• Kathy Mattes

The Many Shapes and Sizes of Seed Beads

Updated: 6 days ago


In a previous post I talked about the product I use the most of, which is seed beads. At the end of that post I mentioned that seed beads also come in many other shapes and sizes, and I have used some of those in my work as well.


My favorite shaped bead is called the SUPER DUO (or MINI DUO, a smaller version). These beads have two stringing holes and a tapered oval dimension. They come in many solid and translucent colors and a variety of finishes. The photo here shows a combination of 2 colors, both with a Picasso finish. I can make a flat bracelet as you see here and often combine them in a rope with size 11/0 or size 15/0 seed beads in a matching or complimentary color.

The resulting rope is a wonderful compliment to many artisan focal beads as well as my silver pendants.

Another favorite is called TILA and HALF-TILA beads. These are tile-shaped beads with 2 holes running parallel.


They are great for flat work, particularly for bracelets and can be combined nicely with seed beads.


In this photo I have also added some super duos.





Other bead shapes include:


CUBES - these look like mosaic tiles when worked into a woven design.


BUGLES - long tube-shaped glass in a variety of lengths. I have used these in some of my ropes, particularly with the Russian Spiral style of beading. They require a strong beading thread, which I use, as the edges can be sharper than normal seed beads.


FRINGE OR DROP BEADS - teardrops or raindrop-shaped beads with a lateral hole at the top; when strung, the larger “drop” portion of the beads hangs below the thread.


“O” BEADS – these beads look like a flat donut, and can be inserted between other beads to add color and texture.

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