Beads that are small in size are generally called seed beads. These have uniform shapes and sizes that range from less than a millimeter to several millimeters. The shape is usually round, and these beads are used commonly for both loom and off-loom bead weaving. You can apply them to simple stringing, or use them to function as spacers between larger-sized beads in your pieces. Seed beads are called as such because of their small size. Their appearance is similar to seeds, with glass as the most common material used. Many countries manufacture seed beads, but the most well known producers are Japan and the Czech Republic.
Seed beads can find many uses in a wide variety of craft such as loom work, jewelry, embroidery, quilting and some other art projects. In bracelet and necklace making, they can be used in between other beads as spacers, to provide an attractive appearance. Making yourself familiar with the bead sizes will help you make an informed decision when buying them. Seed beads are measured in one inch increments. How many beads you can cut from a 1″ rod of glass is the general understanding. For example, if a glass rod is cut into 10 pieces seed beads, the measurement would be 10/0 (read as ten ought). The word “ought” refers to zero.
As the number gets higher, the smaller is the seed bead. A 22/0 bead is very tiny compared to a 10/0 bead. This standard of measuring seed beads has been debated over the years; however, this provides us with an understanding of what size we should buy for our intended project.
The quality of seed beads varies to a great extent, including in the methods used by manufacturers in the manufacture of these items. Some inefficient methods result in sizes and shapes that are irregular. The more precise methods, however, result in desirable quality of beads produced, although they may be more expensive. These high quality beads are pleasing to use because their shapes and sizes are even.
Seed beads are sold almost at everyplace where craft and hobby supplies are available, online and at local bead shops. These are sold by “hank”, by gram weight, or in small tins. The hank refers to a unit bundle of strands; it has 12 x 20″ strands of beads. Seed beads from the Czech Republic are sold in hanks, and then repacked into bags, tubes or other containers to be sold on retail basis. The Japanese seed beads are sold by grams, which proves to be cheaper than when you buy in hanks. Today, these tiny beads are also sold in small tins. These tins are the ideal containers of small beads, where they are less likely to get lost.
Those are some basic information about seed beads. Knowing all these will enable you to use your informed decision when purchasing these products. There will be no regrets later, because you can select and buy your required beads online or at the hobby shop near you without any hassle.
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