The Great Thread Debate: Beading Threads for Bead Weaving

May 27, 2012

The debate rages among beaders as to which beading thread is the "best". Are you a fan of nylon beading threads, or have you cross over to the gel-spun fishing line-type threads? I've heard passionate discourse from both camps as to which type of beading thread they prefer for bead weaving or bead embroidery patterns. Of course, your beading thread is a very important part of your bead weaving projects. Without it, how else would you connect your beads or attach them to your bead embroidery medium? (Glue doesn't count as an answer here, either!)

Here's a detailed look at the two most common types of beading thread used in bead-weaving.

Nylon Beading Threads
Nylon Beading Threads

This is the type of beading thread I got started with when I was learning how to bead. Nymo is by far the most popular and widely available nylon beading thread available, and from what I've seen, you either love it or you hate it for bead weaving. There doesn't seem to be a middle ground on this one!

Nylon beading threads are strong, multi-strand threads that were originally developed for the garment and upholstery industries. You can find nylon beading threads sold under brand names like Nymo, Silamide, K-O, and S-Lon.

What are the advantages of using nylon beading threads? Nylon beading threads for bead weaving are easy to find in most local bead shops and online. They come in a wide range of colors and thicknesses, and are inexpensive; usually in the range of one to four dollars for a large spool. Cutting a nylon beading thread is easy to do using a good pair of embroidery scissors, so no special thread cutters are necessary.

Nylon beading threads create bead weaving that feels like a supple fabric, so they are perfect for off-loom beading stitches like right-angle weave, herringbone stitch, and square stitch. The thinner nylon beading threads work well with beading stitches that require more than one pass through each bead.

What are the disadvantages of using nylon beading threads? Because they are made up of multiple strands, you need to take care to not split your threads when bead weaving with nylon beading thread. A split thread is a weak thread, and that can create a hole in your bead work, or worse yet, cause your piece to fall apart. To prevent splitting threads, always hold your beading thread to the top of your beads while passing your needle through the bottom.

Nylon beading threads (except for Silamide, which is a pre-waxed beading thread) should also be conditioned with thread conditioner before you start to stitch. Using a thread conditioner like microcrystalline beeswax prevents tangles and knots and makes your thread a little more waterproof.

Bonded Beading Threads
Bonded Beading Threads

Bonded beading threads have taken over the bead thread market in the last few years. These types of threads are also known as gel-spun polyethylene threads and are sold under names like Fireline, Spiderwire, PowerPro, and Wildfire. They were originally developed as fishing line for sportsmen, but some clever beader somewhere discovered that these kinds of threads make a great beading thread, much to the chagrin of avid fishermen like my husband.

What are the advantages of using bonded beading threads? If you've ever spent more than fifteen minutes trying to untangle a knot from your nylon beading thread, you'll understand why I love bonded beading threads so much. Tangles and knots seem to undo themselves with minimal tinkering from me, and without conditioning. Although some bead artists advocate conditioning your bonded beading threads the same way you condition a nylon beading thread, I've never had much trouble with an unconditioned bonded beading thread.

It's much more difficult to split your beading thread when using a bonded beading thread. It can happen, but you really have to work at it. Bonded beading threads create a slightly stiffer piece of bead work than nylon beading threads, so they can work well for sculptural bead weaving projects.

In addition to being sold at bead shops and through online beading supply companies, bonded beading threads can also be found in outdoor supply and sporting goods stores alongside fishing rods and fishing lures.

What are the disadvantages of bonded beading threads? Bonded beading threads cost significantly more than their nylon counterparts, so for some folks, that's a deal breaker. A good way to shop for your bonded beading threads is to look for weekly coupons and rebates offered in the outdoor supply stores where they are sold.

If you're buying your bonded beading threads from an outdoor supply or sporting goods store, you can usually only find just a few colors -- crystal/white, dark green, and black. When using the black or smoke colored bonded beading thread, it's generally advisable to wipe each length of thread down with a damp cloth to prevent the color from coming off on your fingers as you stitch.

Colorful Beading Threads
However, if you don't mind ordering your bonded beading threads online, you can find some gorgeous colors of Fireline available through Sparklespot Bead Shop in St. Petersburg, Florida. These colors are more stable than the smoke colored beading thread from the outdoor supply stores, and they work beautifully for bead-weaving projects where you might have a little bit of thread showing between your beads.

So Which Beading Thread is Right For Me?

That's a question about beading thread that I can't answer. Personally, I use both Nymo and Fireline for most of my bead weaving projects. I don't think I'd be able to choose a favorite beading thread if I had to, because both of them have their advantages and are particularly useful for the way I do bead weaving and bead embroidery. Use a few different types and brands of beading threads and see which one you like the best. There's no right or wrong answer when it comes to beading thread for bead-weaving!

Colorful Bead Weaving Bracelet
Once you're ready to test-drive a new beading thread, turn to the pages of Beadwork magazine for scads of fabulous and innovative beading projects! Each issue is packed with the latest and greatest in beading products (like beading threads), step-by-step instructions and techniques, and all the great beading projects that you expect from Beadwork magazine. Subscribe to Beadwork magazine and you'll never find yourself wondering what to bead up next!

Now, I want to hear from you! Weigh in on the Great Thread Debate. What beading thread is the one you can't live without? Leave a comment and let's talk about our favorite beading threads!

Bead Happy,

Jennifer

P.S. Want to see some of the great patterns you'll find in this month's Beadwork magazine?

Clinging Vine Bracelet by Christina Prince Saturn of the Sea by Sue Jackson and Wendy Hubick Drop Dead Gorgeous Earrings by Tina Hauer

PLUS:

Cool Stuff, Stitch Pro, The Challenge, Techniques, and more of what you need to bead in every issue of Beadwork magazine!


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Comments

LostInBeads wrote
on May 28, 2012 5:46 AM

I find Fireline too hard to knot. It always comes undone!

Pax2 wrote
on May 28, 2012 6:09 AM

Fireline is the one I use. Nymo broke too many times and knotted more than I could take! It took a bit of getting used to for me to make the switch. I find that as long as I put a dab of glue on the knots, it really works well. As far as the price, I am always looking for sales since it is so expensive. Thanks for the hint about outdoors stores. I am headed there today!

Pax2 wrote
on May 28, 2012 6:09 AM

Fireline is the one I use. Nymo broke too many times and knotted more than I could take! It took a bit of getting used to for me to make the switch. I find that as long as I put a dab of glue on the knots, it really works well. As far as the price, I am always looking for sales since it is so expensive. Thanks for the hint about outdoors stores. I am headed there today!

Kimberly54 wrote
on May 28, 2012 6:14 AM

Oh, Beading Threads ... there are many!  I have been a beader for 25+ years and I think I have just about used them all.  Nymo was one I used for yearrs.  When C-Lon first came out I was one of the testers.  I fell in love with it.  I have never had one brake.  I have also used Fireline, Wildfire and tried a couple other fishing lines (some didn't get into needles).  Lately, I have been using Wildfire, a lot.  Seeing there is colorful Fireline available now, I'll try those to see how they are.  

Aryd'ellH wrote
on May 28, 2012 6:30 AM

To knot Fireline to another piece of Fireline, try Weaver's knot, as illustrated in The Art of Beadweaving, by Diane Wilcox Wells, and also online- she has just that page available, to help folks learn to knot. If it is smoke color, I find it easy to put a single knot near the ends of the threads, then do the weaver's knot. If it pulls at all, the little singles catch it. Or, I use my threadburner to create a little  'bulb' at the ends of the thread, then do the weaver's knot.

To help with tangle prevention, always thread Nymo,  Sono, One-G, etc from the end you PULL. For Fireline and other 'fishing lines', including both the braided and fused lines, knot from the CUT end.

To thread any line that seems too large to go through your needle's eye, mash the end of the thread with flat nose pliers. Faster than a fingernail or teeth, and easier on your body. I carry a pair of the teensy ones just for that.

You can dye your own Fireline, and save money- just use Rit liquid dye, and take off the thread you wish to dye from the spool- loosely keep it in a hank, or wind it loosely (not floppily loose) around a toilet paper or paper towel roll- these will also absorb the color and help get all the thread dyed nicely. Dye according to directions, rinse well, let dry and use. Remember, now you have to put the needle on this thread from the end you pull, as it is opposite of how it came off the roll.

Getting knots out of any thread- use magnification of some sort, and two needles. Poke one in, then use the second to wiggle the knot.

I use Nymo strictly for bead embroidery with regular, round seed beads and only short pieces. It frays too badly, otherwise.

Sono is a good choice for seeds that are a bit more shapely-triangles, and comes in good colors to match. I use it where I want a bit more drape, where there are no sharp bead edges.

One G is a thicker thread, and I like it for larger seed beads, like size 8 and 6. Good colors.

Fireline( and despite what the bead mags and catalogues say, it is fused, not braided- braided lines are available, but with what is offered by them) for beadwork that needs strength, like 3D. 6# or 8# for sharp-edged beads, like crystals.

For lampwork additions to seed bead creations, I stand by true braided threads, like BRAIDED Stealth Spiderwire-10#- read the package to be sure it is braided, not monofilament.

And I think the idea of avoiding piercing the thread is good, especially for backing out, but the author got the idea backward- there is no way to push the thread UP, so that you can get your needle under it. Easier to push the BEAD up, and needle goes through the space between the top of the hole in the bead, and the thread below.

Whatever thread you chose, use the length of it that you can work with and not be frustrated. The weaver's knot is a wonderful technique that will have you happily using shorter pieces, especially with non-fused threads (not Fireline-that is tricky but can be learned).

Beading is supposed to be fun!

GladysR wrote
on May 28, 2012 6:49 AM

Where can I find the directions for that bracelet (pink/green/bronze)at the bottom of the article? I dont see it mentioned, just a picture of it?

As far as beading thread goes, I was taught on fireline and so that is the only one I use.

Dcoghill wrote
on May 28, 2012 7:25 AM

I always tell my students that the type of thread you use should depend on the project because different thread may effect how the finished project looks.  

Bonded for Crystals

Spool Nymo (or other nylon brands)  for most bead weaving

Bobbin Nymo for bead weaving that has "drapes" in it - like Christmas ornaments

Stretchy Japanese Thread - if you need really tight tension

Doris Coghill

dragon3870 wrote
on May 28, 2012 7:35 AM

i do a lot of different stitches from brick and square to flat and round peyote stitch   i make native american style jewelry and beadwork   so i bead weave most of my projects i have tried fireline and many of the nylon  and even kevlar threads but i was never satisfied cause they fray and break so easy  then by chance i ordered some silamide thread from fire mountain gems and was hooked on it  even for size 13 seed beads i dont have near the issues i have encountered with the nylon  and fireline breaks the beads when you do a lot of passes thru the beads

siragwatkins wrote
on May 28, 2012 8:04 AM

I've used both nylon & bonded threads, but personally prefer Soft-Flex wire, or, if I want something very flexible, I often use polyester sewing thread, usually Gudebrod.  I do double it, but it comes in a million colors, is almost unbreakable, doesn't stretch, knots & cuts easily, and lasts approximately forever.  It's also thin enough to go through just about any bead. Using beeswax or silicone conditioner is a good idea, and I use Butler GUM floss threaders(available where toothbrushes are sold) for any beading that doesn't involve sewing. They're a nylon loop--huge eye, this, flexible--just the best.

Kat West wrote
on May 28, 2012 8:11 AM

The great thing is, there is no need to choose. I started with Nymo, so I have that in a few dozen colors. I always use it for fringe. Fireline does not drape well. After being introduced to Fireline in a Laura McCabe class, I use it for almost everything else. It rarely tangles, is easy to unknot, and, so far, I have found the white and the gray to be adequate for color. If I really need to seal a knot, I use a lighter to melt it, and have not had any problems tying it off within the body of the work.

KimberJ wrote
on May 28, 2012 8:53 AM

Butler "GUM" waxed dental floss!  It doesn't fray like some of the nylon threads do , doesn't need to be prestretched as some nylon threads do, it's already "conditioned", and can be dyed (I prefer RIT, but almost any dye will work - even hair dye).  Though it can split, it's less likely.  It also doesn't tangle as much as nylon threads.  It's also around the same strength of many bonded threads. Tension is the key.  Want drape? Don't pull as tightly when weaving.  Want a stiffer piece? Pull a little tighter when weaving.  I still use Nymo, Silamide, Fireline, PowerPro...and others...now and then, since I have so much of each "leftover" from before I discovered the Butler, but I'm sticking with the floss once all the other stuff has been used!  Best part, I got a small "tube" of 140 yards for only 70 cents!  After the first use, I went out and got 10 more.  The local store clerk may think I'm slightly wacky about oral care, so I do recommend buying in large quantities online rather than your local drug store!

SandyK@30 wrote
on May 28, 2012 8:54 AM

It's so great to hear about colored Fireline, thanks! I use Fireline for projects that need more body and strength, like bracelets and rings. For drapey projects or those that have less 'wear and tear' like earrings or necklaces I use C-Lon. It was impossible to find at my local shops, but after some Googling I found it at Bellomodo.com. It is cheap and comes in gorgeous colors. Happy beading everyone!

carolee1945 wrote
on May 28, 2012 9:25 AM

Wow, I have been confused about the thread issue and your article made the basic differences in types of thread crystal clear.  I have found Nymo is needed for some projects, whereas fire line is great for other projects.  Fireline is definitely easier to use, because I always split the Nymo, no matter how hard I try not to. The minute I space out, it is splitsville!!!

Now, when I try to follow bead directions in a magazine, most of the time the author lists the type of thread used. This is very, very important.

karen wentz wrote
on May 28, 2012 9:30 AM

you didn't mention how hard it is to find something to cut fireline that will not leave a frayed end that is impossible to thread through the eye of a needle. i finally found a huge pair of kitchen shears that does the trick nicely.

GladysR wrote
on May 28, 2012 9:50 AM

Karen Wentz, Kidkie Fiskar scissors work great for this!!

nango wrote
on May 28, 2012 10:37 AM

What about for bead crochet ropes. would you use either of these two threads for that or what thread would you use so it would not stretch as it does with the cotton crochet  thread? I am trying to learn bead crochet ropes and used the jean thread from sewing but it showed around the beads.

LyrlA wrote
on May 28, 2012 10:41 AM

You use the cheap kiddie scissors until they don't cut very well any more, then you toss them.

Another place you can buy Fireline is KMart and places like that. It's cheaper there.

When I use thread, I use SoNo or K.O. (same manufacturer). They were developed by a Japanese thread company and beader Sonoko Nosue.

I just gave all my Nymo away. My fingers tend to be rough, and they just shred the stuff. SoNo or K.O. won't do that.

LyrlA wrote
on May 28, 2012 10:42 AM

nango -- Beads Without End recommends Guterman sewing thread.

moodyjc wrote
on May 28, 2012 10:51 AM

Good article, and really good posts.  I was delighted to find fireline in colors now - I bought some this morning.   I appreciated the post about which end to thread of the different types (cut end or pull end).  Thanks for that guide.

I too have used all kinds of threads.  Although I like the 'drape' of the nylons, I have had some pieces that I wear more frequently than others start fraying (one even broke apart) and needing re-work.  So, I'm leaning more toward the stronger fireline wherever it will work.  It breaks my heart to put in all those hours of work on a piece only to have repair it (or lose it completely).   Re-work is not the fun part of beading!   I doubt a customer would be happy either if their piece came apart.

pam jaw wrote
on May 28, 2012 11:01 AM

I first got started with fireline and then someone donated beading thread for my class that I teach. I ran out of the fishing line, so I decided to try the beading thread. I like the fishing line because it don't split and I go thru the thread and I have to take it off the needle to correct it if possible sometimes it don't work.

Annita Jo wrote
on May 28, 2012 11:05 AM

I love using fireline, but if I need the part to dangle I use my silamide.  I have found that the fireline tends to curl and not hang down straight.

DAZ52 wrote
on May 28, 2012 11:15 AM

Fireline...uncomplicated, easy to knot and knots easy to hide.

on May 28, 2012 12:59 PM

Fire line! It is easy to use and perfect for flat peyote!

SedonaSkye wrote
on May 28, 2012 1:03 PM

I am a Nymo B girl.  I do bead embroidery and it works well.  I try not to do much beadweaving but when I do I also use the Nymo and have never had any problems.  It's what I learned to bead with and have never wanted to try anything else, even though I sell almost everything listed in the article in my bead shop!

KipperCat wrote
on May 28, 2012 1:37 PM

I've begun to use OneG for everything.  But my latest project was a spiral net necklace, for which the designer recommended the use of doubled 6# FireLine.  I used a single strand of 14# FireLine instead, and am very happy with the result.  It would have been very hard to maintain the open tube with a softer thread.

I'm also wavering as to netted collars.  I generally like the soft drape of nylon thread for netting, but the collars feel almost too light and soft in my hand, though they hang fine when worn.  I've noticed that experienced beaders who do a lot of netting are divided on this issue.

Dawn@122 wrote
on May 28, 2012 1:44 PM

I prefer Japanese beading thread  K.O.  as an alternative to Nymo. K.O. thread is a pre-waxed, colorfast, abrasion/tangle resistant thread, which can be knotted tightly. Similar in size to a Nymo size B, K.O can be used with a size 10 or size 12 beading needle.   I got so fed up of the Nymo tangling or splitting!  One G is also another good Japanese thread to try!

If I'm using lots of crystal bicones  I use Fireline but the down side is the limited colour range.

weallsing wrote
on May 28, 2012 2:03 PM

I have just started beading, and I made a crystal bracelet for my sister-in-law using Fireline.  Apparently, a crystal cut the line, so I redid it.  It happened again.  Now, I am very nervous about using Fireline.  I just bought some One-G that I'm going to try.

lizinseattle wrote
on May 28, 2012 2:40 PM

I started with Fireline, so that's what I'm used to, but I hate the lack of color.  Now I'm using more Silamide but have to learn to not split the thread.  I will try the colored Fireline from the SparkleSpot but it's aftermarket, I was hoping Beadsmith would make colored Fireline.

The bracelet with the flowers is by Glorianne and is in the latest Beadwork issue.

LeaNovak wrote
on May 28, 2012 2:41 PM

I like the KO thread...it comes in lovely colors, and doesn't seem to split or tangle as much as Nymo. It is a little harder to find though, and I usually have to order it online.

I tried the Fireline and other fishing line threads, but didn't really like them. They still seemed to tangle, and once they tangle, I find them more difficult to pick out the knot. They also seem thicker to me, so going through beads multiple times is more difficult. And I tend to prefer the soft, drapey end result you get from the KO thread.

magpiet wrote
on May 28, 2012 2:42 PM

I've used Nymo for years and love the color range.  Pre-use stretching is necessary as is conditioning.  The new OneG threads from Toho are great.  I use both these nylon threads for bead embroidery.  

 Once I started selling pieces or giving pieces as presents, I changed to Fireline for any needle-weaving project because it's less likely to break over time. 4 lb for drapey pieces without much tension; 6 lb or 8 lb for anything that has tension like surrounding a cabochon which will stand alone--no backing.  I'm very pleased to hear that someone is offering this line in colors.   I don't knot Fireline as the only security for ending a piece; I weave back through, using a fairly long tail end with half-hitches along the way.  I've found, the hard way, that the slipperiness that I value in a stitching thread also means the tail will work its way loose if I don't use caution to weave in a long tail.  I have a cutter specifically used only for Fireline as it does dull the blades.  It's tempting to use one's teeth to mash the end of Fireline for threading through a needle, but keep in mind how it dulls your scissor or cutter blades (and think of the look of horror on your dentist's face)--use a pair of pliers, instead.  Cut at an angle, then mash.  Surgeon's knot is not secure enough, usually, to keep this slippery thread from undoing the knot:  weaver's knot is more secure, and I agree with Aryd'ellH's comments about where to find this knot demonstrated.  

 As for cost of Fireline:  If I do any kind of bulk order for findings or materials from a store that offers a discount for quantity, I add in a roll of Fireline to get the discounted price, and I buy in 125 foot rolls.  

PippitC wrote
on May 28, 2012 3:00 PM

I use Nymo sometimes, and at other times I use Fireline. Sometimes I use both in different parts of the piece. Fireline can slip between segments you are attaching together and create too much space between them, (and the same in loops you create to put a button or toggle through), so using Nymo and going through to reinforce multiple times works better. It also is more flexible where you want joints to bend easily with the wearer's body. For the actual beadweaving, though,  Fireline creates a stronger mesh.

umozabeads wrote
on May 28, 2012 3:53 PM

I have MS and RA and working with Fireline and other threads of its kind causes me pain after a while.  I have been beading for so long, 50 plus years that I am most satisfied with Nymo and Silamide!

pestkaj wrote
on May 28, 2012 4:03 PM

Since I discovered fireline I have never gone back

EllenaA wrote
on May 28, 2012 4:19 PM

If you want "can't-live-without" for me that's fireline, 4 or 6 lb. test. I mostly make the crystal color do almost everything except the darkest work and it's not that noticeable. The only issue is cutting; the kiddie Fiskars worked for a short while, then I started pulling against the 'V' of the blades kind of like a razor.

I was using weaver's knot until I saw a Beadwork contributor describe how to pull an overhand knot back into the beadwork to hide it. I've never had knots slip; never noticed any difference with which end goes on the needle; never had anything cut thru it except once with tight tension on a Swarovski crystal. I mostly do beaded beads for strung jewelry components, and other small jewelry pieces, so drape etc. is not an issue.

I lost too many hours of beadwork to fall-apart Nymo, and wasted too many hours trying to un-knot power-pro and other threads. Fireline it is!

bec95beads wrote
on May 28, 2012 5:05 PM

i love nymo and i only use it , that and bead thread as i don't like the feel of fireline .

D.M.Z wrote
on May 28, 2012 7:46 PM

I found the comments much like I expected, everyone has their likes and dislikes for their own reasons. Not much mentioned about looming, so I'll jump in on that. Most of my work is loomed pictures and I use a modified no warps system, I use a 6# Fireline for the warps and do the weaving with lovely soft Nymo. So I have my tenacious strength in the warps and the nice soft fabric-y in the weft.

For most other beadweaving I use my 6# Fireline. I have used other threads and lines and find that I end up sticking with Nymo and Fireline. I absolutely hate Wildfire black......it comes off and leaves blotches. I use beeswax for most all beadweaving and just finished a 6,000+ piece of square stitching where I waxed my Fireline first and a ways into each 6' piece would have to use Thread Heaven on it......perfect. I don't know why I picked up Fireline for square stitching though, Nymo works so much better for going around all those corners, the piece turned out to have a different texture than I expected. Donna

KateS@69 wrote
on May 28, 2012 10:15 PM

I use 10 lb.PowerPro for absolutely everything.  I won't use anything else.  And yes, you can make many passes through small seed beads with it.  I have had good luck with durability and strength.  I particularly like the heft of it.  I can't abide sloppy, floppy beadwork.  The Power Pro green color is wonderful for darker beads and blends in beautifully.  And no, I do not work for PowerPro.  I am just a tremendous fan!

teqlar wrote
on May 30, 2012 11:27 AM

Absolutely love Fireline now. Took some getting used to, thought. I used to go for K.O. (good colours!), but switched because of one instant. All it took was one flat spiral bracelet I made with Swarovski crystals and freshwater pearls that had fallen apart WHILE I WAS SHOWING THE WHOLE BEADING CLASS! It was embarrassing to say the least, everyone was on their hands and knees trying to look for all the crystals and pearls on the carpet. I found myself standing there trying not to move in case I scattered more beads! Frome Beader

lolwa75 wrote
on May 31, 2012 8:35 AM

Iam using the nylon thread cause i can't found in my country the nymo one... is it okay or not??? please replay me

beadingoasis wrote
on May 31, 2012 10:44 AM

I use fireline, I bought a huge roll of it in the fishing section at Walmart for around $15, and a box to keep it in too. I just double back and it will stay put.

I did not know it came in colors other than black and clear/white. Plus in the fishing section you can get it in a 6 size.

on Jun 2, 2012 9:50 AM

I use mostly One G but if a project cannot handle the thread, I use what I need to use for drape or rigity of the project.  Cut your fireline at an angel and it won't fray in threading the needle.  In case you don't know, one side of the needle is larger than the other.  If unable to thread one side turn it over.  I am now using the Japanese needles.  They are the greatest as they will not split the thread.  Stretch and conditioning your thread is very important.  I have used them all!!

yvonnebul wrote
on Jun 2, 2012 10:10 AM

I am new to beading.have found nymo splits too much I have found nfor stringingn that dental floss is good it is very strong but unfortunately not colouREd I started using this because ballerinas use it on their shoes so it must =be strong.I am at present using illusion thresd and it seems quite good,dont need a needle .as I am usingn this on crystal bicones  with only a small amount of weaving I dont know how it would work on larger pieces.I found too that nymo bracelets didnt hold  strong.Dont know what fire line is but In assume it is a fine fishing line

SUNKAT wrote
on Jun 2, 2012 10:51 AM

I use 6# fireline and do not have any trouble with it coming apart. It knots well if you knot it like you do regular thread when your sewing clothes. I knot it twice. I also thread the end back thru my work. I use my wire cutters to cut the fireline- for me my wire cutters work way better than trying to use scissors.

Wendy Lucka wrote
on Jun 2, 2012 11:21 AM

Fireline all the way!! When I need some drape to the beadwork I'll use nylon thread but anything else....

Mmduffy wrote
on Jun 2, 2012 12:17 PM

I could never stand Nymo.  It's horrible:  tangles, breaks, frays, ugh.  For years I used a wonderful nylon thread that I found in a professional bead supply place here in mid-town Manhattan that I have never seen anyone mention.  It comes only in black or white, but does come in a couple of sizes.  It creates beautiful, fluid work.  If something stiffer is needed I now use either Fireline or Power Pro as well.  

dusdee wrote
on Jun 2, 2012 12:30 PM

I have used silamide and fireline for the last few years. Had good success with both. Recently read that fireline was originally made to break down in sun ( i.e. request of Fish and Game Dept) I have tried KO and like it but it is slippery to work with. Wondering if anyone else heard about the fireline breaking down??

Daizycraft wrote
on Jun 2, 2012 12:37 PM

I have to say HUZZAH for Aryd'ellH's post - fabbo information there! Thank you for the detailed review - very helpful.  :D

I have been beading (from loomwork to freeform) for over 35 years.  When I was young I didn't have much $$ or access to beading materials and so used A LOT of fishing line (leads with swivels make awesome quickie wrap bracelets, complete with closure) and and like KimberJ, I also preferred to use waxed dental floss - cheap, not splitty, fits thru even 15/0 rocailles at least twice with ease.   I tried the Nymo and found it a pita and then tried the Fireline which had finer gauges than previous "fishing line" I had been using.  This I like for some projects, not so much any weaving, great stuff for beaded baskets.  

Great article, great "debate" - learning a lot of useful stuff here - you folks are, well... great!  :)

lucylu2 wrote
on Jun 2, 2012 2:16 PM

What about the finest Soft Flex Soft touch? Does it work well for bead-weaving? is it any stronger than Fireline? If someone has experience, would they please comment?  Thank you!

AstrideB wrote
on Jun 2, 2012 3:05 PM

Hello

the great thread debate is very helpful to me as my local bead shop has unfortunately closed.  Also, at the bottom of the page is a great colorful bracelet

with what looks like pink pearls which have swirls of different sized seed beads in pink and green around them.   Can someone pleez  tell me what it is called ?  It's definately a great summer birthday gift.  

The more I look at it the more I need to make  it.

Thanking youi in advance

AstrideB wrote
on Jun 2, 2012 3:06 PM

Hello

the great thread debate is very helpful to me as my local bead shop has unfortunately closed.  Also, at the bottom of the page is a great colorful bracelet

with what looks like pink pearls which have swirls of different sized seed beads in pink and green around them.   Can someone pleez  tell me what it is called ?  It's definately a great summer birthday gift.  

The more I look at it the more I need to make  it.

Thanking youi in advance

Wyvren wrote
on Jun 3, 2012 1:15 AM

I love fireline.  I also like silamide and nymo.  But I have a concern.   I was told long ago by fishing friends that ALL fishing lines (at least those sold in California) had to degrade in sunlight and water over time due to environmental hazards - birds and fish and wildlife getting tangled in discarded line.  This is a really good thing for wildlife ( I also volunteer as a wildlife rehabber so I know!)  But some of my bead projects have over 40 hours of work in them and the thought of them falling apart because of the line degrading scares me like crazy.  So is it true - does anything sold as fishing line degrade?  I haven't been able to get a solid answer from anyone.  And I would love to be able to use fireline without the sleepless nights!

cherie4beadz wrote
on Jun 3, 2012 3:30 AM

So glad to read all your comments. I am newish to bead stitching. I made a couple of cellini style bracelets with fireline and they went really well. The shape held and it was easy to use. I started making another cellini bracelet (circular peyote?) but I decided to try K-O thread in a matching colour. I have had a TERRIBLE time with it!!!!!!! I didn't condition it and the knots i did when I added new thread slipped out and my work fell apart halfway through....I do have to say I don't think I left enough of a tail but apart from that mistake I have found K-O not appropriate to use in the cellini style bracelet. I used size 8 seeds as the centre bead and went down to a size 15 in the middle of the spiral. As I had used such a variety of sizes of seeds I found that using the K-O made it even harder as it was slippery to use. I didn't fray as bad as Nymo ( my friend uses that) but I am very disappointed it has been so slippery. I wouldn't use it again in a piece that needs some structure. I would use fireline and save the K-O for a drapey piece something like Marcia De Costa would design. Go fireline for structure as it has a bit of "grip" and save the K-O for right angle weave??????

Angela Denny wrote
on Jun 11, 2012 9:00 AM

I used C-Lon D until becoming converted to KO which is silky, I don't find it needs conditioning and hardly ever knots  and if it does is easy to undo  it also gives a soft fluid finish to bead weaving pieces.  I read somewhere that it is not advisable to use fishing line for projects as perfumes can make it brittle - is this true?

Radiance@3 wrote
on Jun 17, 2012 5:45 PM

Fireline all the way!  I have no trouble with the knots, because I'm so bad about over-engineering -- by the time I'm done, Houdini couldn't get them untied!  ;-)

Radiance@3 wrote
on Jun 17, 2012 6:12 PM

Wyvren -- when I went to work at a bead shop, I was warned never to use the kind of Fireline sold for the purpose of fishing, because that kind was required by law to dissolve in UV light within two years.  Instead, they told me, you MUST buy the Fireline marketed on small, ultra-expensive spools specifically for beaders, because it has NOT been treated to break down in UV light.

I took this to heart and faithfully relayed the information to all my customers for months.  And then one day, a coworker let slip that the whole thing was a lie -- a lie told to keep customers buying that expensive beading Fireline from bead stores, instead of the cheaper version sold in Walmart's sporting goods department.

I was humiliated, of course, to discover that I had misinformed so many people, and I immediately started telling the truth.  Not long after that, I lost the job.  ~ sigh ~

On the other hand, Kimber J -- dental floss is NOT safe!  I haven't used it, but others have told me (and I've read in beading magazines) that the wax and flavoring and such can discolor or corrode your beads, and the fibers may eventually weaken, since they're not designed for long-term durability.   As I say, I can't attest to this myself, but I hate to think of you putting so much creative effort into something that may not survive!

(Let me add:  there are many kinds of fishing line that are NOT good for beading, and some of them even contain lead, which you wouldn't want to handle so much.  So far as I know, ONLY Fireline is really appropriate for beaders.  But it can be had in lime green and bright pink if you go to the right sporting goods supplier!)

jfig0501 wrote
on May 27, 2013 8:13 PM

I need help, I am a new Beader, I use glass pearls and swarovski crystal  pearl for my bracelets and they breaker. I even double up on the threading on each bracelet. Can you advise what other thread can I use or am I doing something wrong.

Thank you in advance

jfig0501 wrote
on May 27, 2013 9:00 PM

I need help, I am a beginner beader, I am using 6lb fireline for my glass pearl bracelets and swarovski crystal pearl bracelet, but the bracelets break. Why?

Thank you,

Julia

Kat West wrote
on Aug 24, 2013 10:33 AM

When I first started beading 13 years ago, Nymo was everywhere, and in a wide array of colors. I still have a huge stash. Then, a couple of years later, I took a class with Laura McCabe, who introduced me to  Fireline. I love Fireline, and use it for almost everything EXCEPT fringe. Nymo produces lovely, draped fringe. Fireline produces stiff, squiggly fringe. Yes, it is pricy-I wait for it to go on sale, and buy the amount that gets me the lowest price.

I also use Nymo when I am working up a short sample piece to see if the colors still look good when stitched up. As any bead artist knows, things can change appearance dramatically when sewn together.

I started making wall hangings about six years ago, and I use Nymo for that as well.

So.........I can't do without Nymo or Fireline!!!

ctutt wrote
on Aug 24, 2013 12:08 PM

Whoa - I think this is the LONGEST string of comments I've ever seen!

I use Nymo [with beeswax], Fireline, stuff from my hub unit's fishing tackle box, AND waxed dental floss. It's fab for projects I start while on vacation! Plus if any of it shows, I get out my vast supply of permanent fine point markers and dab on whatever color needed to make it blend in. And about the wax content: we use wax to condition thread, right? If waxed floss is safe enough to put in your mouth I don't think it will harm the beads. ;-)

ctutt wrote
on Aug 24, 2013 12:14 PM

The bracelet appears to be done in what I have seen referred to as a 'Galaxy' stitch. It  involves rings of beads anchored to a larger one in the center. It looks to me like the artist has made half-rings and joined them together alternating the outside curves. Nice!

Luzurena wrote
on Aug 24, 2013 8:20 PM

Fireline is definately my all time favorite... I just love it.. I buy it at Walmart sporting section or  Sports Authority and it's very economical...

Linda@952 wrote
on Aug 24, 2013 10:18 PM

I am firmly in the bonded, Fireline group.  I do a lot of beadweaving with crystals, and have found that Nymo cuts far too easily.  I have had 2 right angle projects come apart, one of which was a total loss, all 4 & 6 mm Swarovski bicones.  Heartbreaking!  In all the years using Fireline, I have lost 1 crystal.  I still get a fluid drape of bracelets and necklaces, and feel that I lost nothing by switching.  Generally the fishing line tends to be cheaper at the large sporting goods stores, you can even get the appropriate scissors there for the line, under $10.  As far as lack of colours, I purchased the line-up of colours that Sparkle Spot has to offer and have been completely satisfied.  I have quite a range of Nymo, but I refuse to use it, to me, it just does not compare.

Linda@952 wrote
on Aug 24, 2013 10:18 PM

I am firmly in the bonded, Fireline group.  I do a lot of beadweaving with crystals, and have found that Nymo cuts far too easily.  I have had 2 right angle projects come apart, one of which was a total loss, all 4 & 6 mm Swarovski bicones.  Heartbreaking!  In all the years using Fireline, I have lost 1 crystal.  I still get a fluid drape of bracelets and necklaces, and feel that I lost nothing by switching.  Generally the fishing line tends to be cheaper at the large sporting goods stores, you can even get the appropriate scissors there for the line, under $10.  As far as lack of colours, I purchased the line-up of colours that Sparkle Spot has to offer and have been completely satisfied.  I have quite a range of Nymo, but I refuse to use it, to me, it just does not compare.

Leslee@5 wrote
on Aug 27, 2013 7:48 PM

It depends....For regular beadweaving (brick stitch or peyote ect.) or for bead embroidery I use hand quilting thread waxed. For anything that will be strung I use Fireline.  Recently when doing a piece made with irregular size 15* beads and micro bugle beads I had to resort to nylon monofilament designed for sewing machine use.

ChristineK wrote
on Oct 11, 2013 6:57 PM

I've been doing a lot of crochet beading, and find neither nylon (because of the splitting) nor Nymo (because it's very difficult to crochet with plastic) work for me.

I was reading one of my beaded crochet books this morning and it supports polyester thread as an ideal medium for beaded crochet. I had used silk with pearls only, but crystals have sharp edges that cut silk.

There was a disaster where I'd made a mixture of pearl and crystal necklaces for my cousin's wedding, and as the bridesmaids and the bride put their necklaces on, EVERY SINGLE NECKLACE BROKE! Only my aunt's necklace (mother of the bride) didn't break because her necklace was made of all pearls with a gorgeous large blue crystal clasp.

Believe me, I will never use silk again in jewelry that includes crystals in the mix!

But please don't forget the bead-crocheters out there who also struggle with finding a thread that is fine yet strong, comes in many colors, and is completely resistant to crystals.

angela767 wrote
on Dec 7, 2013 6:39 PM

hi all im looking for advice on which thread to use for bead weaveing with bicones as ive made a bracelet and they cut the thread id used which was wildfire 6/0 i live in the uk  so can be hard to get some threads

on Jan 18, 2014 8:12 PM

Depends on the project;

I'm not a big fan of Nymo, it always ends up fraying on me. Same applies to Wildfire, it isn't as stiff as Fireline but a few rows of peyote and the whole thread braid starts to come apart.

Instead I now use One G and Fireline. My tension is incredibly tight so One G serves me better in general, I use Fireline for sharp beads like crystals and bugles or in structural pieces where the stiffness helps.

on Jan 18, 2014 8:13 PM

Depends on the project;

I'm not a big fan of Nymo, it always ends up fraying on me. Same applies to Wildfire, it isn't as stiff as Fireline but a few rows of peyote and the whole thread braid starts to come apart.

Instead I now use One G and Fireline. My tension is incredibly tight so One G serves me better in general, I use Fireline for sharp beads like crystals and bugles or in structural pieces where the stiffness helps.

Beadelicacy wrote
on Jul 13, 2014 3:39 PM

I've been trying for the past month to get Fireline to work with beaded crochet, as I've incorporated gemstone beads into my work and was concerned about Nymo (still my favorite) not surviving long-term use. The necklaces and bracelets I sell aren't cheap because of the materials (duracoat Delicas and gemstone beads) and the complex designs I create.

I have concluded that I despise Fireline, at least for beaded crochet! It's slippery, it DOES split, and in general feels like I'm wrangling a herd of cats! I'd rather work with. Kevlar for cut-resistance with gemstone beads, if that turns out to be a problem long-term. I've used Kevlar for both crochet and flat bead weaving with great success, but it can be hard to find. Kevlar is terrific for metal beads with sharp edges, such as doing square stitch or right-angle weave with liquid silver beads.

In my 20-plus as a beader, my all-time favorite is Nymo D for my beaded crochet. If properly conditioned I don't have problems with it splitting, either. I tend to use size 11 or size 15 beads for crochet, both tube-shaped and round seed beads, charlottes, etc. Since I end up with a small core and the gemstone beads are chosen to be nearly equal in size to the glass beads, there's little to no movement that could cause the gemstones to wear away at the thread. So far, so good. I also prefer Nymo of various sizes for all my other beading projects, though I occasionally use C-Lon and Silamide. I love all the different thread ideas listed in the posts here and can't wait to try some new ones. I'm going to try the waxed dental floss for sure.

Thanks for this great article and all the following posts!