What Are Seed Beads?
Seed beads or glass seed beads refer to a special class of decorative beads that are usually smaller and lighter than your usual jewelry beads.
The classical seed beads are made of glass, but some are also made from synthetic materials. Beaded bracelets are often constructed with seed beads that are cylindrical, round, barrel-shaped, and so on.
Bead bracelets are popular with both kids and adults alike because they’re so versatile, and there’s always room for experimentation no matter what. If you are thinking of trying bead projects this year, it’s best to familiarize yourself first with the tools and the types of beads that are commonly used for these projects in the first place.
What Are the Types of Seed Beads?
- Bugle beads – Bugle beads are instantly recognizable because of their skinny and tubular appearance. This type of bead is excellent for stringing projects and ladder stitching. There are multiple varieties, too, from hex-cut to straight to twisted.
- Square beads – These are cubical beads that come in a wide array of colors.<
- Czech seed beads – Artisans have been making these since the fifteenth century. They’re excellent for classic or traditional patterns. They are dyed manually, so there may be color variations even in the same batch.
- Delica beads – Delica beads are manufactured in Japan. They’re very delicate-looking beads that are translucent. Ideal for loom work and off-loom creations. These beads come in multiple sizes ranging from 8/0 to 10/0.
- Hexagon beads – These are glass beads with six sides. They are also called “two cuts” in the bead-working world.
- Triangle beads – Beads that have a triangular form factor. The unusual shape allows beads on either side to sit perfectly, securing the design and minimizing gaps on the wire.
What Tools Do I Need?
While basic beadwork can be accomplished with simple tools like a regular pair of scissors, you will be more efficient if you have the right tools. Below are some of the essentials that are useful for all kinds of bead-related projects:
- Chain-nose pliers – Jewelers find chain-nose pliers indispensable. There are dozens of pliers for bending metal and wires, but fine, chain-nose pliers are versatile. Use these pliers to open loops, maintain gaps in helixes and bend all kinds of wires. These pliers are also useful for extracting wires that have become stuck.
- Round-nose pliers – Grab a pair of round-nose pliers if you need to bend loops perfectly. These pliers are used because they can produce loops that are easily graded as “professional-looking.” If you are interested in selling work, these pliers will help you get there.
- Crimping pliers – If you have been doing beading projects for years but haven’t invested in tools, you probably thought that you have to squeeze links and end to close them manually. Well, know that there is an appropriate tool for crimping and closing loops and ends. Your beading projects will look much better with crimping pliers.
- Flush cutters – Flush cutters are easy to spot because they are very angular and point. One side of these pliers is flat, coupled with a V-shaped form factor. When you cut a wire with flush cutters, one side becomes flat while the other side becomes slanted and pinched. Flush cutters ensure that ends of cut wires don’t mushroom upon cutting. Beading enthusiasts who like to keep a more professional look will love working with flush cutters.
- Wire cutters – A wire cutter can make quick work of thinner wires, and they’re light on the hands, too.
- Embroidery scissors – Embroidery scissors have very sharp tips and large, round handles. These scissors make it easier for you to work off-loom.
Simple Seed Bead Projects
Now that you have a better idea of working with the right beads and tools let’s look at the most popular bead projects and bracelet patterns.
The single loop pattern requires you to push a folded wire into a bead, with both ends pointing in the same direction. Create a single loop for linking to another bead.
Spiral loops require two wires. The first wire will form the “core beads.” Another wire or string is threaded with beads before being inserted into the core beads. The result is three or more bead formations wrapped around a core pillar of beads.
Morse Code Beading
Morse code beading focuses more on the bead pattern rather than the wiring technique. For this project, you will need just one wire but two types of beads: narrow, tubular beads (that will serve as dashes) and smaller cylindrical beads or round glass beads. You can spell a real name using the Morse code, a combination of dots and dashes.
- A (dot, dash)
- B (dash, dot, dot, dot)
- C (dash, dot, dash, dot)
Double color beadwork is simple but requires three colors not, just two. The third color is white beads, which would set the canvas for the bracelet or necklace.
Pick two contrasting colors like blue and cream or cobalt blue and cream. Create a column of ten or fifteen for the darker color before alternating with an equal quantity from the lighter color. Finish with a third pillar of the darker color before filling the string’s rest with the neutral color (white).
Beading circles are a type of pattern that requires some weaving. They’re denser and more complex than single-strand constructions, but they are also highly scalable. You can create a series of small beading circles or a big one, depending on your beadwork taste.
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