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Why I love InstaNeedle (but won’t part with my needles)

A brand new product proves useful for stringing, knotting, kumihimo, and bead crochet
insta_beadsoncorda
Does this sound familiar? You want to string beads on a cord so you attach a needle to the cord because the cord is too flexible or prone to fraying to string the beads directly. But when you try to string the beads, they won’t go on because the double thickness of the cord and the thickness of the needle make the whole assembly too fat for the bead holes! So you struggle and struggle, eventually getting the beads on the cord without a needle, but it takes forever and is really frustrating. But beading is supposed to be fun, right?

When I was in Tucson, Arizona, last week for the Tucson Gem & Mineral Shows, I came across a great solution for this problem — a new product called InstaNeedle. It isn’t a needle at all, of course, but rather a new cyanoacrylate formulation (the same chemical that makes Super Glue) that stiffens the end of a cord to make it needle-like.

Of course, I’ve used regular Super Glue in the past to stiffen the end of a cord. It works pretty well, as long as you don’t glue your fingers together when you go to wipe off the big glob that forms on the end of the cord, as liquids are bound to do. I’ve also used a product from the sewing world called Fray Check. It’s also pretty good, but the cord doesn’t get super stiff, just stiff-ish. But InstaNeedle really does the trick.

insta_dip
The opening of each bottle is large enough to accept cords up to 2 mm thick.

So, you may be wondering, if InstaNeedle is just cyanoacrylate, how is it any different from Super Glue and what’s special about it? Well inventors Tracie and John Bennitt built two features into this product to make it work better than regular Super Glue or Fray Check. First, there is a Primer, which gets the cord wet, prepping it to absorb the glue. Second, is the patent-pending applicator nozzle. It’s so simple but makes a big difference in the usability of the product. Instead of squirting the glue onto your cord (and invariably making a big mess in the process!), you dip the cord into the large opening in the tip, and then squeeze the tip around the cord as your remove it to get rid of excess liquid. Brilliant!

insta_strip
Pinch the flexible tip as you withdraw your cord to strip it of excess fluid.

And now the question — if I love it so much, why did I state in the title of this blog that I’m not giving up my beading needles? Well, I have found that InstaNeedle is fabulous for hemp and cotton and silk and the like – thicker cords that you would use for stringing, knotting, kumihimo, and crochet. And true, you can stiffen the end of beading thread and even Fireline with it. But even with several coats of InstaNeedle on the end of your beading thread, I doubt it will ever be stiff enough to eliminate the need for an actual metal needle. I was able to do some basic beadweaving with InstaNeedle, but as soon as I needed to get the thread into a tight space (which happens in almost every beadweaving project eventually), I found that it just couldn’t push its way between the beads. Now, if you are using large beads, like 6/0 seed beads, or are working a pattern where the bead holes are easily accessible at all times, InstaNeedle may still work, but I suspect unless you use a thicker cord, the weight of the beads will prove to be another obstacle.

I haven’t tried InstaNeedle in every possible scenario yet, but I suspect I will continue to find it very useful for lots of different project types. Probably not beadweaving, of course, but plenty of others.

 Ready to try it for yourself? You can find it at InstaNeedle's website. (They also have a product called a "Debonder" -- in case of "accidental bonding!")

FIND MORE: fiber , stringing , knotting , kumihimo , crochet

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