An Overview of Seed Beads

SKU VID-0590
Designer: Julie Bean
Seed Beads are the building blocks of many great jewelry designs. There are literally thousands of seed beads for you to choose from when planning your project and it can be very confusing which ones to choose. This video talks about seed bead sizes, types, shapes, and finishes to help you better understand all things seed beads.
Audio Transcript
Note: This audio transcript is auto-generated and may not be completely accurate.
Hi, this is Julie with and today I want to show you an overview of seed beads. We've gotten requests and questions at regarding seed beads. I thought it'd be helpful to just do a quick video just talking about their sizes, shapes, finishes and so on there are thousands of seed beads out there so before I start I do want to say this is not gonna cover every single one out there. It's going to cover the more common ones first let's talk about seed bead sizes because I know this has confused a lot of people. The most common you're gonna come across and there are others that are more common ones, but 6, 8, 10, 11 and 15 and you'll notice that the 6 is quite a bit larger than a 15. So it's a bit counter-intuitive. The larger the number the smaller the bead. I've done a little line here showing you their graduating sizes and there is quite a difference you'll see when you get down to a 15/0 it's very very tiny probably the bead that you're gonna come across using the most in a lot of bead weaving or bead embroidery projects is a size 11/0 which I have represented here. I actually have some Miyuki ones I have some Toho and you'll see that even though these are both an 11/0 they are actually a little bit of a different shape and a different size. Not all seed beads are the same is what I'm trying to get at. This is a 15/0 Miyuki and 15/0 Toho. You can see again just slightly a different size. It's very small but it is there so I wanted to just point that out and speaking of Miyuki and Tohos, well what's the difference because you're gonna come across this a bit Toho has a nice rounded shape to it they're both made in Japan. They're both very precise and even and uniform but the Tohos are the round ones and the Miyuki delicas which are the ones represented here are more the cylinder shape which means they have a larger hole compared to their outer body and that's going to allow you to create multiple passes through the bead which is really nice. So here's an example of Tohos worked into an earring. You can see that nice round shape see how their woven together and they are glass I'll skip over this one for second. I'll go right over to the Miyuki delicas you can see when these ones are woven in shape they lock into place this is a peyote stitch which is really ideal for the Miyuki delicas. They're really great for loom work as well because they are gonna be so uniform and then here I'll come back, this a Czech glass seed bead if you look really close you can see these are just not quite as even which gives it a wonderful bohemian vintage feel it makes them not quite as good for certain beads stitches so that's something to keep in mind when you planning which bead to get here they've been worked into a star ornament, you can see that they are a bit irregular but it creates this really wonderful kinda vintage old-world feel to them. I've also pulled out some charlottes when you see charlottes, you might be a little confused with what that name means it means basically a seed bead that has one cut on the side. I'm pointing to one right here. It can be a little bit hard to see on camera but that one cut gives them a little bit extra sparkle and now here I have a tri-cut seed bead. This is a czech glass seed bead. It's been cut on three different sides which gives it a very antique look. I love using these personally and then I have these little hex cut and these are what they sound like they're cut into a hex shape and these are little Miyuki 15/0 delicas and they beautifully reflects the light so that's a little bit of an overview of the sizes and the different types you're gonna come across and I wanna talk about finishes. You'll see actually a lot of beads have more than one finish but I'm gonna try to go over the ones that just seem most common so this one is a colorline seed bead. I'll take it out real quick you can see it's got a green lining on the inside and a transparent blue bead and now here is a silver lined, so you'll often find a silver gold or bronze line bead and what that does it gives it just a little bit of a hint of a metallic look but you're still really seeing the dominant color what would be great is to pair it with sterling silver accents where you can really play off that metal color lining. I've got a transparent bead just like the name suggests it's transparent, there's no color lining, there's no metal finishes, it's just a see through bead the opposite of course is an opaque, it's a solid bead and you might have something like this which is going to be an opaque matte so it's a solid color bead but it's got a matte finish. See this one here is shiny you won't see a bead that ever says opaque shiny but you will see one that says opaque matte. If it doesn't designate which one you can pretty much assume it'll have a little bit of shine to it this next one here is a luster luster has a wonderful pearly sheen to it and this here is actually a copper lined rose luster and then we've got AB. You might be able to see it better in the tube than on the mat AB is like a rainbow finish. It's creates like a shimmer you often see this on lighter color beads like a pink AB, blue AB, a white AB and then on the darker colors what you'll often see is an iris. It's very similar to an AB, it's still a rainbow affect but it's pulling colors that are close to the main color on the color wheel It creates almost like a peacock effect. You'll often see this with a brown bead, a purple bead, a green bead, a blue bead. These two are the same, they're both galvanized. It's a shiny metal looking coated seed bead. You'll see this on bright colors but you can also see it here in like rose gold or certain metal finishes also are galvanized and then the next one is a metal finish. They don't just have to be gold and silver. This one here is like a purple color that has a metal finish applied to it that beads look as if they're metal. They're super shiny and then I pulled this as well. This is a matte galvanized See how that looks. Compare that to the shiny galvanized again you're gonna to often see a seed bead that has multiple finishes on it. You just need to read them carefully and figure out what they mean. It has a more dull appearance, really pretty though and the final one that's popular is a picasso finish. It almost looks like a paint splatter finish and you'll often see it with again browns, blues, greens, turquoises and just more of a marbled effect and so there are more finishes out there. These are the ones that you'll come across most often. So I hope that that helped to visually illustrate what they are and you can understand them better when you're looking at your bead selection and if you have any questions feel free to write us on our YouTube channel. We're always happy to help. I know it's confusing because there are thousands of seed bead out there and these are just some of them but I hope this helped to clear it up a little bit. Go to to purchase beading supplies and to get design ideas!

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