Sumptuous Seed Beads & Their Crazy Cousins

Why do we love seed beads? Oh, let us count the ways…

“Seed Bead” is a generic term for any small bead. There are various styles and sizes of seed beads, including round, cylinder (also known as “delica”), bugle, and dozens more! Although we carry a full range of standard seed beads in sizes 6/0 to 11/0, we love our unusual and unique seed beads even more. Just like grains of sand, seed beads may not look like much individually, but when you combine them together, you can create some incredible designs! Here are a few cool seed bead shapes we love:

Long Magatama
Like its name, this shape is kind of funky, but the slightly oblong teardrop shape creates an amazing clustering effect when the beads are clumped together!

Photos courtesy of miyuki-beads.com

Tila bead sample photo courtesy of labellajoya.blogspot.com

Tila
These are one of the coolest new seed beads on the market! Tila beads have two holes (neat-o!), and since they are square, they add a striking geometric look to a jewelry design. They lay flat when woven together, and feel luxuriously smooth on your skin!

Twin bead sample photo courtesy of ellad2.com

Twin
Like Tila beads, twin seed beads have two holes, but their slightly rounded shape create a completely different look when woven together with other beads (the twin beads are the dark blue beads in the sample at left). We like the fact that they have a similar look to standard seed beads, but their extra hole makes weaving back and forth much easier than trying to thread 2, 3 or even 4 cords through a standard seed bead.

Peanut bead sample photo courtesy of miyuki-beads.com

Peanut  (a.k.a. Berry, but don’t ask us why. We think peanut makes more sense.) Also an ideal bead for creating a clustered look, these little guys nestle together perfectly! (See close-up circle below.) They don’t have the teardrop length of the magatamas, but they do add just the right amount of texture.

Embellish a Braided Charm Necklace with by weaving delica beads into the braid!

Delica
OK, we figured we could throw in at least ONE “classic” seed bead. The even, cylindrical shape of delicas are ideal for tightly woven pieces and look amazing in flat stitches, such as peyote. However, we also like to use them as accent beads in a braid, such as in the Braided Charm Necklace, pictured below right.

Join us for our Braided Charm Necklace Class happening Tuesday, August 14th, 10am-1pm to learn how to create this whimsical piece & add delicas to a classic braid.

One more seed-bead-related nugget of information: seed beaders LOVE the handy little tool called a Thread Zap.

Photo courtesy of helby.com

Seasoned beader Jennifer VanBenschoten (and columnist for About.com) used to swear by the traditional method of using a lighter to secure her thread ends close to her woven beadwork — until she bought a Thread Zap thread burner. Now, she’ll never go back!

The Thread Zap works with both nylon beading threads such as Nymo and Silamide as well as fishing-line type threads like Fireline. VanBenschoten explains, “The Thread Zap works by pressing a button that causes the metal tips to heat up to approximately the same temperature as the flame of a lighter or match. Because the tips are so fine, they allow for precision application of the heat to the exact spot where you want to melt and secure your thread ends.”

We don’t know about you, but any tool that minimizes ugly knots, the hassle of finishing, and the risk of melting a jewelry project sounds pretty darn good to us! Swing by Blue Door Beads to pick up your Thread Zap — your lovely seed bead project will thank you!

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