Here's what I did with my hex beads. I decided to use them on their own, using up ¾ of the tube to weave a band in herringbone stitch and then attached it to an aluminium cuff covered in Ultrasuede. This solves both issues that I was worried about...because the cuff is stiff, the beadwork won't be moving around so there's less stress on the thread and hopefully no breakage. And adding it to the top of the cuff means that only the soft Ultrasuede touches the skin. I'm really happy with how it turned out, even though it was really hard to photograph!