Using-Silk-Cord-For-Jewelry-Making_Main

How to Use Silk Cord in Jewelry Making

Silk cord has been used as a stringing material in jewelry-making for centuries. No other beading cord offers the softness that natural silk provides. Jewelry designs made with 100% silk bead cord drape beautifully and the cord itself can become a feature with knotting techniques. Whether you’re looking to create a simple strand of beads or incorporate knotted bead clusters into your designs, GoodyBeads.com is here to show you how easy and versatile this timeless stringing material can be.

One of our favorite silk bead cord brands is Griffin. Griffin bead cords are made of 100% natural silk and come in a rainbow of colors and a variety of thread sizes.

Griffin bead cords are sold 2-meters per card. Two strands of twisted silk are wrapped around a cardboard backer. Each cord comes with its own needle for easy threading.

 

Choosing Silk Cord
Thread thickness is very important, especially if you plan on incorporating knots into your designs. Beads can slide over a knot if the cord is too thin for the bead hole you are working with. Griffin bead cords has its own numeric system for categorizing thread cord sizes: No. 0 – No. 12.

Each thread number has an associated millimeter size. Below is a quick reference guide for each number:
No. 0 = 0.30mm
No. 2 = 0.45mm
No. 4 = 0.60mm
No. 6 = 0.70mm
No. 8 = 0.80mm
No. 12 = 0.98mm

 

Smooth Out Silk Cord

Since silk bead cords come spooled on a card, you must prepare your new cord for use by smoothing out the kinks first.

GoodyBeads.com | Blog: Straighten Silk Cord Tutorial

To smooth out your cord, unravel the whole cord from the card. Starting from one end, dip your fingers in water and run your damp fingers through a section of the cord. Run your fingers over the section a few times to help straighten them out. Once that section is straight, continue on down to the next section of the cord with damp fingers until you’ve straightened the whole piece. Next, run a paper towel over the entire cord and gently squeeze to remove any residual water from the cord. That’s all you need to do. The cord will still be a bit damp but you can certainly use it right away. You can also wait a few minutes until it’s fully dried.

NOTE: You can use the same cord for multiple projects if you plan to keep using the needle that is attached to the cord. String bead(s) through the needle and utilize the end section of the cord.

 

Using Clamshell Bead Tip with Silk Cord

A way to attach your silk cord to jump rings or clasps is to attach clamshell bead tips.

GoodyBeads.com | Blog: A way to attach your silk cord to jump rings or clasps is to attach clamshell bead tips.

 

Start by making a knot at the end of your prepared silk cord. Cut any excess cord close to the knot. Add a dab of Super New Glue or fast-drying glue to the knot. Place the knot inside the clamshell center and fold the clamshell over the knot. The glue will keep the knot from unraveling and to adhere the silk cord to the inside of the clamshell bead tip. Once the glue is dry, it’s ready to use.

Need a little inspiration? Here are some ways we used Griffin silk bead cord in our jewelry designs. Plus, quick tips on how you can create these designs yourself!

 

Crystal Cluster Knotted Silk Cord Necklace

GoodyBeads.com | Blog: Use Silk cord to make knotted clusters of beads.
Designed by So Vang

Make a necklace with knotting in-between clusters of beads. Choose from Swarovski® crystals, Chinese crystals, Czech glass beads, seed beads or your favorite gemstones. For our necklace, we used the entire 2-meter cord and strung on clusters of one gold seed bead, three dainty round Chinese crystals and one gold seed bead, that were knotted with an inch gap between clusters. This version makes a 60” necklace that you can wrap around two or three times.

Here you can see how the clamshell bead tips are used in conjunction with jump rings and a lobster clasp.

Knot-Silk-Cord-Crystal-Cluster-clasp

In our next blog post, we’ll show you how to make evenly spaced knots using The EasyKnotter® tool.

 

Pearl Knotted Necklace

GoodyBeads.com | Blog: Make a Pearl Necklace on silk cord and knotting in between each pearl for a longer lasting necklace without the chaffing of pearls.
Designed by So Vang

Pearl beads and silk cord are a match made in heaven. Not only do they look great together, the silk cord also helps prolong the life of your pearl jewelry by preventing the beads from rubbing up against each other, which can breakdown the bead’s finish. Making this elegant necklace is super easy.

First, make a knot and clamp a clamshell over the knot. Make another knot close to the clamshell. String on a pearl. Make a knot close to that pearl. Repeat until a preferred length. Make two knots at the end and clamp a clamshell over the last knot. Finish with a lobster clasp and you’re done!

Pearl-Knotted-Silk-Cord-Necklace-Clasp

If you have a worn-out pearl necklace, you can undo all the pearls and restring on silk cord to extend its jewelry life.

Layered Gold Tube Silk Cord Necklace

GoodyBeads.com | Blog: Make this minimalistic-inspired, layered necklace with Gold Tube beads on silk cord.
Designed by So Vang

Minimalist jewelry is a huge fashion trend right now. Dainty jewelry components shine alone or together in multiple strands like our layered silk cord necklace. For this necklace, we focused on the sleek simplicity of gold tube beads and the lightness of silk cord.

 

Step 1: String on 25 gold tube beads on white silk cord. With the beads strung on, cut 20” off the end of the silk cord. Make 2.

Step 2: String on 25 gold tube beads on white silk cord. With the beads strung on, cut 22” off the end of the silk cord. Make 2.

Step 3: Gather the four cord strands and make a knot. Repeat to the other end.

Step 4: Dab some Super New Glue to both knots. Clamp a clamshell over the knots.

Step 5: Add a jump ring to one of the clamshell tip ends.

Step 6: Add a jump ring and a lobster clasp to the other clamshell tip ends. Done.

Teeny-Gold-Bead-Silk-Cord-Necklace-Clasp

This style of necklace is perfect for small dainty beads or seed beads or even some NEW 3mm or 2mm Czech round beads.

Twisted Seed Bead and Chain Silk Cord Bracelet

 

GoodyBeads.com | Blog: Twisted Seed Bead Silk Cord Bracelet
Designed by So Vang

For this bracelet, we twisted groups of silk cord with size 11/0 Miyuki seed beads and gold plated chain.

 

Step 1: String on seed bead to 8” and cut 10” silk cord strands with seed bead on. Make twelve strands. Tip: You can use the Bead Spinner to help to string on seed beads.

Step 2: Gather three seed bead strands and knot all three strands at both ends as close as you can to the seed beads. Clamp a clamshell over the knots. Make four group of seed bead strands.

Step 3: Cut two chain links at 8” and attach oval jump rings to each end of the chains.

Step 4: Also cut a few links of chain for your bracelet chain extender.

Step 5: Open an oval jump ring and slide on your lobster clasp.

Step 6: Open a larger jump ring and slide on these:

chain extender piece, two seed bead groups, chain extender piece, two seed bead groups.

Step 7: Close Jump ring.

Step 8: Leaving the chain extender along, separate the strands into two sections of chain and two seed bead grouped strands.  Make a “flemish twist” with the two sections.

Step 9: Open a large jump ring and slide on the other ends of the chain and grouped seed beads and lobster clasp jump ring.

Step 9: Close jump ring and you are done.

Seed-Bead-Silk-Cord-Bracelet-Ends

(Close-up shot of jump ring with grouped seed beads and chain links.)

We hope enjoyed these tips and tutorials. Check our next blog post where we show you how to create evenly spaced knots in your jewelry designs using The EasyKnotter® tool. Happy Beading!


 

Crystal Cluster Knotted Silk Cord Necklace

  • (1) A006580 – Griffin Bead Cord 100% Silk – No. 6 (0.70mm) Beige
  • (2) Z008768 – 3.2mm Gold Clamshell Bead Tips
  • (2) A008801 – 5mm Oval Gold Plated Jump Rings
  • (1) A011536 – 12mm Gold Plated Lobster Claws
  • SB00637 – MT8-GLM-TB 8/0 Gilding Metal Seed Beads Tube
  • A016768 – 4mm Jet 2XAB Round 32-Facet Chinese Crystal Glass Beads
  • Tool: TL00200 – Easy Knotter Beading Tool

Pearl Knotted Necklace

  • (1) A006573Griffin Bead Cord 100% Silk – No. 4 (0.60mm) White
  • (2) Z008717 – 3.2mm Silver Clamshell Bead Tips
  • (2) A008799 – 5mm Oval Silver Plated Jump Rings
  • (1) Z001124 – 12mm Silver Plated Lobster Claws
  • (60) SW00665 – 6mm White Swarovski Pearl
  • Tool: TL00200 – Easy Knotter Beading Tool

Layered Gold Tube Silk Cord Necklace

  • (1) A006573Griffin Bead Cord 100% Silk – No. 4 (0.60mm) White
  • Z001306 – 3mm Gold Plated Tube Beads
  • (2) Z008768 – 3.2mm Gold Clamshell Bead Tips
  • (2) A008801 – 5mm Oval Gold Plated Jump Rings
  • (1) A011536 – 12mm Gold Plated Lobster Claws

Twisted Seed Bead and Chain Silk Cord Bracelet

  • (2) A006573 – Griffin Bead Cord 100% Silk – No. 4 (0.60mm) White
  • SB00339 – 11-912 Silver Lined Light Amethyst Miyuki Seed Beads Tube
  • Z002399 – Gold Plated Clamshell Bead Tips
  • (2) A008801 – 5mm Oval Gold Plated Jump Rings
  • (2) A008808 – 7mm Gold Plated Jump Rings
  • (1) CH00015 – 3.4mm Gold Plated Double Cable Chain
  • (1″) CH00027 – 6mm Gold Plated Cable Chain
  • (1) A011536 – 12mm Gold Plated Lobster Claws
  • Tool: A009839 – Bead Spinner

9 thoughts on “How to Use Silk Cord in Jewelry Making

  1. I love the pink bracelet, but I don’t know what a “flemish twist” is. Can you please expand on that part of the directions? Thanks.

    1. A flemish twist is mainly used for twisting strands for bow strings. In this case, we are using the same method to create the twist in the bracelet. I love this method because it will maintain its twist.

      Here is a basic method of twisting two strands.
      Hold or harness down the two strands down at one end. Now twist EACH strand in one direction a few round, separately. This may be tricky as they will want to unravel back. Next, hold the two strands together and while holding the strands together slowly twist in the opposite direction. Sometimes it will naturally twist itself but guiding it will help. You will know when to stop because the strands will naturally settle to twist and stay twisted.

      So for this bracelet at step 8, you will gather TWO sections of beaded strands and one chain. (You can pin down your jump ring to help hold that end down) Twist each section of strands in one direction a few round. Then hold the two sections of strands together and twist the opposite way. It will naturally want to twist back. Thus, creating a twist that will hold in place. Then proceed to Step 9.

      The great thing about this step, is that you can re-do the twist if you are unhappy about it. You can always practice on string to understand the process. I hope that helped!

      – So Vang

    1. Hello Jacqui. A lariat is a great idea.

      Some suggestions I have is also a knot. Make a tight knot and burn the ends with our Thread Zap (Z001257). You can also make a knot, add one or a few small dainty beads like seed beads and then make another knot. Burn the ends also.

      If you want to glue the knot, may I suggest some Super New Glue (A015821) or E6000 Precision Application (TL00078). A small amount will work just fine.

      You can also end your silk cord with the clamshell bead tip and add an extra OMPH to your lariat with a long drop charm like Z005515 or Z015971 or add a dainty size chain for an interesting chain fringe.

      Thank you for your questions. Let us know if this was helpful if you have any more questions. Thank you!

    1. Because silk cord is a fiber thread, sometime jump rings might fray the fiber if it is not closed properly. May I suggest using a bail and adding your pendant to the bail.

  2. An amazing blog on How to Use Silk Cord in Jewelry Making. Griffin bead cords has its own numeric system for categorizing thread cord sizes, and i loved the Twisted Seed Bead and Chain Silk Cord Bracelet and steps will help anyone to make this kind of thing. i’ll surely recommend to my sister.!
    thanks man. 🙂

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