finishing the ends of a plastic string necklace
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Putting Jewelry Bead Tips (Cups) onto Plastic (Nylon) Thread

Beaded necklaces are easy to make using nylon thread. Nylon (plastic) thread is more flexible than Beadalon or Tigertail and may be useful for a lot of projects. It is also very inexpensive. But how the heck do you finish the ends? You can’t use crimps – it will cut the thread. It can be easier than you think. A little patience, a lot of knots and a dab of glue are all you need.

Tools you need:

  • jewelry cups (aka: bead tips/clam shell bead tips)
  • plastic nylon ‘thread’
  • patience

If you need to purchase any of the items, go to our jewelry making supplies page. You can secure one of the jewelry cups (bead tips) onto the end of the plastic thread before you start putting the beads on if you like. It is handy to finish one end before you start because you don’t have to worry about losing beads while you are stringing. The first steps below are for securing a bead tip before putting on any beads.

5 Easy Steps

1. Cut the thread to the right length. When cutting the thread, allow for at least 2-3 inches extra on each side of the piece. (For example, if your necklace needs to be 10 inches long, cut the string to be 14-16 inches long.) Don’t worry, the plastic thread is pretty darn cheap and will cost next to nothing for the extra length.

2. In order to secure the thread so that it won’t slip through the hole, one method is to tie a whole bunch of knots on top of each other to make a large knot of the strand. Make the first knot about an inch and a half from one end of the thread, and then keep knotting and knotting. You don’t want to make the knot ball too big or the cup won’t fit around it.

3. Cut the extra thread off close to the knot.

4. Put a drop of glue onto the ball of knots to prevent them from coming undone.

5. Put the bead tip on the thread so that the cups will enclose the knots. Close the cup around the ball of knots.

Then you can proceed with putting all of your beads on to complete the necklace. Once you are done adding beads, the second cup can be strung on. It is important to know that beaded necklaces need a bit of slack at the end because when they are curved around someone’s neck, the beads will take up more room. If you don’t leave some extra room at one end of the thread, the beads will actually pinch the hairs and skin on the neck. I learned the hard way about this phenomenon! It’s not the end of the world, but designing for comfort is pretty important.

So I usually leave about 1 centimeter (slightly less than half an inch) of extra length at one end when the necklace is finished. This gets a little tricky when making the knots because the knot ball itself will take up some length on both sides of the first knot. So leave a little more than 1 centimeter when making the first knot to start. (This really just takes practice to perfect. Don’t expect it to be perfectly placed the first time you do it.)

To end the necklace:

  1. Place the cup onto the unfinished end of the thread (with the hole side going on first).
  2. Start the first knot at just over 1 centimeter away from the last bead.
  3. Keep knotting just like you did in the first batch of steps.
  4. Knot until the ball is big enough to not slip through the hole.
  5. Cut the extra thread off of the knot.
  6. Place a drop of clear glue or jewelers glue onto the knot.
  7. Close the cup around the ball of knots.

There you have it!! You have finished your beaded necklace. Pat yourself on your back and then read about how to attach the cups to the clasp and jump ring. If you need some inspiration to make new designs, visit our page on ideas for designing jewelry.

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