Using FireLine as a Bead Thread

FireLine Bead Thread: Superior Stitching, Limited Colors

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FireLine for fishing is the same as FireLine packaged for beading. © Lisa Yang

Fireline is both a superior fishing line and a favorite beading thread that is made of strong fibers braided together and fused. Beaders especially like FireLine because it is strong, abrasion resistant, requires no conditioning, and does not stretch.

FireLine is a particularly good beading thread for beginners. Although it comes in a limited number of colors, it is easy to thread on a needle, does not frequently tangle, and it is extremely difficult to pierce with a needle. Overall, it is an easy to use beading thread.

FireLine is stiffer than many other beading threads and the heavier weights are suitable for use with metal seed beads, bugle beads and crystals. These are all beads where the sharp edges of the beads may cut other threads. It is somewhat more expensive than other beading threads. If you can't find Fireline in your local craft store, it can be found at most sporting goods and department stores.  

When it is sold as a beading thread, FireLine is found in packaging with the BeadSmith brand.  FireLine is manufactured for the fishing industry by Berkley.

Some of the best aspects of FireLine beading thread are that it is:

  • Easy to thread on a needle
  • A very strong and durable beading thread
  • Excellent for use in off-loom weaving and for stringing small pearls and gemstone beads
  • Easy to undo tangles 
  • Very difficult to pierce with a needle
  • A thread that does not require pre-stretching or conditioning
  • Not apt to stretch or break

Some drawbacks of FireLine bead thread are that it is:

  • Somewhat more expensive than other types of beading thread
  • Stiffer feeling than other types of beading thread
  • Available in a very limited number of colors that are geared towards fishing
  • more difficult to cut than other types of thread - such as Nymo

Although FireLine is available in a limited number of colors, the crystal white is lightly transparent in color and can lighten up the color of most seed beads, particularly transparent ones.  The most versatile color is arguably smoke gray since it goes well with neutral, bright and dark color beads. Like any dark thread, it will alter the color of transparent beads to darker tones. If you are feeling adventurous, FireLine is also available in blaze orange and flame green.

FireLine beading thread is best used for off-loom bead stitching and stringing small gemstones, seed beads and freshwater pearls.  FireLine works well for beadwork that is subjected to high levels of wear, such as peyote rings and bracelets.  It can be a bit stiff for some beadweaving, such as beaded ropes, where a supple drape is preferable.  For the same reason, FireLine is not recommended to make beaded fringe or tassels. It is also on the stiff side for bead embroidery, where there will be many stitches in a small area.

FireLine is sized according to pounds similar to fishing line.  The number of pouns is the amount of pressure to break the line - useful information for fishing.  The higher the pounds, the stronger the thread.  For most beading, six pound FireLine (6 lb) is a good starting point. Six pound FireLine will fit in needle sizes from 10 to 13 and can fit through beads up to a size 15/0.  However, a smaller size FireLine may be necessary if multiple passes through the beads are required.  FireLine is available in sizes from two pounds up to 20 pounds test weight.

FireLine is sold by the spool. It can be purchased in 50 yard, 125 yard, 300 yard and 1500 yard lengths.  The FireLine packaged for fishing is the same FireLine package for beadwork.  FireLine is not biodegradable and will not deteriorate over time.

FireLine is widely available at local bead shops and on the internet. Fireline can also be purchased in large spools at sporting goods stores and in the fishing and tackle departments of department and discount stores.

Edited by Lisa Yang