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What are the differences between Rayon and Nylon Satin Cords?
Satin cord can be used as is for cords for pendants or medallions, or for stringing beads with large holes. It can be knotted, braided, used for kumihimo, and for ornamental Chinese knotting. Choosing the right type of satin cord is important, here are the differences:
Rayon Satin has a finer texture than Nylon Satin, but it also more subject to damage and harder to keep clean than Nylon Satin.
Nylon Satin cord ends can be melted with thread burners or cord zapper making it easier to finish pieces. Rayon Satin ends need to be glued, they cannot be melted.
Rayon Satin can be washed by hand, but colors may bleed. Nylon Satin colors are very stable, but dye lots are not always as evenly dyed as nylon is harder to dye than rayon.
Rayon Satin diameters vary within the same size from roll to roll especially for the larger sizes. Nylon Satin has less diameter variations.
Satin cords are shimmery cords that reflect lights, soft and slippery to touch. They are woven and most have a center core. Originally satin cord was made of silk. Nowadays most satin cords are made out of nylon and produced in China. US made rayon satin cord with a cotton center is no longer manufactured, but lots of stock is still available for now. The company producing it has been closed and no other company has stepped in.
Personal Note - I use satin cord as the central core for most of my hand braided and kumihimo cords. Satin cord has no elasticity, so the braid will not stretch over time. Since the satin cord is hidden inside the braid, basic colors are fine. If the length of the braided cord needs adjusting, pull on the core to shorten the braid.For thicker braids, I often use multiple cords as it gives me the option to pull one of the cords out when the braid is finished if I find the result a bit stiff.
As to sizes, there is lots of choices, here are the diameter sizes from small to large: