Silicone beads are a fun and versatile crafting material that can be used to make jewelry, keychains, decorations, and more. While threading standard beads with larger holes can be easy, working with tiny holes of silicone beads requires some special techniques. With the right tools and methods, you can easily string silicone beads for your projects.
Gather Your Materials
Before you begin threading, you'll need to gather the necessary supplies:
- Silicone beads in your desired shapes, colors and sizes
- Beading thread, line, or cord
- Sharp beading needle with a thin eye
- Beading mat to work over
- Bead stopper crimps or knots for finishing
For starter jewelry projects, opt for 1-2mm round silicone beads and a flexible beading cord. Have extra needles and thread on hand in case the cord shreds or needles become dull.
Prepare Your Work Area
Threading tiny beads requires concentration. Set up your beading area in a quiet spot without distractions. Lay down your beading mat to protect your work surface from getting scratched. Ensure you have excellent lighting so you can see the small holes clearly. Organize your materials within easy reach.
Tighten Your Needle Hole
Silicone beads have very small holes compared to other bead types. You'll need to use the finest needle possible. But even steel beading needles can develop rough edges over time which widens the eye. Rub your needle against a piece of denim or sandpaper to tighten the hole and smooth the edges. Test it out by threading one silicone bead onto the needle and tugging it gently. It should grip the bead tight without shredding it.
Match Your Cord to the Bead Hole Size
You want a snug fit between the bead hole and your beading material. Trying to string beads onto a too-thick cord will be a struggle. If your needle can fit through the bead hole, start with a single strand of lightweight beading thread or line before moving up to thicker cords. Multiple strands twisted together can add thickness and strength while still fitting through mini bead holes.
How to Thread Silicone Beads Without a Needle
You don't need a needle to string small silicone beads. Here are two techniques:
Use Waxed Dental Floss
For DIY jewelry making, waxed dental floss works perfectly to thread tiny bead holes. Carefully test the thickness against your bead holes first. Cut a piece about 18 inches long and stiffen it by coating lightly with clear nail polish. Once dry, gently push the tip through your beads to thread them.
Try Rigid Beading Wire
Stiff beading wire with a very thin diameter can also thread small silicone beads without a needle. Bend the end of the wire to flatten it. File the tip until smooth. Slowly rotate the wire to work the tip through the bead holes. Pull each bead down firmly as you go to prevent gaps.
Thread Your Silicone Beads
Once you have your materials prepped, it's time to thread your beads. Here are some techniques to try:
- Pick up beads with your needle one at a time. Pull each bead down snugly against the previous bead.
- For quicker stringing, slide several beads onto your needle and line up before pulling through. Don't overload the needle or it could bend.
- Use bright colored thread to easily see your working needle inside the beads.
- Check your work periodically to ensure the beads are aligning correctly with no gaps.
- Add bead stoppers or knots between sections for a decorative look.
As you work, your long beading thread will tangle easily. Here are some ways to avoid frustration:
- Coil your thread and secure with a thread wrap when not in use.
- Let your thread drop into a bowl beside you to control slack.
- Use thread heaven or wax to lightly coat and stiffen the material.
- Knot your thread about 18 inches from the end leaving a working tail.
Finish Your Beaded Strand
Once your beads are threaded, you'll want to secure the ends neatly. Here are two options to complete your beaded strands:
Crimp Bead Stoppers
Thread a crimp bead onto each end followed by a crimp cover. Pass your ends through the crimp and pull tight. Use crimping pliers to close the crimps down firmly. Trim any excess cord.
For a simple DIY finish, tie an overhand knot tightly on each end right up against the last bead. Add a dot of clear glue into the knots to secure. Once dry, use scissors to trim the ends closely to the knot.
With a bit of practice, you'll be an expert at threading tiny silicone beads cleanly and evenly. Take it slow at first and ensure your holes align properly. Soon you'll have dazzling silicone bead jewelry and accessories to show off!