Seed Beads

Written by Sarah Provost
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Seed beads are tiny beads often used in loom work. Their miniscule size makes them ideal for detailed work, and they come in an astounding range of colors. Mixing different sizes of seed beads gives a piece an intriguing texture.

Seed beads are usually sold in tubes or by the bag, in quantities of 25 kilograms. Their sizes are expressed in numbers 6/0 to 14/0, with the smaller numbers referring to the larger beads. There is usually a significant variation in the size of the hole in seed beads, so it's best to order more than you think you'll need for your project. There are tools that can ream a larger hole, but seed beads are so tiny that they are likely to break.

In addition to the wide range of colors, seed beads also come in a variety of styles. The finish may be matte, glossy or metallic. Beads can be transparent or opaque, lined with color or silver, or iridescent. Many of the best seed beads are imported from the Czech Republic or Japan, and Miyuki, a Japanese manufacturer, is generally considered the top producer of seed beads in the world.

Accessories for Seed Beading

There are several brands of thread suitable for seed beads, with the most popular being Nymo and Silamide. Using these threads eliminates the need for waxing. Seed beads are too small to be strung using a regular needle, so you will need a beading needle. These are sized in the same manner as the beads, with the smaller number referring to the larger needle. It's best to use a needle one size smaller than your beads. For example, if you are using size 11 beads, you'll need a size 12 needle.


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