Beading Basics: Threading

Can you relate to the struggle??!!


As in so many of his paintings of everyday life Norman Rockwell did an amazing job of capturing the great frustration in doing what is categorized as a simple task; threading a needle.  This frustration could stop a beader in their tracks, however with a few tips and tricks your needle and threading woes can be a thing of the past.

  • Make sure your needle is the right one for the job. Most beading needles have very small eyes but use the largest needle you can for your beads.  If using size 15/0 seed beads you want a size 12 needle or smaller (the bigger the number the thinner the needle), if using size 11/0 or larger seed beads you can use a size 11 or 10 needle.

  • Check the gauge of your threading material. If you are using size D nymo with size 15/0 seed beads you might have problems just getting the needle and thread through the beads once and will run into major problems (broken beads) when trying to pass through the beads again. So be sure that your threading material is the right one for the job.  We will cover threading materials in another blog posting.
  • To keep thread from fraying and tangling as you bead you can use some thread conditioner or beeswax. Hold the thread snug against the conditioner and slide the entire length of thread along the conditioner.
  • If you have a project that will require multiple lengths of thread once you are on a roll, thread several needles to have them ready for instant use.
  • Needle threaders are available, but generally do not work for beading needles as the eyes on the needles are so small.
  • Each needle has one side of the eye that is slightly larger from the needle making process if one side just doesn’t seem to thread, flip the needle over and try the other side.


Most people attempt to thread a needle by bringing the thread to the needle, this usually isn’t very successful; the thread seems to bounce off the needle.

Our favorite method of needle threading is the needle-to-thread method. 

  • If using fireline or other braided line flatten the end of the thread by pulling the last inch or so through your thumb nail and index finger (I won’t tell you that often I just slide the thread through my teeth to flatten it).
  • Hold the thread between your thumb and index fingers.
  • Pull the thread down so that you can barely see the tip of the thread between your fingertips.
  • With your other hand holding the needle, bring the needle eye to the thread.
  • Slide the needle on to the thread between your fingers. With a little practice you should be able to feel when the thread has been caught by the eye.  When you part your fingers you should have a threaded needle. 
  • Grasp the tip of the thread and slide as much into the needle as you need.

Holding the thread with your fingers helps to keep it from fraying and since thread is usually round and needle eyes oblong you can compress the thread some to shape it to fit into the eye more easily.

Hopefully these tips will ease the frustration and give you more time for the important BEADING!

We would love to hear any other tricks you might have for threading, contact us at

Happy Beading!



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