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Tutorial - How to Hand Knot Pearls

Threading Pearls  - Fact Sheet and tutorial

Pearls always look luxurious and I think chic and contemporary.  All sorts of colours are available, usually with a glorious iridescent sheen.  They look equally great in single strands or heaped together in multi-strands.  Let your imagination run riot!  These facts suit the threading of both round or rice/seed freshwater pearls.  I suggest you read the instructions all the way through before you start because you may choose to start with a much longer piece of thread if you decide to knot between each bead as described in Further Information **  at the very end of the sheet.

Materials

16 inch strand(s) of freshwater pearls – number of strands depends on your design and whether you are making necklace or bracelet.

Silver gimp/French wire/bullion (*see below for a more detailed explanation)

Clasp

Strong nylon bead thread such as Nymo in colour to compliment your pearls

Beading needle and scissors.

Instructions 

1. Work out how long you want your pearl strand on your necklace or bracelet to be and cut a length of thread which is about 7 or 8 inches longer than you need your finished threaded strand to be (you will need this spare thread at each end of your piece for knotting and finishing off.)

2. Make 2 knots on top of each other about 3 inches from one end of the thread.

3. Thread a beading needle onto the unknotted end.

4. Thread on three pearls and a piece of gimp about half and inch long.  Next thread through the hole at one end of your chosen clasp and pass the needle down through the first pearl.

5. Make a knot round the thread between the two pearls and pull it tight.  It should be large enough so the pearls can’t pass over it but small enough to look neat. Thread down through the next pearl and knot.

6. Thread down through the next pearl and make another knot over the first knots and thread on the rest of the pearls until you have the right length for the necklace or bracelet.

7. To finish the other side, thread on a piece of gimp, again about half an inch long to match the first side and thread through the other end of the clasp.

8. Thread the needle down through the last pearl and make a knot as you did in 5 above.

9. Pass the needle down through the next pearl along, then knot; thread down and knot.  Do this three or four more times (**see below for more information) and pass the needle through the next pearl. Trim the end of the thread.

10. Going back to the loose bit of thread on the side you started with, thread it down through three or four pearls and trim the end.

Further Information *

Gimp is sold in lengths of either silver colour or gold colour - It is a tightly coiled flexible wire which is cut into small lengths by the jewellery maker using sharp scissors.  Using a needle, a thread such as Nymo is threaded with a bead and then the gimp and then is threaded through one end of a clasp.  Next the thread is pulled back through the anchor bead and knotted, so that the gimp encircles the end of clasp, creating a durable ring for the clasp to fit in, prolonging the life of the thread.

Further Information **

Knotting between every bead on the strand is usually done with expensive pearls to avoid loss if the thread snaps and the beads fall every which way. You can choose to do this all the way back down your strand if you prefer but you will have to make sure that you take this into account from the outset when calculating how long your thread should be i.e. you should double up on the length of thread you cut.

Remember it is better to use a piece of thread that is too long and waste a little bit, than it is to get towards the end of your project and realise that your thread is not going to reach, as you can’t join in new pieces of thread!

Thank you for shopping with Sandstones at www.sand-stones.co.uk for all your Beads and Jewellery Making needs!