Monday, October 7, 2013

Beginner Series: Seed Beads

Beads are the most basic material used in the beadwork. They can be made of any type of material (glass, wood, paper, fabric, plastic, etc.) and can have any shape or size. But what all the beads have in common is the hole (usually in the center) for threading or stringing.

The seed beads are made of glass. The traditional seed beads have a rounded shape and the size is identified by a number. The most common sizes are: 15/0, 13/0, 11/0, 10/0, 8/0, and 6/0. The higher the number the smaller the size of the seed bead. Thus the seed beads size 15/0 are the smallest, while the seed beads size 6/0 are the biggest.

There are also seed beads in other shapes besides the traditional one. The most common shapes are: cylinder beads, triangle beads, bugle beads, cube beads, and hexagon beads. The size of the cylinder, triangle, cube and hexagon beads is identified by a number, just like the traditional round seed beads. The size of beads in other shapes is indicated in millimeters.

Currently, the seed beads are produced worldwide. The most famous are: the Japanese seed beads (from the brands Miyuki, Toho, and Matsuno) and the Czech beads. The Japanese beads have better consistency in color, size, and shape. And because of that they are also the most expensive. The cheap seed beads, like the Chinese beads, are very irregular in size and shape. And it's important to know that seed beads from different brands may vary in size and shape.

To finish our topic about seed beads, I brought some videos that explain more detail the various types, sizes, and colors of seed beads.

Introduction to seed beads by Bead & Button magazine:



Learn Seed Bead Types with Melinda Barta, by Interwave Craft:



Czech glass seed beads x Japanese seed beads:



Differences between Delica beads and round seed beads, by Potomac Bead Company:



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