How to Thread Beads on Waxed Cotton Cord – Jenny’s Way

I’ve occasionally received an email from someone wondering how to put my Fiber Optic Beads on our 16″ adjustable jewelry cord. I don’t know how a professional would do it, but here’s how I do it.  Fire is involved and you have to move fast, but you end up with a stiffened sharp tip that makes jewelry assembly a SNAP!

Step 1: Get Your Stuff Ready

For my method of threading beads on wax cotton cord, you’ll need:

  • a candle
  • the waxed cotton cord
  • a piece of scrap paper
  • nerves of steel

For this project I use a candle in a small tin that I bought at WalMart for around $2.00.  At first I tried to use a Yankee Candle, but the flame is too far down in the jar and I kept burning my knuckles.  A tea light would probably work just as well.

Hold the waxed cord in your dominant hand and the scratch paper in your other hand. Screw your courage to the sticking place and…..


Poised for action!

Step 1: Light the Cord on Fire

Yeah.  Light the cord on fire.  Seriously.


Don’t do this inside the church! Use the parking lot or do this activity at home. Have a fire extinguisher around if you’re working around young ‘uns. They may not be as courageous around fire as you are.  Because I know you’re not afraid of being burned.  Just like I am….. :-S

Step 3 – Extinguish the Fire with the Scrap Paper and Roll

Smother the fire by placing the burning tip in between a folded piece of scrap paper.

I roll the cord between my fingers and the paper slightly to give it a pointy tip.

Let it cool for 5-10 seconds before moving to step four.


Take a deep breath and…..


Put out the fire by smothering the fire in the folded piece of scratch paper, using the scratch paper to “protect” your fingers. It will be hot, but you are strong.


See that amazing pointy tip?  The tip of the point will break off as you work, but the cord will keep it’s tip for as long as you need it to.

 Step 4: Thread the Beads on to the Cord



Did I mention that fantastic tip?


Thread the bead onto the cord. Easy peasy.

Why it works so crazy well…

Cotton thread usually frays when it is threaded.  Since this cord is 1.5mm and jewelry findings often have a 2mm hole, there’s not enough space to tape the tip. But….

Our 16″ cotton cord is dipped in wax for durability.  When you light the cord on fire, you melt the wax. When you extinguish the fire and roll the cord between your fingers, you create a fine tip that gets coated in that now soft wax.  In just a few seconds, the wax hardens back up and you have a new, pointy tip that makes jewelry creation easy!

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