Tuesday, June 5, 2012

On Materials

 I have been working on my Beadsmith competition piece and part of the rules is that I am not allowed to share pictures of it till reveal day. It's going to be big and very fishy. That's all I got to say.
But for now, I was thinking I should still keep on blogging, if not about new pieces, then maybe issues like basic materials we beaders all use.

A very nice artist, who is new to bead embroidery contacted me on Etsy a week ago asking for my honest opinion of her work. I thought her work showed great promise, the only constructive criticism I could give her was to use Fireline instead of Nymo.

Yupp, we are back to that debate.

The picture above shows a few of my early pieces, (here is a link about the bracelet on the right, that's not my design.)
 Anyhow, these pieces were made between 2007 and 2009 with Nymo, and they are fraying and falling apart now.
 Some more then others, the two bracelets need constant fixing the necklace has fared  better.
I loved using Nymo because it's soft, you can get the color that matches your backing and beads, and it's just like thread. But you need to wax it, and the wax weakens the thread further.
So I say Fireline is the way to go. 6 pound test goodness in both smoke and crystal color.

I buy it by a 300 yard spool, and the best place to get this Cabela's.
It's about $30 for this much, and it lasts a long time.
 The grey matches most things, for lighter colors I use the crystal.
Don't waste your money on the braided variety, unless you are buying it specifically for long fringes on a collar. It feels more thread like, but much harder to put it through a size 12 needle's eye...
And it is too expensive for regular stuff. Fused original or fused crystal is the best way to go, as pictured above.
Compared to other beading threads it is quite an investment, but it really is the foundation of everything else. Doesn't matter how much money you splurge on beautiful cabochons and beads, if they all fall off  of your  creations like Humpty Dumpty fell off the wall.

There are many glues out there...
I bathed in glue for years to find what works best.
E6000 is my choice. It stinks to high heavens, and the smell takes quite a while to air out , but it works so well. It is toluene free now, (toluene is a a solvent that's carcinogenic), so supposedly safer to use.

If you find  anything else, that's clear, dries quick, remains flexible, is capable of bonding porous to nonporous surfaces and smells better, let me know.
Until then, it's E6000 for me.

There are times when you need a teentsy bit of super glue, I usually use it to seal things that I am afraid would unwind. When that happens, normally one gets covered in super glue from ear to ear, no great wonder since super glue was developed by the army as a field dressing, so it bonds skin really well.

Also, it dries out after one use, since it's mostly packaged in little aluminum tubes.

Not this little guy with its  pointy tip and a long cover over it that keeps it from drying out.
Also it contains more glue then the normal packaging, and with the precise tip you only get it to where you need it, so glue away, you will no longer be stuck to your beadwork.

This product is made by Loctite, and I buy it at my regular hardware store for about $3.50.
I bet it's available at other hardware stores too. Here is a link to a picture to show you what it looks like in it's package.

It took me years to figure out that I needed a thread burner.
 This little device gets really close to loose threads on your beadwork, and just burns all the little tails off. Gets to places no tiny scissors can get, and makes things nice and smooth.... My first one came from Joanne's, and it had a thick plastic housing and was flimsy as they get, and when the tip burned out, there was no replacement available.

This one , Thread Zap II is from the Beadsmith, and it has a metal housing, feels much nicer in the hand too because it's the size of a fat sharpie. The tip is replaceable, and it takes one AA battery that seems to last a long time.

It's predecessor ( Thread Zap) was more expensive, bigger and clunkier, so if you are in the market for one of these, get the new version.

Well, I hope this post will help someone who is struggling with choices in clouds of glue fumes and fishing lines.
 I am off to work on the Fishies....


  1. Hi Kinga. I'm a dedicated Nymo user for over 20 years. I've never used wax with the thread, though, since someone told me early on that wax would cause the thread to fray. I've gotten a bad spool now and then, but overall have been very satisfied.

    I use 527 glue. Doesn't stink and holds as well as E6000. With cabs that I'm going to bezel around, I've just started playing with double sided tape. Still on the fence, as this can be a mess to trim.

  2. Thanks for the tips! Now I'm interested to know what brand of needle you use -- I bought a pack of 50 a few months ago, and it took about two weeks for all of them to break. Some of them, I swear, broke when I just looked at them!

    Also, what are your thoughts on backing? I just tried Nicole's BeadBacking, and I love it. Never tried Lacy's.

    Have fun with the fishies! I love aquatic-themed jewelry, so I'm just dying to see how the finished piece turns out.

  3. Awesome, informative and valued topic.

  4. Szia Kinga!
    Köszönjünk ezt a hiánypótló posztot, nagyon hasznos volt, sajnos nálunk az E6000 nagyon drága, én is a távoli amerikából rendelem mindig, ahogy a fireline-t is. De van egy két cérna, ami igazán jó és tartós:))
    Köszönjük szépen!!! Szép napot és sok sikert a pályázathoz, kiváncsian várom a munkákat:))))


  5. Hello Kinga:
    I've been missing Your blogposts:-)
    The *Fireline*'s the best in the world of threads.I always and ONLY use the 'Fireline'0,008, 6lb-mostly crystal one.I always buy it on Amazon.com and cannot imagine any other one,despite they produce it only in two colors-crystal and smoked.The 'Nymo' threads are in the variation of colors,but they break very often and the'brush' is being made at each end,making it hard to put into the thin needles' 'ears'.The 'Fireline'threads are strong,waxed well,ready to go through the one small bead even seven times if it is needed.
    Best Greetings-Halinka-

  6. Something fishy in here :))
    Thanks Kinga for the useful tips. I only use Fireline 6lb for anything and everything.
    Just a couple of days ago my friend asked me to make her a bracelet with Miyuki galv. dusty orchid seed bead. I really don't like that colour so however it will turn out I will not be satisfied with it. So,I started beading with fireline but somehow the thread was showing even though it wasn't loose,then I went to buy Nymo in the same colour. Nice and soft thread is in the garbage now because it's was fraying already while I was working with it.
    Happy fishing :)

  7. Even at your beginner jewelry you see the big talent, that you have. Thank you for the many detailed tips! Good luck for the competions.
    Send you my best wishes and greetings from Lower-Austria:

  8. Great post Kinga! I am slowly becoming a Fireline convert. I've only ever always used Nymo 00 but lately have been using Fireline in all of my bead weaving pieces. I just finished my Fire Mountain Gems entry which was a bead embroidered piece and I still used my trusty Nymo for that.

    I am also a fan on E6000 and have had a thread burner in one of my shopping carts for months now! I must invest in one of those!


  9. Thank you, Kinga, for the great tips. I was told about Fireline from the very beginning - so glad I did. I have spent many many hours looking for the right glue and will be taking your advice about E6000. Wouldn't know what to do with a thread burner but I'm contemplating it.

    Your beadwork is stunning!