Thursday, January 29, 2015

Black thread vs white thread

The idea for this post came from some beads that I've been working with the past couple of days. They're Chinese rondelles in a beautiful pale peach color that I got from Beadoholique, which is the local bead shop. The 6mm rondelles have a beautiful opal finish and the 3mm beads have an AB finish. I thought they'd make a pretty bracelet and earrings set. 

My main concern was that my black thread would show through the translucent beads too much. Well, it does show but I'm not sure if I mind it so much, at least compared to what happened when I made a sample of the bracelet pattern with Crystal FireLine last night. While the white thread allows the color of the rondelles to show up better, the thread shows horribly where the rondelles are connected to the seed beads. Of course it's a lot more obvious in these photos because they're so large and zoomed in. But, that also means that the shadows from the black thread really aren't quite as obvious in reality as in the photos (click the photo below to see it at full size).

One thing that I like about using black thread for most of my beadwork is that it gives the metallic seed beads an "antique" look because they have a dark outline around them. When I used white thread to make the earrings below, the seed beads look very pale and lack definition. Mind you, I think these earrings are incredibly pretty. You'd have to see them in real life to appreciate how tiny and delicate they are. I do like how the earrings look with white thread. White works in this case because the beads are very tiny (15/0 seed beads) and the stitching is very close together. So, there are no big gaps where the thread shows like there are in the bracelet.

The above photo is rather dark. There really isn't that much contrast between the beads. This photo is more how they really look:

Here is a comparison of an earring with white thread (on the left) next to one made with black thread (on the right):
The peach colored beads turned gray from the black thread going through them. They still look very pretty, just not the same. What I can't decide is if I prefer the delicate pale look of the white thread version or the more vintage look of the black thread version of the earrings.

How do you decide what color thread to use in your beading projects? Let me know what you think by posting a comment.

The bracelet pattern is my adaptation of Ellad2's "Lace Flowers Bracelet" pattern which you can buy HERE. I made the earrings from Nunzia's "Easy Earrings" YouTube tutorial which you can watch HERE. I made them with 15/0 seed beads and 3mm rondelles which is why they're so tiny. I also added an extra element at the top this time.



  1. I know I'll attract many rotten tomatoes flying in my direction, but I can't bring myself to wearing jewellery made with textile thread (don't even ask), so I use clear plastic thread, solves the colour match problem too :D
    I like the version with white thread for smaller beads (especially if you have to pass through the same bead several times) and black for bigger beads for the reasons you mentioned. In general, if most of the beads are dark, medium or any opaque colour, black is good and if they are light and translucent use white. If you have very light clear beads, I see no other choice but clear thread, unless visible threads are part of the design.

    1. I don't know of any clear plastic thread that is thin, soft and flexible enough for the kind of patterns I make. Is there a particular brand and size that you buy?

    2. I just want to comment on your comment about not wearing jewelry made with "textile thread". I was informed by my husband back when I first started beading that both FireLine AND Nymo started out as fishing line, not for textiles. As far as I'm concerned, there is no right or wrong product to use for beading, or any other craft project. The whole idea when it comes to arts and crafts is to find something that works for YOU.

    3. Dear Linda,
      first of all, thank you for this great blog and all the inspiration!
      I'm using 0.15 mm nylon thread (equivalent of 6lb) which is completely transparent and almost invisible in the beadwork.
      Manufacturer is Marianne Hobby (Austria).I live in Europe and I'm buying this thread in my local craft shop.
      I tried to find it in some online shop and this is what I found:
      I hope it helps.

    4. Ah, that's reassuring! I usually get the lecture that fishing line is the worst product for beading and I should move to "real" thread or quit. However, clear thread was successfully used in projects such as this: (bridal necklace with lots of clear beads)
      and this: (really tiny seed beads, took me forever to find a needle that would fit through)
      and these too:
      As you see, all these patterns required thin and flexible thread and fishing line did just fine. I couldn't find a picture of the thread online and chances are you won't find it. It's 0.2 or 0.25mm thick and has a corn cob drawn on the label. All I can say is that it's NOT this one: - it is indeed too hard, although I used it for projects that had to hold a shape, such as this:
      I just go to the store and feel the end of the thread to see if it's what I need. Thinner thread is softer and may have a bit of stretch. A little tip from me - this type of thread is very slippery so when I need to add a new thread I tie a knot at the end of each piece, then tie them together with a regular double knot. I hope that helps!

    5. Thanks for the tip. It's odd that I don't get any hits with Google that are in the US. Surely someone must sell it over here. Some of the hits I got are calling it fishing line and others call it "sewing thread". I'll just see if the local bead shop has it and go from there.

  2. i have to say i prefer the black thread through the light bead large and small gives the bead an added age that i really like .i like my beadwork to look like it fell out of grannies old jewellery box so for me its black thread .

  3. I've not been beading very long. I've been so inspired by Linda's designs so I am hesitant to offer a suggestion.... but for this sort of dilemma, I use a soft green thread I got at Michaels. Think it is something like "wildfire" brand and its of the "fireline" type of thread. The green is sort of mossy green looking so I think it blends better than either black or white in this sort of situation.