Tuesday, August 23, 2011

7 Ways to Deal with Large Holed Beads

Making my own beads out of Friendly Plastic and Opals Embossing enamels is something I love to do. But because they're made on bamboo skewers, they have really big bead holes and getting them to sit nicely on the stringing material without wobbling is a challenge. But it's not a problem restricted to my handmade mixed media beads.

Image of 4 handmade, large hole beads with text overlay: 7 Ways to Deal with Large Hole Beads

With the popularity of lampwork beads and pandora-inspired beads you're bound to have come across this problem yourself, so here's a list of ideas that should help you centre those beads on your stringing material so that they sit nicely instead of wobbling around.
A collection of Large Hole Beads

1. Insert a Bugle Bead or Seed Beads in the hole

Insert a bugle bead or seed beads inside the bead and thread the eye pin straight through the middle. You can use bead caps to hide the bugle bead if it's showing.
Bugle beads of different lengthsStringing a bugle bead onto a head pin followed by a large hole bead

2. Plastic Tubing

Use the plastic tubing designed for covering memory wire. Plastic jewellery tubing in different thicknessesCut jewellery tube to the length of the large holed beadInsert the cut tubing inside the large holed beadYou can buy plain clear tubing or velour coated tubing. Thread the large holed bead onto the velour coated jewellery tubingIf you consider aquarium or brewing tube too, then you have a variety of tubing widths to choose from.Large holed beads need different stringing materials to sit well.Plastic aquarium tube comes in a variety of sizes and is larger than velour covered tube.Thread the bead onto the aquarium tubing.Insert the velour tubing into the aquarium tubing before stringing on the large hole bead

3. Silicone Earring Stoppers

Earring stoppers for earring wires. String an earring stopper onto a head pin to use inside large hole beadsFurnace cane glass beads have large holesThey fit well inside some glass cane beads......Earring stoppers cut to fit inside the hole of a can glass bead also protect the bead from chipping.....but need trimming to fit inside others. Earring stops are made from a fairly soft plastic and they can be trimmed easily with a pair of scissors to fit snugly inside the bead if need be.Trim the earring stopper to the diameter of the bead hole whilst it is on the head pin.Insert the trimmed earring stopper into the cane glass bead

4. Polymer Clay

Use polymer clay to fill the hole if the bead is glass, slide in an eye pin and then bake it. If your beads are plastic and won't take the heat of an oven, consider an airdrying clay that has minimal shrinkage when it dries. Apoxie Sculpt is another alternative - it's a two part resin putty that cures without the need for baking and it doesn't shrink when it cures.

5. Use a Bicone Bead

Place a bicone bead on the eye pin, then the large holed bead and then another bicone bead (one end of each bicone should fit snuggly inside the bead, holding the bead firmly in place). In time, the bicone will chip away with wear so it's not really a long term solution.
Bicone beads act as stoppers inside European style beads and also add a touch of colour to the designBicone beads add some additional colour as well as helping to stabilise large holed European style beads

6. Upside Down Bead Caps

This is a variation of number 5. Insert a small metal bell-shaped cap into the bead hole, upside down.Bead caps with a cone shape fit well inside large holed beadsInsert small cone shaped bead caps into European style beads to stop them from wiggling on the stringing materialChoose cone shaped bead caps that fit firmly inside the rim of the European style beads to help stablise them.

7. Bead Aligners

Purchase commercial bead aligners such as those from TierraCast. They fit snugly inside the ends of pandora-style beads.
And if none of these ideas is the solution you're looking for, you could always consider using a thicker stringing material such as leather cord or rat tail or even a bunch of fibres.

If you liked this article, you might also find this one helpful:
8 Professional Ways to Finish Bulky Stringing Materials

Pin these ideas for later!

Inspiration sheet with ideas on how to string large hole beads

Happy beading!
'Til next time.....

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Would you like to comment?

  1. This is one great post! For my Bead Soup I have a large hole focal bead and I always stay away from the big holes. But I can't hide anymore.

    I remember seeing an 8th method in a book I have where they made an eyepin out of double twisted wire.

    Have to find out which one works for me.


  2. Hi Pepita. Glad you enjoyed the post and hope you find one of those ideas useful. You can also make a coil of wire to slip inside the bead hole and then thread the eye pin through that. Thanks for stopping by :)

  3. These are all excellent ideas ~ thanks for sharing them with us!

  4. Thanks Di - I hope you find them useful.
    Some of them work really well with Friendly Plastic made on skewers (my favourite way of working with FP)!


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