A Jewelry-Guide Maker’s to Seed Beads equips you with the knowledge you need to confidently purchase seed beads and design with skill. Find information about seed bead sizes, finishes, shapes, and more in one convenient location, along with FREE printable seed bead resources and charts for easy product purchasing and quick reference.
What exactly is a seed bead? The word seed bead refers to any little glass bead. Seed beads are often shaped like donuts or cylinders and range in size from less than one millimeter to several millimeters. Seed beads are most frequently employed for loom and off-loom bead weaving and basic stringing, such as jewelry spacers.
Seed beads are manufactured using a variety of glassworking processes, with “winding” and “drawing” being the most common nowadays. In the past, glass was also pressed or blown into molds, but the small size of seed beads makes these procedures more difficult.
Winding A rod of solid iron is covered with molten glass (called a “gather”). A second rod is placed into the gather, and the two are then pulled apart to form a glass rod. After the glass has cooled, it is warmed and wound around a hot metal wire to form a ring. Each ring is shaped until it is smooth and spherical, resulting in a collection of little glass “rings” on the same hot wire.
Once the wire has cooled, the glass rings are removed. Winding produces round beads; examples are Dyna-mitesTM, Preciosa and Ming TreeTM. A hollow iron rod is covered with glass that is molten (called a “gather”). A glass tube is created by blowing air into the gather, inserting a second rod into the air bubble, and then drawing the two rods apart to form a gap.
- The tube’s diameter is determined by the speed and distance at which the rods are dragged apart.
- After the glass has cooled, portions are cut from it.
- Shorter pieces become regular seed beads, while longer sections become bugle beads.
- Others are crushed into hexagons and then twisted (for twisted bugle beads).
Drawing produces smooth, unrounded beads; examples are Delica® and bugle beads. Seed Bead Sizes The sizes of seed beads are designated by the designations 6/0, 8/0, 11/0, 12/0, 13/0, and 15/0. The most important principle for comprehending seed bead sizes is that the less the number, the larger the bead.
- This indicates that 6/0 seed beads are bigger than 12/0 seed beads.
- The unit 0 is pronounced “aught” and can be represented by a slash followed by a zero or a degree mark.
- Size 11 seed beads, for instance, can be inscribed as 11/0 or 11°, and are referred to as “size 11” or “11 aught” seed beads.
- This number is traditionally predicated on the notion that bead makers would refer to their biggest amounts of standard-sized beads as size 0 or nothing.
Therefore, lesser size beads, such as 10/0, were 10 times smaller than the size 0 or null bead. The size measurement is also proportional to the number of beads that can fit in a certain inch when the beads are lined up side by side (with the holes parallel to each other).
- For example, size 8/0 corresponds to eight beads per inch.
- Eep in mind that this is only a rule of thumb, as this dimension can vary depending on the manufacturer, the type of glass used, and the polish of the bead.
- View Fire Mountain Gems and Beads’ FREE printable “Seed Bead Sizes and Hole Sizes” conversion chart to estimate the diameter of the various seed bead sizes.
Consider that the length of seed beads will vary based on their form, brand, and various production procedures, coatings, and finishes. This table also provides approximate bead hole sizes and appropriate jewelry wire gauge sizes. Varieties and Forms of Seed Beads With so many brands, sizes, and hues of seed beads on the market today, it might be challenging to find the right ones for your projects.
Explore the illustrative Fire Mountain Gems and Beads’ Seed Bead Brands, Shapes and Styles Index to familiarize yourself with the plethora of seed bead brands and styles available for every jewelry-making or beading project you can imagine, then explore the Seed Bead Spotlights for further information.
Fire Mountain Gems & Beads has an extensive selection of Delica® seed beads from Miyuki, a Japanese maker of seed and cylinder beads with an international reputation for excellence. Speaking of great quality, we also sell TOHO BEADS®, a popular Japanese seed bead with a precise cut.
- Additionally, we are a leading distributor of Preciosa traditional Czech glass beads, which are renowned for their remarkable color and size uniformity.
- Dyna-MitesTM by Matsuno® of Japan, our own brand of Japanese seed beads, is available in a variety of hues.
- And inexpensive Ming TreeTM seed beads as well.
View all seed and bugle bead products grouped by brand, style, size, and finish, as well as a shop-by-Delica-bead-number reference guide, to locate just what you need. Index of Seed Bead Brands, Forms, and Designs So, what exactly are seed beads? These little glass beads mimic plant seeds.
|Bugle Beads – long, skinny tubular-shaped beads available in twisted, straight and hex-cut varieties. Great for use in ladder stitch and stringing designs.
|Cube or square beads – small square beads.
|Czech glass seed beads – master glass artisans making beads since the 15th century, including well-known Preciosa Ornela glass seed beads. These beads are not only for modern high-fashion and everyday pieces but also for traditional styles, historical re-creations and restorations. Size and shape may vary slightly and color may vary from dye lot to dye lot. See more details in the Czech seed beads spotlight .
|Delica® – high-quality cylinder-shaped seed beads by Miyuki of Japan, perfect for precision loom and off-loom work. Available in sizes 8/0 and 10/0, and most commonly in 11/0. See more in the Delica seed beads spotlight .
|Dyna-Mites™ – Fire Mountain Gems and Beads’ brand of seed beads made by Matsuno® of Japan. Excellent for loom work and available in a wide range of colors. Available in 11/0, 8/0, 6/0 and bugle beads. See more details in the Dyna-Mites seed beads spotlight .
|Hex 2-cut Beads or Hexagon Beads – a six-sided bead with regular facets that looks like a hexagon when viewed from the end. Also referred to as “two-cuts.”
|Matsuno – a Japanese bead manufacturer.
|Ming Tree™ – Fire Mountain Gems and Beads’ brand of economical seed beads.
|Miyuki – a Japanese bead manufacturer of seed and cylinder beads, including but not limited to the Delica brand. Their beads are considered very high quality.
|Rocaille – a term used for the traditional seed bead shape. These are donut-shaped and slightly oval; the ends are rounded. Available in many sizes and brands and can be used in weaves both on- and off-loom, depending on the uniformity of the specific beads.
|Toho Beads® – precision-quality glass seed beads from Japan loved for use in bead weaving, looming and peyote stitch. Available in 11/0 and bugle beads.
|Triangle seed beads – triangle-shaped beads with triangular-shaped holes ensuring the beads sit correctly in a design.
Partner Beads for Seed Beads While not technically seed beads, these beads are frequently used in conjunction with seed and bugle beads in bead embroidery and offloom beadweaving projects.
|Candy™ beads – these tantalizing beads by Preciosa have two holes, a domed top and shallow curvature at the base, making them fun and easy to sew with, make clusters or combine with other Preciosa pressed glass shapes such as Twin™ and Pellet™.
|DiamonDuo – Czech two-hole beads with a classic two-point diamond shape and faceted front.
|Fringe seed beads – also known as “teardrops” or “drop beads.” They are available from both Czech and Japanese manufacturers. Popular shapes include Chilli, Talon, Magatama, Petal and Pip beads.
|Magatama – from Miyuki of Japan, the long magatama is an angular drop-like bead used as a fringe bead.
|Pip – Czech top-drilled or fringe style flat wide beads ideal for creating flower shapes.
|Pony beads – also known as crow beads, are large-sized seed beads often made of acrylic. Multiple manufacturers.
|Pressed Twin™ – Czech two-hole beads, size and shape may vary slightly and color may vary from dye lot to dye lot. Also available in Mini Pressed version. Testing for colorfastness is recommended.
|Tango – Czech two-hole beads with flat triangular shape.
|Thorn™ – fancy-finished pressed glass beads by Preciosa and imported from the Czech Republic. The clear thorn-shaped bead is partially coated with an opaque silver color. The interior side of the silver color is treated with a vitrail effect.
|Tila® Beads – Japanese square flat beads with two holes running in parallel. Also available in Half Tila, a narrow rectangular half-width version of the Tila bead.
Seed Bead Finishes and Coatings There are a variety of coatings and finishes available for seed beads, resulting in an abundance of color selections for limitless design possibilities. As with any applied coating or finish, fade from prolonged exposure to sunshine and wear from everyday usage are always possible.
- Learn more about the color and treatment durability of seed beads with the downloadable “Seed Bead Finishes and Treatment Durability” and “Delica® Color Durability Chart” from Fire Mountain Gems and Beads.
- Purchasing and Quantifying Seed Beads Seed beads are sold either by the “hank” or by the gram, in strands, tubes, or sacks.
Czech seed beads are often sold by the hank, which is a single bundle of seed or bugle beads. A normal hank has 12 to 14 strands of beads ranging in length from 14 to 19 inches. Nevertheless, certain beads may be marketed in hanks of varying lengths or strand counts.
- Typically, Japanese beads are sold by weight, measured in grams.
- The amount of beads in a hank or tube will vary based on the size, kind, and finish of the beads.
- Fire Mountain Gems & Beads offers FREE seed bead buying instructions that may be printed and used to estimate the amount of seed beads in a certain tube, box, or hank.
View our link “Seed Beads Per Package” for further details. Seed Bead Emphasis Preciosa Czech Seed Beads – Preciosa Glass Seed Beads Czech seed beads from Preciosa have traditionally been regarded as the industry standard. Beadmaking has been a way of life for the Czech people, particularly in the Jablonec area, for centuries. This region, known as Bohemia during the Middle Ages, has been the major European bead center for centuries, with skills passed down through the generations.
- Bead Shape: Czech seed beads are a circular, almost donut-shaped bead, with some having square holes and others having round holes, depending on how they are created and whether or not they have a coloring or metallic lining inside the hole.
- Offered Hues: Czech seed beads by Preciosa are available in an enticing array of colors and finishes, including some colors that nearly resemble the “ancient colors” seen only in authentic antique beads.
Due to the addition of pure gold to the molten glass, the reds are extremely rich and beautiful. The gold not only makes the reds and pinks more bright, but it also stabilizes and prevents the color from fading. The rainbow hues are subdued but luminous, and the assortment of “pearl” tones is outstanding.
- Applications for Czech seed beads include all types of beading.
- However, they are most commonly encountered in bead embroidery, particularly in the production of Native American regalia.
- As a result of their round form, they are utilized extensively in jewelry production; they imitate bigger beads and offer exquisite color glints when used as spacers in necklaces or bracelets.
Additionally, Czech seed beads can be used for loom weaving and bead weaving, however their rounded edges might pose tension issues. Try a matte-finished bead if you have never used these beads for bead weaving. Beads with a matte appearance tend to grab the thread effectively, making it simpler to maintain the correct tension. Delica® Seed Beads – Miyuki Shoji of Japan Glass Seed Beads Because of their precise size, shape, and constant hole size, Delica beads have long been the most preferred seed beads for bead weaving. Bead Form: Delica beads were the first to be created utilizing a procedure that makes regular, cylindrical-shaped beads, which is considerably different from the process used to create the classic “donut” or standard seed bead shape. Round (circular cut, which is cylindrical in shape) and hex-cut Delicas are available.
The exterior of hex-cut beads is machine-cut to produce six sides, while the hole remains round and smooth. Each form is offered in a size referred to as 11/0, which is slightly smaller than an 11/0 Dyna-MiteTM seed bead. They are between a size 11/0 and a size 12/0. This is the only size of seed beads referred to as Delica.
Delica beads are manufactured in every hue of the rainbow and each color in between. Different glass and surface treatments are added to Delicas to enhance colors, making them to retreat, shine, or soften depending from the kind or project. Transparent, opaque, color- or silver-lined, frosted, pearl finish, silky luster, metallic, gold-lined, and even precious metal plated finishes are available.
- In addition to the aforementioned advantages, Delicas provide a variety of surface treatments.
- Matte, a non-reflective surface; iris, imitating oil colors on water; aurora borealis, rainbow reflections overlaid on the underlying color; and satin, a soft color etched gradually to a matte finish.
- Delica beads are perfect for linked bead-weaving styles like peyote and brick stitch.
They are particularly good for weaving on a loom since they stack so neatly and do not slip throughout the weaving process. Shop here for all Delica® seed beads Dyna-MitesTM Seed Beads – Japanese Glass Seed Beads by Matsuno Compared to conventionally shaped seed beads on the market today, Dyna-Mites seed beads are remarkably consistent in form and color.
- Dyna-Mites seed beads, produced in Japan specifically for Fire Mountain Gems and Beads, are a hybrid between a Delica bead and a conventional, donut-shaped (Czech) seed bead.
- Available Colors: Dyna-Mites seed beads are available in a vast array of vibrant hues with exquisite color saturation and brilliance.
Dyna-MiteTM seed beads are available in a variety of finishes, including ceylon pastels, silver-lined, opaque, transparent, transparent inside, and transparent inside rainbow. Many of the aforementioned items are also offered in a matte finish. Dyna-Mites seed beads are ideal for all seed bead applications, including peyote, brick-stitch, loom weaving, netting, right-angle weave, and jewelry-making (used as spacers).
- Dyna-Mites seed beads are inexpensive and resilient, withstanding tight tension in netting, bead weaving, and other applications, as well as many thread passes through the beads.
- They are great beads that are ideal for stockpiling, particularly if you are beading on a budget.
- Shop here for all Dyna-Mites seed beads Toho Beads® Seed Beads are glass beads made in Japan by Toho Beads®.
Consistent in size, shape, and color, this seed bead brand is widely sought after by consumers. Toho Beads was founded in 1951 and has since become a behemoth in the Japanese glass bead production business, partly owing to its innovative manufacturing procedures and commitment to quality.
Toho seed beads are predominantly available in the typical #11 round shape. The forms available for stringing holes include round, triangular, square, and diamond. Toho created these seed beads with a slightly bigger stringing hole to allow for additional needle and thread passes. An additional benefit of a bigger hole is that each bead weighs somewhat less.
Toho glass beads are colored uniformly, ensuring that designer-artists have access to the same colors for re-creating or enhancing beaded patterns. The multitude of colors are available in a variety of finishes, including opaque, transparent, translucent, galvanized, metallic, and other effects.
- Toho seed beads are favored for use in bead weaving, looming, peyote stitch, and basic stringing methods due to their degree of accuracy.
- Toho also manufactures their own nylon thread for use with seed beads.
- One-GTM 100% nylon thread is designed to be tougher and more resistant to shredding than other nylon jewelry-making threads.
Here you may get all Toho Beads seed beads. Glass seed beads produced by Ming TreeTM. Exclusive to Fire Mountain Gems and Beads, Ming Tree seed beads are an excellent value, allowing you to design at half the cost of regular seed beads. Bead Shape: Ming Tree seed beads are often supplied in quarter-pound quantities containing roughly three thousand beads.
- These beads are available in both round and bugle shapes.
- The Ming Tree seed bead collection features a variety of hues and finishes to complement any jewelry design.
- These glass seed beads are ideal for fringe on clothes and jewelry, as well as for use as spacers.
- Browse here for all Ming Tree seed beads Miyuki TILA® Seed Beads – Glass Seed Beads TILA beads are two-holed, square, flat, glass beads.
Create distinctive motifs and patterns by combining TILA beads with other seed beads. TILA beads may be used to make complicated tile patterns and geometric motifs using a variety of different stitching techniques. Miyuki TILA beads are flat square or rectangular tile-shaped 2-hole seed beads available in three sizes: TILA (5 x 5 x 1.9mm), Half-TILA (5 x 2.3 x 1.9mm), and Quarter-TILA (5 x 1.2 x 1.9mm) for all your design needs.
- Available Colors: Miyuki’s TILA beads are available in a vast array of hues.
- TILA beads can be used alone or in conjunction with other seed beads to link many strands in beadweaving.
- Shop here for all Miyuki TILA seed beads Miyuki TILA beads are flat square or rectangular tile-shaped 2-hole seed beads available in three sizes: TILA (5 x 5 x 1.9mm), Half-TILA (5 x 2.3 x 1.9mm), and Quarter-TILA (5 x 1.2 x 1.9mm) for all your design needs.
Available Colors: Miyuki’s TILA beads are available in a vast array of hues. TILA beads can be used alone or in conjunction with other seed beads to link many strands in beadweaving. Shop here for all Miyuki TILA seed beads Shop . Perl and seed beads Additional Materials. View examples of seed bead designs in the Gallery of Designs Printable Seed Bead Graph Paper Seed Bead Patterns Seed Bead Sizes and Hole Sizes Seed Bead Finishes and Treatment Durability Seed Beads Per Package Seed Beads Per Package How do you feel about this resource? Your input enables us to offer you with the most relevant materials.
How can glass or plastic seed beads be distinguished?
Check the Temperature of the Bead – Glass beads are colder than plastic beads. Pick up the relevant bead. If the object feels chilly in your palm, it is likely made of glass. If the object feels closer to room temperature or quickly heats in your touch, it is likely made of plastic.
How do you melt seed beads?
Activities: Arrange your cookie cutters on an aluminum foil-covered baking sheet. Place pony beads into each cookie cutter. Using a toothpick, set each bead upright and fill the cookie cutter to capacity, eliminating any excess beads. Place the cookie sheet in a cold oven and bake for 8 to 11 minutes at 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
Note: Plastic that has melted might produce an odor. Consider placing a toaster oven outdoors if you are concerned about this.) Remove the pan from the oven when the beads have fully melted together and there are no longer any bubbles. Place the pan for 10 minutes in the freezer to cool. Pull the cookie cutter’s edges away from the plastic and press each form out.
Use hot glue to connect a loop of string or an 18-inch drill bit to drill a hole through each ornament if you choose to transform your work into an ornament for a Christmas tree or a window decoration.