ALL ABOUT SEED BEADS and BUGLE BEADS
Seed Bead and Bugle Bead Sizing
Seed Beads are numbered with a size system unique to seed beads. The number ( /0) refers to the number of beads per inch when the beads are laid flat (not strung). Therefore, an 11/0 bead would measure 11 beads to the inch. The higher the number, the smaller the bead. Bugle beads have a # system: #2 is 3/16" (5mm), #3 is 1/4" (7mm) and #5 is 1/2" (12mm).
Your needles should be the same size, or one size smaller than your beads. If you need to pass through the beads several times for the beadwork you are doing, a smaller needle is a must. English beading needles are of superior quality.
Nymo beading thread is measured with a lettering system. Size B is fine and is ideal for any woven beadwork when multiple passes through a bead are needed. Size D is heavier and will pass through larger seed beads (9/0 and up) several times, or through smaller seed beads for stringing single strands into necklaces and bracelets etc.
Recommendations for beginning beaders
If you would like to play around and experiment with stringing seed beads, weaving daisy chain, making some simple beaded earrings and bracelets you will only need a few supplies: Beading needles, size D and B nymo beading thread, a copy of the Complete Beadwork Book and some seed beads, either mixes, 2 or 3 packs of colors, or a combo of solid color packs and some mixes for accent beads. It is a good idea to keep to beads of the same size until you are comfortable with the basic beading techniques. 11/0 Czech beads are ideal as we have many mixes available in this size and over 300 individual colors!
The differences between the Czech seed beads, Miyuki delica beads and economy seed beads available from SeedBeadExplosion
All of our seed beads and bugle beads are glass.
The Czech seed beads are made in the Czech Republic and are considered to be the most desirable quality seed beads for uniformity, color and size selection. Czech seed beads are traditionally used for Native American beadwork, but their wonderful color range is also ideal for contemporary beadwork. Two cut beads have been cut at each end and are tube shaped, like tiny bugle beads. Three cut beads have 3 faces (cuts) around the beads to create shiny facets.
Miyuki delicas are made in Japan by the Miyuki Shoji Company. They are machine cut into precise length tubes and are cylindrical in shape, rather than the “donut” of a traditional seed bead. The color range of Miyuki Delica beads is incredible. Hex cut delicas are faceted on the exterior resulting in extra “sparkle”.
The economy seeds beads are not as uniform in size and shape as Czech seed beads, but are perfect for stringing into necklaces and bracelets, adding to sculptural woven beadwork and general bead art applications. Their low price makes them very appealing! The holes in the 11/0 economy mix are larger than the Czech beads so they are easier to work with.
Pack sizes and hanks
Most Czech seed beads (8/0-15/0) ship on hanks. A hank is a pre-strung bunch of beads. Each hank contains approximately 10-12 strings of beads from 12-20” long depending on the bead size. Smaller beads (12/0-15/0 and cut beads) are smaller hanks. Occasionally, some seed beads ship loose in hank equivalents. We are unable to guarantee that all hanks in your order are strung, or loose. 6/0 beads are always shipped loose. Packs weigh approximately 38 grams (500-600 beads) unless otherwise noted.
Explanation of finishes
Our seed beads are available in lots of different finishes, from solid opaque to glittery silver lined.
Lined: Translucent glass (usually crystal clear or a very pale color) with a solid colored center lining. The lining color shows through the clear glass exterior for a dimensional colored effect.
Luster: A high shine pearl-like finish. Iridescent without the rainbow effect.
Matte: A soft, frosted appearance.
Matte Rainbow: A soft, frosted appearance. The rainbow finish gives the beads a lovely multicolored effect.
Metallic: A polished, soft metal appearance. Semi-matte metallics have a subtle, frosted appearance.
Metallic Iris: Metallic colors with a rainbow effect.
Opal: Semi-translucent. They have a soft, cloudy appearance with a polished glass finish.
Opaque: A solid color with no light passing through the bead.
Opaque Rainbow: Solid, opaque colors with a lustrous rainbow coating giving a beautiful iridescent effect.
Pearl: Known as pearl, ceylon and ceylon pearl, these beads have a soft, shiny appearance.
Satin: The satin finish effect is applied to a translucent bead to give a soft, frosted appearance with delicate, hardly-there ridges around the bead.
Satin Pearl: Pearl colors with a lightly frosted finish.
Silver Lined: Translucent glass with a silver lining for sparkle. Silver lined beads are also sometimes referred to as rocailles.
Silver Lined Iris: Translucent glass with a silver lining for sparkle, and an iris coating for rainbow iridescence.
Striped: Clear or opaque glass with stripes of one or two colors running around the outside. This gives a multi-tone effect to the bead.
Translucent: See-thru, allowing light from behind to illuminate the colors.
Translucent Iris: See-thru, allowing light from behind to illuminate the colors. The iris coating gives the beads a rainbow iridescence.
White Heart: Colored, translucent bead with a solid opaque white center (white heart)