Stringing 101: Bead Stringing Basics

Bead stringing may be the most popular and universal of all jewelry making techniques. A pile of beads just screams to be strung together, and many of us may have played around with beads and sewing thread as children. Knowing how to properly string (don't use thread!) establishes a great foundation from which to expand your jewelry making skills. This guide will help you get started with bead stringing by covering the basics of jewelry making and our top three stringing techniques. Find instructional videos, related stringing project tutorials and recommended supplies to help establish and expand your bead stringing skills.

Getting Started with Bead Stringing

Bead stringing is a core skill in jewelry making. To begin, you should familiarize yourself with some other beading basics. Our Learn to Bead video series provides an overview of the fundamentals of jewelry making including the different types of clasps and stringing materials available. Video #5 in the series even shows you how to make a strung bracelet from start to finish.

Featured Video: Learn to Bead #1: All About Beads

  • Learn to Bead Video Tutorial #2: All About Findings
  • Learn to Bead Video #3: All About Stringing Materials
  • Learn to Bead Video #4: Essential Tools
  • Learn to Bead Video #5: Make a Bracelet
  • Learn to Bead Video #6: Necklace Lengths

Top 3 Stringing Techniques

Once you are familiar with the different types of beads, findings, tools and other materials for jewelry making, it's time for you to string some beads together and make a finished piece of jewelry. Read on for our top three stringing techniques that will show you how to bring together beads to make a bracelet or necklace. When it comes to choosing beads for stringing, we especially like working with Czech glass beads.

Bead Stringing with Stretch Cord

Great for those just starting out, the easiest stringing projects use stretch cord and beads. You can quickly and easily make a multitude of bracelets inexpensively with stretch cord. Simply string beads onto the cord, tie a knot to finish, and trim off any excess. A dab of glue on the knot can be added for extra security. Our How to Make a Stretch Bracelet video illustrates the versatility of this technique with a double row design. Stretch bracelets make excellent gifts because you don't have to worry about sizing, and they are also a fun projects to do with kids (with adult supervision).

Bead Stringing with Memory Wire

Memory wire is a type of steel wire that keeps its cold-forged shape and is available in necklace, bracelet and ring size loops. When stretched out, memory wire will spring back to its original shape. Ends can be finished with special memory wire end caps or by creating a simple wire loop. Once you have secured an end, slide on your beads and then finish the other end. This technique is shown in our How to Make a Memory Wire Bracelet with Pastella Beads video below. Please note that you should only use special memory wire cutters with this type of wire; memory wire is so strong that it will mar your regular jewelry making cutters.

Bead Stringing with Beading Wire, Crimps and Wire Protectors

The professional standard for stringing uses beading wire and is finished with crimp beads and a clasp. Beading wire is composed of many thin steel cables bound together, and unlike thread or regular craft wire, it is incredibly strong and durable. Beading wire is designed to withstand the weight of beads and last through repeated wear and tear. The ends of your wire are attached to a clasp using crimp beads or crimp tubes. You can also add wire protectors or French wire to create a neater finish. Many bracelet and necklace projects use this stringing technique. See our How to Make a Party Bead Multi Strand Bracelet video for a demonstration of a stringing project using beading wire, crimps, and wire protectors.

Stringing Supplies

See below for recommended supplies for bead stringing. Depending on your chosen technique, you may only need a few items.

  • Stretch Cord
  • Memory Wire
  • Beading Wire
  • Crimp Beads
  • Czech Glass Beads
  • Seed Beads
  • Beading Boards
  • Bead Stoppers

Bead Stringing Project Tutorials

Practice makes perfect! Here are some more bead stringing projects recommended for beginners. Check them out to see how these three techniques can create a wide variety of styles.

  • Retired - Indigo Stretch Bracelet Set
  • Retired - Rainbow Fusion Memory Wire Bracelet
  • Retired - Party Bead Multi Strand Bracelet
  • Yosemite Bracelet
  • Retired - Enchanted Afternoon Bracelet
  • Retired - Sorrento Bracelet
  • Retired - Woodland Bunny Bracelet
  • Green and Gold Tree of Life Bracelet
  • Retired - Violet Bracelet

For more patterns and ideas, view all our free beading project tutorials »

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