One of the things that I found so confusing was understanding the sizes of beads. What exactly is an 11/0? What’s a delica seed bead? What’s a good seed bead and when does it matter?
How Seed Beads are Sized
If I were to take my seed beads and line them all up one right after another, how many would it take to make that line add up to one inch? Therefore, the bigger the number, smaller the bead. So, when you see that a seed bead is a size 8/0 (can also just say “8) it’s a rather large seed bead (especially if you’re a weaver). I normally work with 11’s or 15’s. Those are quite small and if you don’t wear glasses now you will quite soon.
Types of Seed Beads
Delica is a very specific type of seed bead. It is cut very straight. Imagine taking a pipe and cutting it in half. That is the same idea with delica beads. Many weavers prefer them because when you’re doing a specific pattern the delicas will line up perfectly. I sometimes like delicas (for peyote it really comes out beautiful) but I also really like the “rounds” type of seed bead. There are also seed beads in hex, triangle, and square (cube) shapes.
Choosing a Bead
If you’re going to do an intricate design, you need a serious quality seed bead. If you buy junk, they will all be mismatched in size/shape and you’ll be really annoyed trying to work with them. Seed beads don’t have to cost a fortune (unless they’re gold lined etc). There are some really great seed beads out there by Miyuki and TOHO. I find the best deals for seed beads are online.
My Favorite Vendors
A great place to shop. If your order goes over $10 (that’s easy for me to do) then it ships free. I LOVE free shipping. They frequently have coupons available if you spend over $40.
I really love their beads. They have a LOT of vintage and acrylic that you might not find anywhere else. My favorite thing about their seed beads is the packaging. They come in tubes. I love the tubes because it makes storage and viewing your loot of colors so much easier.
There are plenty of other vendors out there but I honestly just shop at these two. I think that if you really get into stitching/weaving, you’re going to find that online is the place to shop. You’ll save a tremendous amount of money and you’ll get consistently great quality beads.