What is a Big Eye Needle?

wiseGEEK Writer

If you’re planning on making your own jewelry, you might want to consider purchasing at least one big eye needle to help you accomplish the task of stringing beads together for necklaces or bracelets. These are long needles, sometimes as long as 2 inches (5.08 cm), which have a much larger eye. They are very thin and can usually pass through the tiniest beads. The advantage of the larger eye in the big eye needle is that it makes threading a needle much easier to accomplish. If the thinness of the needle were to be matched by an equally tiny eye, you’d have a difficult time trying to put your beading wire or thread through the eye of the needle.

Woman shopping
Woman shopping

The big eye needle may be sold in grades that feature different size lengths. Using one length or another may be a matter of preference. Alternately, if you are following a pattern for a necklace, use the big eye needle type the pattern recommends. You may find the big eye needle sold under that name, but more commonly you’ll find them sold as beading needles on the Internet and in most craft stores.

When you thread a big eye needle, don’t forget that you are not sewing. This means that you don’t, in most cases, pull the thread through the needle, even the sides of the thread out and then tie it. Sometimes a necklace may require two strands of beading wire or thread, but generally, you’re just pulling a single strand of thread or wire through the beads. To properly thread the big eye needle, simply pull the wire or thread through the needle and bring the thread down far enough that it won’t slip back through the needle. You also may want to make a tiny knot in the wire so that if you get clumsy and the wire or thread slips out of the needle, you won’t lose all your beads.

Some people may still find it challenging to thread a big eye needle. As with sewing, you can still use a needle threader to help you get the tread through with less fumbling. It isn’t always necessary to use these needles. Some wire or plastic for beading can be threaded through beads fairly easily by hand.

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Don’t confuse embroidery needles with the beading needle. Embroidery needles do feature the easy to thread “eye,” but they tend to be much thicker than beading needles. If you are shopping for these needles at a store that sells both embroidery and jewelry making equipment, be sure to shop in the right section so you don’t make this mistake. For the most part, embroidery needles are not a sufficient substitute, unless you are using very large beads.

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