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I Need The Basics On Sringing Beads, Please.

Q: I'm a newbie that needs suggestions on what to use to string a necklace of recycled glass beads. The beads are as large as 12mm. The only necklaces I've made in the past were very lightweight freshwater pearl "illusion type". I used silk thread for that. I would appreciate any information you could provide on what materials to use when stringing necklaces. Is it just my imagination, or are there no standards for this? I've heard there is a new material out that was made of 49 strands of wire and was very strong.

A: Best for this kind of necklace - heavy, with beads made of a hard material - is 'Softflex' necklace wire. This is fine strands of steel cable covered with clear plastic (it also comes in colors, if you want the 'Softflex' to show as part of the design). It has 21 or 49 strands, depending on the size. It is pricey, but most say it's worth it. A cheaper substitute is 'Tigertail' (several brands), which is similar, but has only 3-7 strands of steel cable - not quite as strong, and quite a bit stiffer and prone to kink if you're not very careful with it. For either of these, you'll need crimp beads - tiny metal beads that you slip onto the wire, then run the end through the bead again to make a loop, and then crush the crimp bead to hold the wire in place. ('Tigertail' won't knot at all, and 'Softflex' doesn't knot well). You can use regular flatnose pliers to crush the bead, but the special crimping pliers made for this purpose work better - the crimp bead is rounded instead of flattened, and there are no sharp edges. It looks much nicer than the flattened bead. As always, your information is very useful, and just what I was looking for. I will go with the 'Softflex'. I seem to remember reading somewhere that 'Tigertail' was not as strong as the 'Softflex'.