Beading Lesson

Choosing the right beading wire for your design by Katie Hacker

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Flexible beading wire is made of several strands of miniature stainless steel inside a nylon coating. It combines the softness of thread with the strength of stainless steel. It's the most abrasion resistant stringing material that you can use. Use it to create durable, flexible designs.

The main thing to know about beading wire is that the higher the number of strands, the more flexible the wire. For example, 49-strand is more flexible than 7-strand.

There are a number of factors to consider when choosing the right beading wire for your design. The first thing to think about is how much flexibility your design will need. A bracelet, for example, will need to be more flexible because of the amount of wear and tear it will have to withstand. A simple beaded necklace may not need to be as flexible. Choose 49-strand beading wire for designs that require extreme flexibility, 19-strand for designs that require good flexibility and 7-strand for designs that require some flexibility.

When choosing the right beading wire for your design, you also need to think about the diameter. There are a wide variety of diameters, from .010" for seed beads to .036" for large-hole metal and glass beads. The most popular sizes are .015" and .018," which are good general-purpose diameters. Look at the holes on the beads you're using and choose a beading wire that fills as much of the hole as possible.

Another factor to consider is the weight of the finished piece. Check the wire packaging for the break strength of the wire. That's how much weight it will take for the wire to break. Choose wire with heavy break strength when using large or heavy beads.

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