Beading.com.my is having sales on selected beads and findings and a promotion on Swarovski crystals. Guess when I got to know about this? The Swarovski crystal promotion starts exactly one day after my order for the most recent haul of beads from them arrived. Bummer..... -_______-
As much as I spend on tools and beads, I can also be frugal when I can.
One such situation is the twisted beading needle.
I know it doesn't cost much but I'm not bothered when it's something I can make it myself.
It's not like you can make stainless steel pliers or chase hammers, can you?
Anyway, this is a bead stringing trick my Sa Kor taught me.
Sa Kor used to do a lot of bead crochet when she was younger, during her elementary school days. She used to crochet purses with my other aunts to sell to my grandaunt who would then resell them for profit. So, yeah, it was a bit like child labour if you look at it from another perspective. LOL
They were paid only like some 50 cents or something for their labour work. This was back in the 1950's. 50 cents is not a lot of money but for a primary school kid, that's quite a lot already. And tell me, how many primary school kids are earning their own money?
So, what they normally do before crocheting is to string the crochet thread with glass seed beads and if you've worked with those beads before, you will know what a pain it can sometimes be. If you're working with fishing line, stringing might not be as big of a problem as say, if you are using other types of thread. Fishing line is in itself sturdy enough to even act as a needle itself. However, if you are using other types of softer beading thread, stringing would most definitely require a needle as it is in the case of bead crochet.
You can use smaller sizes sewing needle. Small enough to go through the small holes of the beads. However, while you can get the beads through, you can't quite get it through right to the end. The bead will be stuck right at the eye of the needle. That part happens to be the thicker because the eye need to be large enough for the thread to go through, no?
Well, there's beading needle, yes. But the eye of beading needle is so small that they would only allow sewing thread to pass by. Sewing thread are way too fine to be suitable for jewellery making purposes and I don't think that it is recommended that you use thread which are too fine for jewellery making for obvious reasons. Thread too fine will not be able to carry the weight of the beads.
So, this is where twisted beading needle comes in. These are needles made of a loop of fine steel wire twisted around itself to form a needle-like assembly. At one end is the twisted part which will act as the sharp point and the non-twisted loop at the other end is where the beading thread is pushed through. Then the loop is crushed closed to hold onto the beading thread and to make it small enough to go through the bead holes.
There is also the big eye needle. A clever little needle that splits in the middle to form the eye. Ideal for beading and loom work.
However, this is how you can make your very own needle.
I’m using gemstone chips to be strung into the floss-like stretchable string as an example here because I once had an aunty, a friend of a family friend who mentioned to me that she couldn’t restring the gemstone chips bracelet that she bought for her daughter because no needle she bought could go through (even the shop assistant confirmed that it will go through and we are talking about shops that sell sewing materials here and you would expect them to know better!) and asked me what needles I use. So, this was also the same trick I taught her and I gave her some of my DIY needles and it worked out beautifully for her.
Ok, if you have ever opened up a plug before, this is what you’ll see inside.
See the three small wires of brown, yellow/green and blue wrapped inside the thicker cable?
Cut one of these wires out. Anyone will do but make sure the length is long enough so that when it is folded into half later, it is still at a length that you can work comfortably with.
Scratching your head already? Wait, this is where the trick starts.
The colour of the wires come from the rubber wrapping. Inside these rubber wraps are tens (I’m not sure, never bothered to count but there’s A LOT!), of hair fine wires made from what I believe to be copper. These hair fine copper wires are used in electrical appliances to transfer the electricity charge from the plug point to the electrical appliances but we are going to use it for stringing beads!
Cut open the rubber wrap. This can be easily done with a blade.
This is what you’ll get.
This is what will later be your twisted or even big eye needle.
Take one of these copper wire out. You’ll only need one to make the needle.
Next, fold it into half.
Hold the folded part with your left hand and twist the two other ends of the wires together with your right hand keeping the two wires at the folded end apart to form an open loop, which will be the eye of the ‘needle’.
Continue twisting with your right hand until you reach the end. Of course, if you are left handed, it would be the other way round! ;) I’m right handed.
This is what you’ll get when you are done. I like to leave the loop a bit bigger because it’s easier to work with. You can of course make a smaller loop for the eye. Either way, it still will be crushed together to hold the thread to the needle. Either way will work fine.
Let’s see how this ‘needle’ is going to work, shall we? :)
Take out the necessary materials needed. Here, I'll be stringing amethyst gemstone chips onto the floss like stretchy thread.
Next, thread your floss like stretch thread into the eye of the needle.
Curshed the loop together to close the eye of the needle.
Now, string your beads on as you would normally do.
They work just like any ordinary needle and thread. :)
Now that you’re done with it, do not throw it away! Why? Well, they are still re-usable. Don’t you just love to hear the term ‘re-usable’? I know I do. They usually means savings, savings and more savings. But then and again, you never spend anything to begin with also. LOL!
Remove the thread from the 'needle'.
What you do next is to slowly (I said slowly because these wires are actually quite fragile) untwist the twisted part of the wire……..
………. and you’re back at square one!
Repeat the above steps again the next time you want to use them. Or if you can just slowly open up the eye, you can also keep them in the open eye needle form. Either way, it’s fine. The choice is yours.
No doubt the
Yea, if so many why even bother untwisting it to keep it in the first place?
Well, no harm in saving when we can, is there? If you do no want to be bothered with the hassle, you may of course throw the used one away and start with a fresh new wire the next time you need one.
I think you can only find these hair fine copper strands in those electrical appliances cable wire. The copper strands inside other cable wires are much thicker and won’t, no, I should say can’t be used for this purpose. You’ll know that they are the right ones when they are hair fine strands.
Well, since we’re on the topic of threading, here is a few threading tips in general:
1. You may want to cut the thread end at an angle so you’ll end up with a pointier edge for easier beading.
2. Bright lighting also makes it easier to see the eye of needle and hole of beads and thus thread it.
3. It is very tempting to use long lengths of thread to avoid any situation of the thread running out even before the project is completed and hence the hassle of adding or attaching new threads. But bear in mind that apart from taking more time and effort to pull through, longer threads tangles easily which might result in knots in between. When you have knots in between the thread, you have a problem! Depending on the thickness of your thread and the size of the knot and the holes of your bead, beads may or may not go through that part of the thread. If the bead can still go through, good. But may cause in uneven tension which may affect the end result. If the bead can’t go through, then guess what? You’ll need to cut off where the knot is and end the piece if you have completed it or worse still, attach new thread if you’ve still got a long way to go! Therefore, the best length is to use a length only as long as your arms reach. Attach new threads if you have to. It is after all one of the basics that you need to learn. You can’t expect to do beading throughout your life without knowing how to attach new threads, can you?
Lastly, one gentle reminder on the DIY twisted beading needle, folks. DO NOT cut the wire cable from ANY of your household electrical appliances! ONLY cut them from your unwanted electrical appliances i.e. those that are no longer functioning and those that you are thinking of throwing them away. Do not destroy or damage, people. The idea here is to recycle, folks! ;) Erm, go green, peeps?