Beadwork requires the use of many materials aside from beads, findings, and thread. There are some materials that make completing beadwork projects a lot easier. For instance, beeswax is an important tool for thread conditioning.
Thread conditioning is the process of making thread less prone to fraying and breakage. By applying beeswax to thread, you can protect thread and make it last longer. Although thread conditioning is not really a required process in beadwork projects, many beading enthusiasts prefer to condition the thread they use.
One of the most beneficial effects of applying beeswax to thread is lubrication. Lubricating the thread would prevent it from getting tangled during stitching. Stringing beads also becomes significantly easier. Beeswax can also make threads stick together more tightly, making conditioned thread more ideal for weaving.
Basically, there are two types of beeswax sold in bead shops and craft stores. Beeswax is conventionally sold in small amounts. Most types of beeswax are contained in small boxes and enclosed in plastic, to prevent dirt from penetrating the container.
One type of beeswax commonly used by beading enthusiasts is synthetic beeswax. Synthetic beeswax is more ideal for use because of its versatility. It is easy to handle and apply to the thread. Knowing how to properly apply beeswax is important. A small amount is usually sufficient in coating the thread.
When applying the wax, the thread must be prepared according to the desired length. With the use of the forefinger and thumb, evenly apply the wax starting from one end of the thread to the other end. Light pressure is essential in applying the right amount of wax on the thread. Repeat the step until the length of thread is adequately covered with beeswax.
However, the use of beeswax in thread conditioning also has a downside. Since the wax coats the entire surface of the thread, the space between the thread and hole of the bead is compromised. The thickness of the thread would increase, making it more difficult to string beads with small holes. Furthermore, since the wax tends to be sticky, dirt tends to easily accumulate on the thread. Prolonged handling can cause the thread to discolor.
Lastly, there are cases where the beeswax used to coat the thread gets stuck in the eye of the needle, making the accummulated beeswax difficult to remove. This is why other beading enthusiasts prefer to use other methods of thread conditioning.
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