Beading is an interesting and exciting activity, although it is quite a laborious one. Before you start weaving a complex, intricate thematic composition, it is necessary to master the basic techniques of weaving simple elements and study the list of materials and tools that you will need for work.
The word “beads” comes from the Arabic “bursa”, which means beads with holes. Beads come in a wide variety of colours and shapes, and can be used to create unique creations that can be wonderful decorations, home décor, or a pretty souvenir for a special occasion. Or as a nice souvenir for a holiday.
In this article I will teach you how to beading, how to add beads to braids, and you will learn the best beading needle sizes and a modern beading thread size chart.
Tools and materials for Beading
Beads – small balls, cylinders, polyhedrons with through holes for threading, made of metal, plastic, glass, bone, wood. The most common beads are rounded, slightly flattened on both sides of the through hole. Also it can be triangular, cubic, hexagonal. Bead size is identified by a number. The smaller a bead, the higher its number.
|Size||Size (mm)||Permissible dimensions |
|Minimum hole |
diameter (mm) transparent
|Minimum hole |
diameter (mm) opaque
|13/0||1,7||1,6 – 1,8||0,50||0,40||291000|
|12/0||1,9||1,8 – 2,0||0,60||0,50||165000|
|10/0||2,3||2,2 – 2.4||0,80||0,70||91000|
|6/0||4,1||3,7 – 4.3||1,10||1,00||13300|
|5/0||5,1||4,3 – 4,8||1,20||1,10||12100|
|4/0||5,6||4,8 – 5,3||1,30||1,20||7400|
|3/0||5,6||5,3 – 5,8||1,40||1,30||5300|
|2/0||6,1||5,8 – 6,3||1,60||1,60||4800|
|1/0||6,6||6,3 – 6,8||2,00||2,00||3800|
Beads are balls, most often of regular shape, with a through hole. They are usually larger than bead.
Chopped, or chopped bead, are cylinders (tubes) up to 3 mm long. It can be plain or faceted. The faceted cut sparkles like crystals and looks very ornate in the product.
Glass beads are tubes of colored glass. They come in different sizes, shapes, and colors, and are longer than the cutlass.
Wire, fishing line and thread are the materials on which bead are strung. The wire is safer and allows you to do without a needle. It is a very strong and pliable material. Products made of it are easy to give the desired shape. The fishing line is also strong, but it is also very flexible. Thread, sometimes in two folds, is a traditional material. Silk, kapron, rubber, and cotton threads are used.
Containers for storage – special containers and boxes for bead. In them it is convenient not only to store beads, but also to carry them with you. And it does not get mixed up in the process.
Bead needles are flexible, thin needles about 5 cm long. The larger the needle number, the thinner it is.
Tools. Other tools you will need are scissors, a ruler, tweezers, and wire cutters for biting off thick wire.
Tips and Tricks for Beading
Work at your desk, preferably in daylight. If there is not enough light, turn on both the ceiling chandelier and the desk lamp. In this case the desk lamp should be dim matt bulb capacity of no more than 40 watts, otherwise the light will dazzle the eyes. Position yourself so that the shadow does not fall on the work surface.
Spread a soft, fluffy napkin or tablecloth on the table, preferably a solid color, so that the beads are clearly visible. The nap will prevent the beads from scattering. Sprinkle the beads on the cloth in small heaps so that they don’t mix with each other.
Beads are easier to collect on the needle, if it is poured into low cream jars or ordinary capron lids.
Try to take breaks every hour, even if you’re very enthusiastic. When you look at your needlework after a short rest, you’ll see the mistakes quicker and appreciate the merits.
Coarse beads are easier to work with, but fine beads make more delicate pieces. If you’re just trying your hand at it, use beads #8 and smaller.
To make the colored bead pattern clearly visible, use matte beads, because the glitter of brocade or rainbow beads will cause the overall pattern to be lost.
A light bead pattern on a dark background is more visible than a dark pattern on a light background.
Translucent or transparent beads will fade if placed among dark beads when threaded tightly. This is especially important if you’re making eyes for a beaded toy.
Often when working with synthetic threads, the ends of the threads become frayed. And then it is very difficult to get the frayed end of the thread through the thin eye of the needle. If this happens, dip the end of the thread in glue or varnish. Then flatten it with your fingers and leave it to dry for a few minutes. And to make it even easier on yourself, trim the dried end of the thread obliquely.
The ears of beading needles are narrow and long, and you can easily slip such an end through. Do the same with the ends of the thread if you have to work with very fine beads and do not have a suitable needle. After drying, the end of the thread becomes so hard that you can work without a needle. But it will not last long (the thread, while not choppy, will gradually become soft). The above procedure will have to be repeated periodically.