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 A beadworker's blog

  • Writer's pictureI:si

Beads 101 (part 1)

Updated: May 3, 2018

Or why some pieces of jewelry are worth double for a similar look.

Miyuki, Delicas, Czech beads...the possibilities are endless

Hello everyone, My name is I:si and I am a beadaholic. I have been behaving lately and haven’t purchased anymore beads in the last month but trust me, sometimes it takes me everything not to buy more colors. There always to seems to be that one color or type of bead that I am missing…

So while I’m not buying anymore beads, I can sure write about them! Whether you are a beadworker or a beadwork enthusiast, keep on reading to get the 101 on beads!

Seed beads

Colorful Czech seed beads

Seed beads are small, round, glass beads mostly used for bead weaving and bead embroidery. They have a wide range of sizes and colors. Some are even-shaped like Miyuki beads, some are uneven, like Czech rocaille beads, and are great for flat stitched bead embroidery because they cover all these little nooks and crannies created by free-formed shapes.

Round Cut beads

Cut beads are similar to seed beads but have flat faceted cuts that add extra shine to the beadwork

Cylinder beads

Miyuki Delicas

Delicas are the lego blocks of beadwork. They’re great for building shapes with brick or peyote stitch. Nico Williams, an Anishinaabe artist from Aamjiwnaang First Nation and a great friend of mine, does amazing structural work with Delicas, birch and porcupine quills. Shameless plug, look him up on Instagram @odehmin or at Nico does magic with beads.

Delicas are perfectly even-shaped, which explains their elevated cost. Precision is expensive and the pigments used in these beads are top quality, so dishing out a little more money will get you even, precise beads with vibrant colors. Despite all this, I personally find that they do not always suit the style that I am looking for, and for a better price and similar quality, I will usually work with hex beads.

Hex beads

Sooooo shinyyy!

I am a huge fan of hex beads, because these pack all the shine. They have a similar shape as the Delicas -although maybe not as perfectly cylindrical, but they are usually a little (lot) less expensive. That makes them great for structural work as well as bead embroidery and they offer the faceted type of sparkles that can be spotted from miles away. They are the ones bringing all the bling to the Golden Beam earrings.

2 cut beads

2 cut beads are similar to Delicas and hex beads, but they don't have smooth edges and are not always even. They are full of potential however, and many offer a unique type of iridescence like the ones in the picture shown above. I like to edge raised beaded shapes with those beads because they are great for framing a bigger piece of beaded embroidery.

Super duo

They stormed the market a couple years ago and changed the game of bead weaving. I admit that I am new to using them but they are growing on me for the type of round shape that they create, which is perfect for earrings! I’ve indulged in a few colors and did a straight stitching bracelet to go with the Moon Moss necklace and set.


The staple of fringed earrings! They are the long cylindrical beads that add shine and weight to loops and fringes. You will find them in all lengths and colors, smooth or swirly! I also like to add them to loom designs and then sew them on leather bracelets or use them to and shine to an embroidered piece like this hairclip.

That's all for now, I don't think that I can fit all the different types of beads into one post. I'll have to make a part 2. I also want to give you a price chart for all those beads, as prices vary greatly and it's good to have a reference if you want to try new models or get started with bead working.

Bear with me as I keep updating the store for both the Spring collection and the beads and crafts supplies section. New prices and items to come!


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