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The Many Shapes of Seed Beads

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While the most commonly used seed beads for beadweaving are round, there are lots of other beautiful shapes that you can use to add texture and variety to your beadwork.

1. Round Seed Beads

Jennifer VanBenschoten
This is the most common shape of seed bead. Round seed beads have rounded edges and resemble small donuts. They can vary widely in shape. Czech seed beads and Japanese seed beads are examples of round seed beads.

2. Cylinder Beads

Jennifer VanBenschoten
Cylinder beads are round, but they have more defined edges and are precisely uniform in both shape and size. They are also known as Japanese cylinder beads.

3. Hex Cut or Two-Cuts

Jennifer VanBenschoten
These seed beads do not have round edges. Instead, they resemble hexagons when looked at from top to bottom through the hole. Hex-cuts resemble very short bugle beads.

4. Charlottes

These are round seed beads that have a single cut to them. The single cut adds a wonderful bit of sparkle when these beads are used in off-loom weaving projects and as spacers in stringing projects.

5. Triangle Beads

Jennifer VanBenschoten
These seed beads are shaped like tiny triangles. Some have holes that are also triangular in shape, but some have holes that are round.

6. Cube Beads

Jennifer VanBenschoten
These beads are cut to be tiny squares.

7. Drop or Fringe Beads

Jennifer VanBenschoten
These beads are tiny teardrop-shaped beads. They come in a wide range of colors and are used to add texture in off-loom weaving and can be used as accents at the end of strands of fringe.

8. Bugle Beads

Jennifer VanBenschoten
Bugle beads are thin tubes of glass. They can range in size from 4mm up to 30mm. They come in all shapes and colors. Some have square holes and some have round holes. The edges of bugle beads can be sharp, causing your thread to fray or break while stitching. It is generally recommended to file down any rough or sharp-looking edges with a nail file before stitching or stringing these beads.

9. Twisted Beads

Jennifer VanBenschoten
These beads have twisted ridges running along the diagonal. There are twisted hex-cuts and bugle beads available from many local bead shops and online sources.

10. Dagger Beads

Jennifer VanBenschoten
Dagger beads are flat pressed glass beads that resemble daggers, flower petals or dragonfly wings. They come in many different colors and finishes.

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