optionally add tassels or other dangles on the ends of your chain.
- Create your own tassels — make your own tassels for earrings, necklaces, and more by cutting several short lengths of dainty chain and connecting them together at the top. Tassels make great features on earrings, necklaces, chain belts, and more!
- Make your own extender chains — extender chains are a great way to make your necklaces more versatile and more personalized. To make your own extender chain, cut a 2-3 inch length of chain (chain scraps can be useful here!), and add a clasp or clip on one end. Attach it to the back of your necklace to make the necklace instantly adjustable in length!
- Use as a foundation for cascading drops — instead of having to build your own chain with jump rings, use short lengths of ready-made chain as the foundation for cascading earrings! Attach dangles to each chain link to create beautiful vertical design elements that look stunning.
- Construct hair chain and head pieces — calling all costumers, belly dancers, and bohemians! Bulk chain is an integral supply for making gorgeous, flowing head pieces and hair chain to use in medieval costuming, SCA, Renaissance Festivals, belly dance, steampunk styles, fantasy dress, and more.
Necklace chain & bracelet chain come with a clasp already attached for super easy DIY jewelry making! Types available include serpentine chain, cobra chain, cable chain, and more. Use them the following ways:
- Wear these chains as-is — they make simple, elegant necklaces and bracelets without you having to lift a finger!
- Embellish them for a personalized look - it's simple to add a pendant to chain necklaces with a bail or jump ring. Chain bracelets can easily become charm bracelets. Create your own beaded dangles, or attach ready-made charms with jump rings.