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Tying Thread Off and On

Tying Off

It may surprise you to learn that when we tie off thread we don't need to tie a knot.

In bead weaving all you need to do is to weave the thread back through previous rows changing directions a couple of times.

Here we have given an example thread path, but you can choose any thread path you like - just ensure you have gone through enough beads and the thread has changed directions to keep things secure.

Finally snip the left over thread close to the beadwork.

Tying On

Tying on is very similar to tying off. First, start from a bead that is a few rows back from where you are beading, leave a tail of thread extending from this bead.

Then as we did for tying off, weave through the beads changing directions a couple of times until the needle and thread is extending from the next bead in previous row, ready to continue your row.

Give your thread a little tug, if it doesn't move you are ready to continue - if it does add your needle onto the tail of thread and weave it in a little bit more until the thread doesn't move when you tug it.

When you are happy snip off the tail of thread and continue beading!

Best Practice

  • Always tie on/off thread in the middle of a row (avoiding increases/decreases). If you tie on and off at the end of the row additional thread will show. However, in the middle of the row this thread will be hidden.
  • Tie off thread in an area of beadwork that closely matches the colour of the thread. If you tie off in an area which is a contrasting colour it is more likely the thread will show through.
  • When you cut the thread pull thread taught and with a pair of thin bladed scissors (i.e. embroidery) or thread zapper cut thread as close as possible to the beadwork. The enables the thread to disappear inside the beads, hidden from view.
  • On beadwork stuffed with wadding, before cutting the thread, go through the beadwork and the wadding to the other side, then snip off the thread so the tail of thread disappears inside the wadding. This gives you a longer tail of thread so even less chance of it showing or coming loose.
  • Try to tie off to the right of the beadwork and tie on to the left (or vice versa). We don't want to be tying off and on using the same beads as all the extra thread might distort any spacing between them.