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Understanding Seed Beads For Beginners

Understanding Seed Beads For Beginners

When starting out in the beading world, there is A LOT to learn about the different types of beads, threads and tools. Seed Beads are definitely one of those hurdles to overcome, and can be an overwhelming product to understand, especially when it comes to sizing, finishes and makes. 

Seed Beads are not all the same, and can vary drastically depending on the type of projects you want to use them for. If you are a weaver or looking to get in to embroidery, you will be wanting branded seed beads which offer an even and symmetrical style. The types of brands that offer this style include TOHO and Miyuki which originate in Japan, and specialise in even and high quality beads.  Czech seed beads are also a renowned brand known for their fantastic quality. However, these do come at a cost, making them not the most affordable option for a beginner looking to experiment with a few different styles.

Unbranded glass seed beads are a fantastic (and affordable!) option for beaders looking to play around with a few different ideas, and work beautifully in handmade jewellery. Not only are these an affordable choice, but they come in endless variations, including colour, size and finishes. From opaque to AB lustred, you can create endless combinations of seed bead creations! You will also find that this type of product is offered in vaster quantities than branded seed beads, making them the ideal bead to work with in practicing different styles and collections. 

Not only are they a practical choice, they are also extremely trendy and popular, being used in many small jewellery businesses’ designs. If you are looking to start your own beaded jewellery business, glass seed beads are a great option to start with, creating fun and colourful designs with achievable profits.

The main difference you will find between branded and non-branded seed beads is the consistency in shape. Glass seed beads tend to have irregular sizing, creating a more casual and abstract look to your beading creations. Whereas TOHO, Miyuki and Czech specialise in consistency, making these a good option for embroidery, intricate weaving and even styled jewellery. 

Different Types of Finishes

Seed Beads come in a variety of finishes, meaning each colour and coating can look very different. These are the different types of finishes explained: 

Seed Bead Finishes Infographic explaining the different types of coating and styles of glass seed beads for beaded hobbies and jewellery making

Seed Bead Sizing Chart 

When it comes to sizing, certain manufacturers size differently to others, so it is very important to carefully read the description of each seed bead you are interested in. In a lot of cases, they are referred to in ‘mm’ which is the best measurement to go off. However, they are also commonly referred to in these types of measurements, ’11/0’ or ‘8/0’. The key rule to take away from this measurement is that the bigger the number, the smaller the bead. Historically, this measurement highlights how many beads can sit in an inch. However, this measurement does have its flaws, as each manufacturer had slightly different measurement techniques, meaning measurements aren’t the same for all types of seed beads. This is why we suggest checking the product descriptions for the exact millimetre measurement. However, the general conversion rule and guideline of measurements is as follows:

 Seed Bead Size Chart explaining the seed bead measurements being converted in to mm.

Our Seed Bead Measurements 

We are just a little obsessed with Seed Beads here at Big Little Store (I mean, how could we not be?!). We specialise in a fantastic array of glass seed beads with endless colours and finishes, making them a popular product amongst jewellery makers looking for affordable beading products. 

Although we do offer a selection of Tiny Opaque Seed Beads, measuring in at 15/0 (or more importantly 1.4mm), we focus on 3 sizes in our seed bead range, including 6/0 (4mm), 8/0 (3mm) and 11/0 (2mm).  

Check out our full range of Seed Beads here!

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