How To Thread Beads The Easy Way

An easy way to thread beads using cardboard, thread and nail polish.

Beads, whether made of glass, paper, or plastic, can be wonderful when used for decoration or as an accessory to an outfit that you're wearing. Children can delight in making their own beaded necklaces, and adults can make their own garland at home and customize it the way that they want. Unfortunately, threading beads is often time-consuming and can seem as though it's not really worth it in the long run... the craft can quickly go out of it halfway through when your fingers start to cramp from sticking the beads on one at a time.

If all of the beads you're using are the same size, however, there is an easier way to get the job done. All that you'll need is your beads, some corrugated cardboard that's been split (in other words, one layer has been pulled off and all of the ridges are showing), some thread, and a little bit of nail polish.

The first thing that you need to do to thread your beads is to get your cardboard ready. Pull off any remnants of the layer that was peeled off and check to make sure that the ridges are undamaged... any areas where the ridges seem flattened or broken (especially at the ends) can be trimmed off with a sharp pair of scissors or a knife. Lay the cardboard on a flat, level surface, and then it's time to get your beads.

Begin laying the beads in the groove of the cardboard made by two of the ridges... lay them out in the order that you want them to appear in the finished product, and make sure that the holes in the beads line up with each other. (This is why all of the beads need to be the same size... big differences in size will make the holes not match up, and this method of threading the beads isn't going to work.) You can do a few beads at a time, or you can do an entire row... if you want, you can even do several rows, making the bottom of the next row pick up where the top of the previous left off. Now you're ready to start threading your beads.

Take a length of thread that's at least a three inches longer than the length of the row of beads that you're wanting to thread. Coat the end of the thread with nail polish (a clear acrylic nail polish works well) about an inch or so down the thread. Allow the nail polish to dry (blowing on it or applying heat will speed this up), and then you're ready to get started. Insert the stiffened thread into the bottom of one of the rows of beads, carefully pushing it into the first bead... then slowly keep feeding thread into the row from the bottom. Don't push too quickly or the thread will try to bunch up inside, and if you have to pull the thread back don't jerk it or you might knock beads out of the row. When the stiffened end of the thread emerges from the top, grab hold of it and lift the entire row up by the ends of the thread. Now you can tie the ends to make a necklace, begin threading the next row, or use your threaded beads for an arts-and-crafts project that you have waiting.

No matter what you do with the beads, just keep in mind that the type of thread that you use determines exactly how strong the strand will be. If you're using larger beads, you might want to consider using a plastic lanyard or thread instead of cotton... even fishing line could be used! But regardless of what you use or what the beads are used for, best of luck with all of your projects!

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