Bead Weights: Figure Out How Many Beads You Are Buying

Knowing about bead weights helps you decide how many packages of beads to buy. How do they sell seed beads at your local bead store? Are they in tubes? Boxes? Bags?

Those beads may have been bought from the wholesaler in the same packaging you are seeing at your store, but if they sell a lot of seed beads, they probably buy them by the kilo or half-kilo.

So they re-package them in a way that is easy to display and that will let you see them well and buy them.

The human eye plays tricks on us and beads packaged in tubes look like a greater volume than is actually present. Especially beads in tall, thin tubes. There has been some great research that shows that when someone pours liquid in a short fat glass, they always pour in more than they think they do. So if you want to limit your juice or beer or whatever, you will be satisfied with less if you pour it in a tall skinny glass than if you drink out of a short fat glass.

On the other hand, if you want to buy beads, those alluring tall thin tubes of beads have fewer beads in them than you think. Good for the retailer, not so good for the buyer.

Buy by Weight

Do your best to buy your beads by weight. Know how many grams are in that package. And be particularly careful when the packaging gets tall and skinny, or you may either pay too much or come home without enough beads to actually complete your project.

How Many Beads in a Gram?

Here's the information I have found so far on how many beads are in a gram of regular round seed beads (also called rocailles) and of cylinder beads such as delicas. When I have different information about beads from different manufacturers, I'm including that. Obviously, I can't guarantee how many beads will be in your specific package (or how many of them will be suitable for your purposes), but this information can help you plan your purchases. Here goes!

Japanese Round Seed Beads

Japanese Size 15/0 250 per gram (Miyuki); 295 per gram (Matsuno)

Japanese 12/0 95 per gram (Matsuno)

Japanese Size 11/0 110 per gram (Miyuki and Toho)

Japanese Size 10/0 63 per gram (Matsuno)

Japanese Size 8/0 26 per gram (Matsuno); 39 per gram (Miyuki); 43 per gram (Toho)

Japanese Size 6/0 15 per gram (Matsuno); 12 per gram (Miyuki)

Japanese Size 5/0 (E Beads) 7 beads per gram (Miyuki)

Japanese Size 1/0 (EE Beads) 3 beads per gram (Miyuki)

Czech Round Seed Beads

Czech Size 15/0 250 beads per gram

Czech Size 11/0 100 beads per gram

Czech Size 8/0 23 beads per gram

Czech Size 6/0 15 beads per gram

Delicas/Cylinder Beads

Miyuki Delicas Size 15/0 350 per gram

Miyuki Delicas Size 11/0 200 per gram

Miyuki Delicas Size 10/0 108 per gram

Miyuki Delicas Size 8/0 30 per gram

More About Bead Weights

Matte/frost finished beads are slightly lighter and smaller because the tumbling process removes some glass from them. You get a few more beads per gram with these beads.

Beads with cut surfaces (charlottes or 3-cuts) are similarly lighter than the round bead of the same size. The lighter bead weights mean more beads per gram.

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