Learn about seed bead sizes! Whether you love to make jewelry or bead weaving, you will know what seed beads are. There are so many different types and variations in the market that it can get quite confusing when choosing beads for your next project. The final look you want for your craft will depend heavily on the type of seed bead you are using, and that is exactly why it is so important to understand the sizes and types of seed beads and how they can work for you.
What are Seed Beads?
Seed beads get their name from the fact that they look like tiny plant seeds. They are beads that can be made from a variety of materials and have a few different shapes. Seed beads are great for jewelry making as they come in different shapes and sizes, allowing you to create many different designs. They also work great for different bead weaving projects and can even be used for different embroidery projects. Seed beads are very beginner-friendly as they don't need any special tools. You can have years of experience with seed beads or you could be doing your very first project with them, the learning curve is small and it won't take you long to understand how you can make them work for you the best.
Seed Bead Sizes - Types of Seed Beads
When you’re trying to find the perfect seed bead sizes for your next project, you will come across 4 varieties that are available in the market nowadays. There are 2 types of different types of seed beads that are high quality and manufactured in Japan. The other type of high-quality seed beads come from the Czech Republic and the fourth type of seed beads are the more economical Chinese manufactured seed beads.
Japanese Seed Beads
Japanese seed beads are manufactured by a lot of different companies. The most commonly available and known ones are Miyuki, Toho, and Matsuno.
Japanese Cylinder Seed Beads
The highest quality seed beads that you can get are Japanese cylinder beads. They are shaped in a cylindrical shape that is consistent throughout all the beads. The glass beads are made using state-of-the-art machinery. These beads are very lightweight and uniform with oversized holes that make them easy to use and perfect for embroidery and bead weaving projects. With the precise shape and weight of these seed beads, you will have to pay a little extra but it all is absolutely worth it.
Japanese Round Seed Beads
Round seed beads are made by many different Japanese manufacturers and are sold all around the world. They are made from high-quality glass and uniform in their shapes and sizes. These beads have large holes which help in threading even if you have no experience with seed beads. Again, since these beads are made using state-of-the-art technology, they will be more on the expensive side. With the uniformity these seed beads have, you will not regret paying a little extra when your finished project looks extra polished.
Czech Seed Beads
The third type of seed beads you can get in the market are Czech seed beads. They are manufactured in the Czech Republic and are usually in a donut shape made from glass. They don't have very big holes so they are more suited to jewelry making and not bead-making projects. Czech seed beads are not uniform in size and shape and will not give your finished craft a uniform look but will be great for projects where you want to add depth and dimension. The price point of these seed beads is cheaper than Japanese seed beads owing to the slightly lower quality and non-uniformity in their shapes.
Chinese Seed Beads
If you're looking for seed bead sizes that are more for everyday crafting and don't cost a lot of money, Chinese seed beads are the ones for you. These seed beads come in a lot of different materials and finishes and sometimes even have different shapes. Usually, you would use these beads for jewelry making as they make great spacers but they can also be used for crafts that may be for kids as they come in a lot of fun colors and designs. With each batch that is produced, the size of the hole and the uniformity and quality differ.
Seed Bead Sizes
A lot of high-quality seed beads are classified according to size using numbers that are called aught sizes. When seed beads were first produced there was only one standard size and that was called the 'aught' beads. As different varieties of seed beads started coming into the market, the sizing of seed beads started taking shape. The way seed beads are sized comes from how many beads can be lined side by side, with the holes facing up, in the space of one inch.
The basic rule of thumb with seed bead sizing is the larger the number, the smaller the seed bead.
Seed Bead Sizes Chart - Aught
|Aught||mm||Needle Size||Threads Used|
|6/0||3.3mm||Size 10 (Twisted Beading Needle) Size 10 (Milliners Needle)||Heavyweight Nylon Thread 10-pound weight Gel-Spun Thread|
|7/0||2.9mm||Size 10 (English beading needle)||Medium – Heavyweight Nylon Thread|
|8/0||2.5mm||Size 10 (English beading needle)||Medium – Heavyweight Nylon Thread|
|9/0||2.2mm||Size 10 (English beading needle) Size 10 (short beading needle)||Medium – Heavyweight Nylon Thread|
|10/0||2.0mm||Size 10 (English beading needle) Size 10 (short beading needle)||Medium – Heavyweight Nylon Thread|
|11/0||1.8mm||Size 10 (English beading needle) Size 10 (short beading needle)||Medium – Heavyweight Nylon Thread|
|12/0||1.7mm||Size 12 and 13 (English beading needle)||Lightweight Nylon Thread|
|13/0||1.5mm||Size 12 and 13 (English beading needle)||Lightweight Nylon Thread|
|14/0||1.4mm||Size 12 and 13 (English beading needle)||Lightweight Nylon Thread|
|15/0||1.3mm||Size 12 and 13 (English beading needle)||Lightweight Nylon Thread|
|16/0||1.2mm||Size 15 (Beading Needle)||Lightweight Nylon Thread|
|18/0||1.1mm||Size 15 (Beading Needle)||Lightweight Nylon Thread|
|20/0||1.0mm||Size 15 (Beading Needle)||Lightweight Nylon Thread|
|22/0||0.9mm||Size 16 (Beading Needle)||Lightweight Nylon Thread|
Seed Bead Sizes - Standard Chart
Except for the high-quality seed beads made in Japan and the Czech Republic, you can also find many other types of seed beads in the market. There are different shapes available as well as different materials that they can be made of. To help you understand what you need, these types of seed beads have a standard sizing guide.
|Seed Bead Sizes||Millimeter Size|
|Size 6||3.3 mm|
|Size 7||2.9 mm|
|Size 8||2.5 mm|
|Size 9||2.2 mm|
|Size 10||2 mm|
|Size 11||1.8 mm|
|Size 12||1.7 mm|
|Size 13||1.5 mm|
|Size 14||1.4 mm|
|Size 15||1.3 mm|
|Size 16||1.2 mm|
|Size 18||1.1 mm|
|Size 20||1 mm|
|Size 22||0.9 mm|
Seed Bead Sizes - Finishes
Apart from the different types and seed bead sizes that you can find in the market, there are many different finishes that seed beads can have. Depending on what kind of project you're doing, choosing the right finish will not only add to the finished look of your beaded craft but will also help you add depth and definition to it.
- Metal-lined – The outside of these seed beads is made from transparent glass and inside they are lined with either silver, gold, or any other metal to give a metallic effect.
- Color-lined – These seed beads have a transparent outside with different colors on the inside that show through.
- Transparent – These seed beads are see-through and can be made from either clear or colored glass to give different effects.
- Frosted Transparent – These seed beads are transparent on the outside with a frosted finish on top.
- Opaque –These seed beads are most popularly used in jewelry making and embroidery. They are made from solid colors and can be found in a shiny or matte finish.
- Picasso – These seed beads have a finish on the outside that adds a marble effect to them.
- Galvanized – These seed beads have a galvanized finish which is basically a metallic finish with a slightly frosted look on the outside.
- AB – Also known as the rainbow finish, AB finished seed beads are made to reflect and sparkle the light in different ways. These can add depth to your finished project.
- Lustre – These seed beads have a pearlescent finish on the outside which adds a bit of luster to your project.
Seed Bead Sizes – In Conclusion
There are so many different projects that you can do with the different types and shapes of seed beads available nowadays. Once you have understood the different types of seed beads and seed bead sizes, you can then be confident when it comes to choosing seed beads for your next project. Many unique finishes offer a world of creative possibilities where you can mix and match to add depth to your finished project. Whether you're doing your first project with seed beads or have been working with them for a while, this guide to seed bead sizes has all the information you need.
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