Nymo Thread - A Beader's Favorite

How and When to Use Nymo Thread

Nymo Beading Thread
Nymo bead thread comes in a wide variety of colors and is available in bobbins or cones. Lisa Yang

Nymo is one of the most popular and easy to find nylon beading threads for seed beads.  It can be used for loom weaving, off-loom bead stitching, and bead embroidery. One of the best things about Nymo is the wide variety of colors and sizes it is available in.

In general, Nymo thread is strong and relatively easy to use, but for most uses, it works better if you condition it first. Many beaders will start off using Nymo mainly because it is inexpensive and easy to find at most local bead shops and internet sources.

The thread on Nymo spools and cones is higher quality and easier to use than the thread on bobbins. I highly recommend bobbins to sample the thread and find your favorite colors, but once you find them, you will probably prefer the thread sold on spools or cones. since it is easier to thread and stitch with and of higher quality overall.

Nymo is was originally developed for and used in the upholstery industry. It is a nylon monochord which means it is a single bonded strand, not several twisted together.  This is helpful in beadwork, especially when you have to remove stitches - it won't untwist and separate. Nymo thread is strong and supple but it can fray when it is overworked.

Nymo is used with glass seed beads for off-loom bead weaving and bead embroidery or as a weft thread in loom beading. It is especially good for making jewelry with tassels and fringe that are strong but with supple movement. Its flexibility means that it can pass through beads multiple times.  I also like to use Nymo for bead embroidery since the large color selection makes it easy to find a thread that will match your project.

Some of the Best Characteristics of Nymo

  • Available in five different thread sizes
  • Available in a wide variety of different colors
  • Works well for fringe or tassels
  • A durable and strong bonded single ply thread that will not untwist or separate
  • Easily cut with embroidery scissors

Some Drawbacks with Using Nymo

  • May need conditioning with wax or thread conditioner, especially the thread on bobbins
  • May stretch slightly so pre-stretching is recommended
  • Can fray if pierced with a needle
  • Tangles relatively easily and stitches are not easy to undo
  •  Can break if it becomes wet and has not been conditioned properly

Finding the Right Size Nymo Thread

Nymo comes in several different sizes, ranging from “OO” (thinnest) to “F” (thickest). The most commonly available sizes of Nymo are OO, O, B and D. To get the most from the thread strength, use the thickest size that will fit through your beads. Size D is a commonly used size with size 8, 11 and 15 seed beads.

  • Size 00 is .127 mm in diameter and suitable for the smallest beads (size 15) or when multiple thread passes are required.
  • Size 0 is .1524 mm and suitable for the same purposes as size 00
  • Size B is .2032 mm and one of the most commonly used thicknesses. It is suitable for a wide range of stitches and bead sizes includes beads in size 8, 10, 11 and 15.
  • Size D is .3048 mm in diameter and suitable for similar purposes as size B. It is the size that I use most often.

You can refer to this article on how to choose the right size needle and thread for your seed beads for more information.

Nymo comes in dozens of different colors. You can purchase assortments on bobbins of related color families from some suppliers. However, as I previously mentioned, the quality of the bobbin thread is slightly lower than the Nymo sold on the spool. I find the bobbin thread is flatter, tends to fray and requires conditioning whereas the thread on a spool has a rounder profile, has been pre-conditioned and is less likely to fray. Nymo is sold by the bobbin containing approximately 64 yards, by the spool containing approximately 400 yards or by the cone containing approximately 1,500 yards.

The size “D” Nymo that comes on a spool/cone is somewhat thicker and heavier than the size “D” that comes on a bobbin. This is a by-product of Nymo's use as a sewing thread - where the main spool thread is subjected to more stress and wear than the bobbin thread. 

Nymo thread is widely available at local bead shops and on the internet. The cost of Nymo thread can vary depending on where you purchase it. Nymo is inexpensive compared to other beading threads like FireLine. As of June 2016, Nymo thread bobbins can be purchased for under $2 each or a large cone for $20 - $30 depending on the size and supplier.  Spools of Nymo are not as easy to find as bobbins or cones.

Tips for Using Nymo Bead Thread 

Nymo thread works best for off-loom bead weaving stitches such as peyote, brick stitch, right angle weave, herringbone and others, fringe, and bead embroidery with glass seed beads when a more flexible or soft drape is preferred. Beadwork stitched with Nymo is more flexible than beadwork done with WildFire or FireLine.

Before using it, Nymo can be conditioned with either beeswax or Thread Heaven. Refer to this article for more information on how to condition Nylon thread for use. Nymo thread stretches slightly, so it is not a good choice as a warp thread in loom bead weaving.

My absolute favorite use for Nymo is that it is perfect for making beaded fringe and tassels since it is strong but supple and helps the beadwork retain movement.

Edited by Lisa Yang