5 things you really should consider before buying cord

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These are five things that I wish I had known before I did my first round of cord shopping! When I first discovered my love for micro macramé, I wanted to buy tons of cord/threads. I didn’t put too much thought into it, and I ended up with a bunch of unnecessary cords, a lot of which are still sitting untouched in my room! So, if you’re considering buying cord anytime soon, you might want to keep these five points in mind!

1. The size of your piece – With smaller pieces of jewelry, like earrings and rings, thinner cords achieve intricacy better. Griffin silk cords and thinner nylon cords work pretty well. I personally love s-lon size 18 cords for my micro macramé work. Thicker cords like cotton, heavier nylon, leather, hemp and jute work better for bigger projects, like necklaces and bracelets.

necklace

Cotton thread for the necklace provided sturdiness, but also allowed the knotting pattern to show nicely

2. The ‘feel’ of your project – You have to ask yourself – ‘What does my piece say?’. Does it say ‘classy’, or ‘fun’, or ‘boho-chic’? The answer will help you determine the kind of cord you want to use. Silk cord automatically adds a bit of class, while cotton and leather are more fun and bold. Hemp and jute, I feel, naturally scream ‘hippie’. Also think of what kind of movement you want your entire piece to have; some cords, like s-lon, drape very well, whereas some other cords might be stiff and not allow too much flexibility.

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I used a thick rounded leather cord for these earrings because I wanted them to be fun. The beads I used kept with the theme, and they had wide enough bores for two strands of cord to pass through them.

3. The type of finish you’re looking for – If you’re the kind who wants to tie up all loose ends neatly and close off pieces with as little extra cord showing, thinner cords work better. Thicker cords will always look a bit messy at the end, but that look does work for certain designs! I realized the hard way that trying to finish off a piece made with hemp cord with a neat knot + super glue to secure it was not the best way to do it. Once the glue dried, the hemp started crumbling! Since then, I’ve decided to allow myself to make my pieces with hemp a little laid back.  If you’re not fussed about having to fold the cord over itself and then wire wrap, your options really widen. Clear beading thread and illusion cords are available too, for normal beading projects.

bracelet

I don’t know if you can see it, but I’ve looped this silk fabric string through the jump ring and back over itself and then wire wrapped it to secure it. Keeps with the sort of Bohemian theme of the bracelet, no?

4. The size of beads you use – I love adding beads to my knotting projects. They add that extra oomph to everything! A big learning point for me was that cords come in different sizes and it is imperative to know exactly what you’re looking for! Beads come with bores of different diameters, so always make sure that the cord you’re buying can actually fit through your beads! I’ve made this mistake quite often when I was starting out. There are a lot of sites out there that tell you exactly what diameter different cord sizes represent. I’ll link you to the one I refer to.

I wanted to do a fun and simple bracelet for the square knot project tutorial. I had to be sure to choose cord that was thick enough to make a sturdy bracelet, but also thin enough so that two strands could go through the beads.

5. Colours, colours, colours! – Choose your colours well. If you want your cord to be the focal point of your piece, use nice happy colours, or even mix different colours into the project. But if you want to let your beads do most of the talking, like I do with my earrings, choose neutral colours or a colour that allows your beads to pop. This varies depending on the piece and on personal taste. But know that although there are a whole bunch of very attractive looking cords in stunning colours, you will find that there are some colours that you honestly will never use. So don’t succumb to the temptation of buying cord just because it looks pretty. Really think it through!

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The brown thread here really helps the rest of the colours stand out

These five tips really help me with my cord shopping these days. My cord browsing has now become less of ‘ohmygodthatssoprettyIjusthavetobuyit’ and more of sensible decision making!

~ Kirtana

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