Using Cord in Jewelry Making Projects - Tips & TechniquesThese are a group of tips and techniques for using Cord in Beaded Jewelry. We've collected many tips that will help you assemble and finish your Jewelry projects when using cord.
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- Figure 1 shows the simple loop that you form with your cord to start a Half Hitch knot.
- Be sure to position the knot in the correct position before tightening. Even though this is a very simple knot, it can be very hard to get out, especially when tied in Waxed Cord or Silk.
- To make a beaded grouping like the one in Figure 2, you tie your first Half Hitch knot and tighten it. Thread the desired beads onto your cord, then form the loop for the second knot. Slide the knot close to the beads, being careful not to completely tighten the knot until it is holding the beads snuggly together. A stiff head pin or tweezers with pointed ends can help you slide and position the loop before tightening.
Notes on this knot:
This is the same knot that people use to create pearl necklaces where a knot appears between each pearl. Pearl Necklaces were traditionally tied on Silk thread. Since silk dries and wears out over time, beaders now sometimes choose to use other materials for making knotted necklaces.
When doing off loom bead weaving (Peyote stitch, Square stitch, etc.), this knot can be used to join new thread to your project when the previous thread has gotten too short to continue. Align the ends of the new and old thread - then tie the Half Hitch using both threads. See Figure 3 for an illustration of how you would align and loop your threads.When finishing the ends of stretchy cord (Elasticity, Stretch Magic) the Half Hitch is also useful. String your beads on the stretchy thread - make the last bead on each end a crimp bead. Align the two ends side by side and half hitch them together, as in Figure 3. Separate the ends, run each one back through the crimp on the same side and close the crimp using crimping pliers. Tube crimps are best with elastic since they are less likely to cut cord than round crimps.
The Half Hitch knot is a good one for making a loop at the end of your piece of jewelry when you are using you cord doubled. SeeFigure 4.
This knot is also called an "Overhand Knot".
- The picture above shows the cord position necessary for forming a Lark's Head knot. Simply fold your cord and put it through a hole or around an object, then put the loose ends through the loop created.
Notes on this knot:
- This is a knot that you probably use all the time but may have not known it's name. Lark's head knot are great for attaching a cord to a donut bead (as shown) or connecting a cell phone finding to your phone..
- Figure 5 shows the cord position necessary for forming a Square knot.
Notes on this knot:
- This is a good knot to use when joining two pieces of cord together. It will hold well as long as the cord you are using is not too soft or slippery. For example this knot tends not to work very well with elastic cord.
This knot is used in decorative cording or macreme because the knot can be tied repeatedly to create a pattern. Beads can be strung onto the cord within or between knots to enhance the design.
- Figure 6 shows the cord position necessary for forming a Surgeon's knot. Note that the end of the cord is passed through the loop one extra time on one side only.
Notes on this knot:
- This is used when you want a more secure knot than a Square knot. It tends to curl up a bit when tightened - it stays together better, similarly, it is a lot harder to get apart!
Tying a Sliding Knot (for Adjustable Length Jewelry)
Sliding knots are adjustable knots used to make all sorts of adjustable-length jewelry. No clasps, crimps, or jump loops are necessary. All you need is plenty of cord and a pair of scissors. Allow about 8" of cord for the knotted section of your piece. For example, if you want the finished length of a necklace to be 20 inches, start with at least 28" of cord. You can always trim the cord after tying the first knot if it seems too long. The minimum size that will fit around most people's heads is about 20 inches.
Note that in the pictured steps, we have used two colors of Greek Leather so that it is easier to see the knotting technique. When you create your jewelry, the two ends will probably be the same color, similar to the "you're finished" picture.
Step 1Choose stringing material, such as rattail, Greek leather, waxed cord, or polyester cord. Cross the free ends of your cord. Make sure you've already strung your pendant on it! If your pendant has a snap bail, you can put it on later.
Step 2Fold about 3" of one end back on itself. Both loose ends of the cord should be pointing in the same direction.
Step 3Pinch the bend together around the other loose end. Leaving about a finger width of space at the end.
Step 4Wrap the free end of the bent cord around all the cords a few times coiling toward the bent end. We like to use at least three coils to make a neat & secure knot, but you can choose how many loops you like for your design.
Step 5Slide the end through the loop on the end. Push the coils toward the loop.
Step 6Tighten the knot.
Step 7Repeat on the other side. Trim any loose ends that are sticking out.
Sometimes, even when you know that your cord should be small enough to go through the hole in a particular bead, it is difficult to get it strung. Here are some tips that may help.
- Cut the end of the cord with very sharp scissors. That creates a 'clean' end, less likely to catch on the edge of the hole.
- Use the old sewing technique of wetting the end of the cord and pinching it down with your fingers before inserting into the hole (like threading a needle).
- Clean the holes out with a Bead Reamer or similar tool. This tool has a long thin diamond file (looks like an awl that has a surface that looks like a very fine file). You might be able to find something similar at a good hardware store, or we sell these tools at Hand Tools - Bead Reamer.
- Instead of wetting the end of the cord with water, wet it with white glue (brands like Elmer's or Eileen's Tacky Glue work fine). Smooth the cord end down, pinching it down to be as small as possible. No glue should be beaded up on the cord. Then let the end dry until it is not tacky. You should now have a good chance of fitting it through the hole. Just snip off the end that has the dried glue on it and continue your project.
- Remember that bead holes have to measure a little larger than your cord to be able to string them. For example, cord that is 0.8mm requires beads with holes that measure at least 1.0-1.2mm to avoid complete frustration.