What's in a Thread?

C-Lon, Fireline, Silamide, Nymo, Sikon, Spiderwire??!!

There seem to be as many types of beading threads as there are beads, how does one choose the right thread for a project? And then once the choice had been narrowed down, what strength or weight is needed?  Choosing the right thread for a project is essential. There is nothing like broken threads part way through a project to stop all enthusiasm and momentum. 

We hope to help with the confusion about the various styles of thread and the sizes of thread.

Until just a few years ago there weren't many thread options, bead weaving was done using Nymo.  With new technology Nymo isn't the only option and we at BeadTrove very seldom use Nymo unless we are making a bead swatch or doing loom work.  Our new favorite for most bead weaving is Fireline.  However, it is good to be familiar with other types of beading thread so that you can make the best choice for a specific project.  We will highlight a few of the thread types available today and which projects they are best used on.

C-Lon®  or Nymo® are nylon based beading threads and very comparable to one another. Both come in multiple thread weights and colors available for different tasks.   C-Lon® has 2 different lines of threads, their beading thread and their bead cord. The beading thread for both C-Lon® and Nymo® is labeled using letters such as AA or D.  These beading threads are the popular choice for working with seed beads and can be ideal for brick stitch, peyote and bead-weaving when using non-sharp beads.  Lightly coat thread with beeswax or other bead thread conditioner before stringing to help protect against thread fraying.  Be sure the eye on your beading needle isn't too small for the thread weight you've chosen. You don't want the needle to be the culprit in wearing out your thread.  We like to use either one when practicing a new technique or pattern since both are very inexpensive.


FireLine™ and Spiderwire® are multi-strand threads that are braided or knitted, and then bonded.  They are designed for stringing and weaving projects. This popular jewelry-making thread does not stretch or tangle, threads easily and resists abrasion from beads with sharp or rough edges. Great for use with crystal components, seed beads and gemstone beads.  Fireline has more weights (labeled by poundage, i.e. 4lb) than Spiderwire, but both work well for most projects, we generally used one or the other for most beadwork, including peyote and brickstitch as well as bead-weaving. The 4 lb Fireline will go through size 15 seed beads several times. The draw-back to both is the lack of color choice, although we have found that the clear or  smoke work for most projects and are generally invisible. Lightly coat thread with beeswax or other bead thread conditioner before stringing to help protect against thread fraying.  Be sure the eye on your beading needle isn't too small for the thread weight you've chosen, as both will show wear if constantly pulled through a tight needle.

Silamide waxed nylon beading thread is a twisted, two-ply waxed nylon beading thread with supple strength, resilience and colorfastness.  If thread color is important this would be the best choice as Silamide has a wide range of colors. Pre-waxed so you do not need thread conditioner Silamide works well for peyote stitch, brick stitch, loom weaving and free hand bead-weaving.

So ultimately, which thread should you choose?

Our number one choice is FireLine™ or Spiderwire® if for nothing else than peace of mind.  Very seldom do we have to do repair jobs on beaded items that were made using either one.  We prefer to use the heaviest weight that easily passes through the beads.  Generally if we are doing brick stitch or peyote we use 4lb FireLine™.  If we are doing bead-weaving with 11 or larger beads we use the 6 or 8lb test of either one.  If a pattern calls for multiple passes through beads we will often use the 4 lb. Please remember that these were originally created as fishing line, so if you purchase from a sporting good store the weight values will be much different than those purchased through a beading shop.

On the otherhand, if you are making a creation that needs the thread to match the beads, go for either C-Lon®  or Nymo® or Silamide.  We would recommend using the heaviest weight for the beads, if using size 15 or smaller beads C-Lon® or Nymo® will work best as they have lighter weights for small holed beads.  Due to being quite inexpensive we also recommend using one of these for pattern swatches and trial ideas. 

Hopefully this has helped to guide your thread choices, if you have any questions we happy to help, email us at info@beadtrove.com

Happy Beading!






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