Ok, so I've been making jewelry for a while, but almost exclusively wired things with crimp beads. It wasn't until recently that I realized, hey, a string would probably be easier sometimes
Anyways, I was wondering what I would have to do differently using string instead of wire. Do I just tie the string to the jump bead? Do I still use crimp beads? What's the best way to go about it?
You might want to move this up to the "How Do I..." forum..... more people will see it up there.
As far as simple stringing goes I've only ever used beading wire to string things so I can't be of much help :-)
I would think it would depend alot on the type of beads you are using and the kind of string. Just watch out if you are using crystals they have a tendency to cut the string just be sure to bump up a spacer bead of some kind between them.
You might look into pearl knotting. This technique could be used with most types of beads. IMO
I hope this gives you a place to start.
southwest Texas USA
I, too, have only used beading wire. I agree with SEllen's suggestion on the knotting and not using crystals. You could possibly use Fireline, and just knot the ends good, dot of GS Hypo, and maybe a crimp cover. Let us see what you create! I LOVE looking at everyone's designs, no matter stringing or stitching!
Yeah, I made a last minute bracelet for a wedding a couple of days ago, and using a beading cord worked really well. I just knotted it instead of using crimp beads, and hid the knot inside a seed bead, and then ran the cord back about an inch or so. Worked great.
Knots between beads are important for protecting them from rubbing against one another and from loss if the jewelry breaks. That's why, for example, you see knots between higher quality pearls and other gemstones.
Thread is taken up through the clasp's jump rings and back into the first three beads and knotted between each bead.
Sometimes you'll see French wire used to cover what should be a minute amount of thread showing. I've always considered the use of French wire to be a little too fussy and even, dare I say, old fashioned, but some clients do demand it.
I put a crimp bead on the knot just to make sure that it won't slip back through my knot cup. Then I reinforce everything with a dab of superglue.
I do my stringing exclusively with string, as I do not like working with beading wire. I really like silkon products because the hold up well against the weight of chunky glass beads and gemstons, but are thin enough to go through seed beads. I just knot and double back, putting slip knots between beads occassionaly. When I get to the end of my thread, I hit it with some strong glue and bury it in a bead. Easy peasy.
r. heath http://abeadloveaffair.blogspot.com/
I put up a video on how to knot pearls on youtube a while ago - you might find it useful.
There are several reasons why pearls get knotted.
1 so that only one pearl can ever get lost if the necklace breaks
2 so that stretching is minimised in effect (each section will stretch a little rather than having a huge gap at the clasp
3 to make a hinge so that the necklace drapes well
4 to stop pearls bumping into eachother
5 to make a good drape - without knots all the pearls will fall to the front and make a stiff and ugly necklace (same as when pearls etc are on over-stiff wire)
Thanks for your replies, I think I'm starting to lean more towards string as well, as opposed to beading wire. I'm tired of the wire getting all crooked. Is there a certain thickness that would work good for 4mm stone beads with approx. 0.5mm opening? I would like the same string to work for seed beads as well.
Also, would it be considered sloppy not to use french wire? Should I just leave the string showing?
Thickness depends on whether you're using a needle with a thread attached or a needle in which the thread is doubled, that is, a needle that you have strung with thread.
Opinions vary on french wire. When I was running a studio jewelry gallery, older clients tended to want French wire, younger clients didn't see it as an issue. The amount of thread showing at the clasp should be tiny, so I never saw it as an issue.
I first started beading with a stash of acrylic beads that I inherited from my father. In his last years, he was stringing, teaching himself a little wire work, and making a ton of earrings to give away. He used fishing line, and that's what I used when I started working with his beads. To finish the string, he used bead tips.
There are two types of bead tips: clam shell (folds over the knot), "bottom clamp on" (thread through the bottom of the finding and then fold over the knot). The end of the bead can be looped around the clasp to attach the strung beads. I prefer the bottom clamp on because I feel it is more secure.
Regular fishing line is not recommended because it tends to get brittle with age and break (although we have pieces around here that are at least 20 years old). Monofilament can also be a bit stretchy and not in a good way. I understand that Fireline is a better choice. I am thinking about trying it, since I, too, am thinking about switching from wire for some of my lighter pieces.
In the past, when I did use the bead tips, I knotted the thread around a small seed bead and then clamped the bead tip over that. The finer the stringing medium, the harder it was for me to get knot big enough not to slip through the bottom of the bead tip.
Sorry for the lateness in replying to this, only just scrolled down far enough to see it!. French wire is there as both an aesthetic finish to the item as the stringing medium goes around the clasp loops and also to protect easily eroded silk.
The french wire is there to take the ablative strain as the silk goes round the clasp loops, where it will rub and rub until the silk fails. Plus, if using white thread it will invariably get touched by oily fingers and get dirty. Not a good look
I just want to tell you that I watched your video about knotting pearls. It made so much sense and was most helpful to see how the knotting is done (as opposed to reading descriptions). Your video was also the first time I had ever seen French wire being applied, and I found that quite interesting. Once I manage to finish reorganizing my studio (I'm gonna need some more shelves, I think), I want to try my hand at knotting pearls. You did make it seem easy!
Yes, you're absolutely right...if you see French wire as aesthetic which is a purely subjective evaluation. As I mentioned, over the years, a number of my older clients do see French wire as aesthetic. Most are unaware of its ablative properties.
You're also right about silk. That's why I only use silk on very expensive pearls for its protective properties, and then I make sure the client understands the need for frequent restringing. (GIA recommends every six months last I checked.)
I don't use it on freshwaters. Silk stretches so much that the tradeoff is between the frequent need for restringing and the theoretical levels of grime and dirt that can accrue in the drill holes.
White thread, especially silk, does get dirty and it yellows over time and as you mentioned can fray...this is why I only use it for expensive pearls and then recommend frequent restringing. The frequent restringing moots any concern about oily fingers at the clasp thereby mooting the need for french wire as a protective element and making it optional for a client.
My main manufacturing goal, always, is to provide a durable-and within the constraints of the materials I use-a lasting piece of jewelry. So, I've played around with a number of materials. Go to my website and check out the video on it.
Rules, Wendy, are to be learned, tested and then broken, provided you understand the risks and benefits and explain them clearly to clients. I mentioned, only as a personal aside, that I don't find french wire aesthetic. I always present the various options to clients.
Hope this explains more clearly the somewhat casual remarks I made in the post you responded to.