Tips on Seed Beads

Choosing Beads for Bead Embroidery

When you're using seed beads for embroidery, most folks seem to agree that beads that are less square and more round produce better results. So Japanese rocailles (regular round seed beads) are better than Delicas or other cylinder beads for embroidery. And the Czech beads are generally curvier than Japanese, and therefore even better. Vintage European beads have the double benefit of being both nicely curvy and (often) skinnier than the modern Czech or Japanese beads, so they are terrific for embroidery, but harder to find.

Choosing Beads for Loomwork, Peyote, and Brick Stitch

If you are doing regular, rectangular work with even rows in any of these techniques, the Japanese cylinder beads (Delica, Aiko, or Treasure) will be the easiest to work with as there is minimal culling required and the beads kind of click into place. On the other hand, the Czech beads produce a lovely surface that cannot be equaled by the cylinder beads. The newer Czech beads are much more regular in shape than their predecessors, so they are not as hard to work with as you may remember from years back. The Japanese rocailles come in more colors than the Czech and can also work well in these techniques, but mixing Czech and Japanese beads does not work well, as their sizes are not quite the same.

Choosing Beads for Free-Form or Sculptural Beadwork

I don't like to use cylinder beads for this sort of work. The most obvious reason is that they really want to lie flat against each other like little bricks, and that is not the general shape of this sort of beadwork. But the second reason is that they are too regular in shape. It is way too difficult to find the skinny or oversized or slanty beads that help me make nice transitions when beading in curves, circles, or intentional bulges.

Older Czech beads are my favorites because of their irregularity, but when they are not available, new Czech or Japanese round beads will do. Depending on the nature of your project, you may well be able to mix bead types (Czech, Japanese, even a few Delicas)in this kind of work.

Find More Information on Choosing Beads

You can find more ideas on making good choices of beads for different projects in the section on Bead Information on this website.

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