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Seed Bead Basics

The Scoop on Seed Beads


Seed beads are the best part of doing beadwork. They come in so many shapes, sizes and colors that it’s easy to be overwhelmed when choosing your seed beads for your beadwork projects. When you understand seed bead basics, you'll know exactly what to look for on your next trip to your local bead shop.

1. Seed Bead Sizes

Jennifer VanBenschoten
Your basic seed bead comes in a wide range of sizes. From very tiny to very large, you should always know which size to use in a project and what thread is appropriate to use to prevent your beads and needles from breaking when you stitch.

2. Czech Seed Beads

Czech seed beads are a great basic bead for beginning beaders. They come in a wide range of colors, sizes and finishes and are very affordable. They are widely available in many local bead shops and online, making them easy to find.

3. Japanese Seed Beads

Japanese seed beads are another great basic seed bead for beginners. These beads have slightly larger holes than the Czech seed beads and come in a truly incredible range of colors, finishes, shapes and sizes.

4. Japanese Cylinder Beads

Jennifer VanBenschoten
Not to be confused with Japanese seed beads, Japanese cylinder beads are highly uniform in both shape and size. They "click" together when stitched in peyote or brick stitch and result in a very tailored, smooth beaded fabric.

5. The Many Shapes of Seed Beads

Jennifer VanBenschoten
Seed beads come in more than just your basis round shape. There are drops, daggers, bugles and hex-cut seed beads available at local bead shops and on the internet. These beads can add color, texture and sparkle to your favorite beading stitches.

6. Basic Seed Bead Colors and Finishes

Seed beads have an incredible variety of colors and finishes, ranging from basic opaque and transparent to matte metallic and iris. Knowing what type of finish and surface treatment has been applied to your seed beads will let you choose the best color for your beading projects.
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