How to Make a Knotted Bead Necklace

  • 01 of 04


    Pearl necklace
    Fuse / Getty Images

    Pearl necklaces are knotted. That means, if you look very closely, you’ll see tiny knots in between each pearl bead. Pearls are not the only beads strung in this fashion. Many of your finer beaded jewelry is knotted. There are a few reasons for this: knots keep the beads from rubbing against each other, and if the piece breaks, beads won’t go flying.

    While there is the traditional way to knot between beads there is also a method I call the "cheater’s" way. It’s really just another way to...MORE knot but some find it easier to use. I especially recommend trying this technique if you’re new to knotting. Follow these directions and you'll be making your own beaded necklaces in no time. 


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  • 02 of 04

    Select String Medium

    Nylon Beading Cord
    Nylon Beading Cord. Tammy Powley

    First, you’ll need to determine the type of cord you want to use. There are two types that are most often used for knotting: silk and nylon. Silk is the choice of the traditional knotter. 

    However, many ​beaders complain that it snags and frays. Nylon cord can also be used. Both come in a variety of colors such as black, white, burgundy, blue, pink, and brown. They can be purchased on small cards with about 6 feet of cord and a needle attached, or for the serious knotter, larger spools can be...MORE purchased with separate needles. They also come in different sizes. The thicker cord is used for the larger beads since the holes in the beads are larger.

    For the "cheater’s" technique, two strands are put through each bead, so a thinner size is needed. For 6mm beads, I usually use two strands of size 2 for this technique.

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  • 03 of 04

    Start Knotting Between Beads

    Cheater's Method for Bead Knotting
    Cheater's Method for Bead Knotting. Tammy Powley

    For the purposes of this tutorial, I’m using white nylon cord and hematite beads because I want you to be able to see clearly. However, it’s best to try to match the color of the cord with the color of the beads.

    First, start a necklace or bracelet as you normally would. Though there a few ways to start a beaded jewelry piece, my usual choice when using nylon or silk is with bead tips (clamp shells). The only difference is that two strands of the cord are inserted through the bead tip instead of...MORE one, so you have two nylon or silk cords tied together and finished off with a bead tip versus the usual one strand.

    Once the necklace is started, string on a bead, and with the two strands of cording, make a knot (right over left or left over right). Tighten the knot so that it is pushed up against the bead.

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  • 04 of 04

    Continue Knotting with Beads

    Cheater's Method for Knotting Between Beads
    Cheater's Method for Knotting Between Beads. Tammy Powley

    Continue to do this: string a bead, make an over hand knot, string a bead, make an over hand knot. That’s it. Again, finish the necklace as you would any beaded necklace whether it’s knotted or not.

    The reason I call this a way to cheat at knotting is because normally only one strand of cord is used. However, this technique is simple and the results are the same as those using a single strand knotted cord.