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Beads Per Inch

One of the biggest questions we as designers get is "how many beads does it take to make a..."? 32 inch necklace? 7 inch bracelet? Sometimes people are specific about the sizes and/or shapes of the beads they are using; other times, they just want a general guideline. To help alleviate some of the headache-inducing math that can come with beading, we have put together this handy dandy little measuring guide of the number of beads per inch. (Please remember all measurements are approximate and should be a good guideline or starting point for your designs.)

  • 2mm beads: 12.5 per inch
  • 3mm beads: 8 per inch
  • 4mm beads: 6.25 per inch
  • 6mm beads: 4 per inch
  • 8mm beads: 3 per inch
  • 10mm beads: 2.5 per inch
  • 12mm beads: 2 per inch
  • 14mm beads: 1.75 per inch
  • 16mm beads: 1.5 per inch
  • 18mm beads: 1.25 per inch
  • 24mm beads: 1 per inch

Now that you have a good size guide in mind, are you ready to see some examples and do some math to figure out how this applies to your jewelry designs? Here we go!

Let's start with an easy example of how this works. You want to make a 7-and-1/2 inch bracelet using 4mm round beads. Subtract about an inch from the overall length of your design to accommodate for your toggle as well as for your beading wire, crimps, etc. So, you will need 6-and-1/2 inches worth of beads. If you multiply 6.5 (the length) times 6.25 (the number of beads needed per inch when using a 4mm bead), you come up with 40.625, which you can probably just round down to 40. Therefore, you will need 40 size 4mm beads to complete a beaded bracelet that fits a 7-and-1/2 inch wrist.

Making a long necklace that doesn't require a clasp? Let's say you are making it with size 8/0 seed beads. (By the way - On every single one of our seed bead pages, we put a breakdown of how many seed beads are in a package, how many are beads are in an inch, etc. to make it easy for you.) Maybe you want to make this necklace 36 inches. You don't need a clasp, so you don't have to subtract any length for your ending. So you can just multiply 36 times 12.5 (because size 8/0 seed beads have a length of about 2mm and 1 inch of 2mm beads contains about 12.5 beads) to get a total of 450 beads. This means you would need more than one 10 gram package of seed beads to finish this necklace because there are about 390 seed beads in a pack.

If you are using 2 different sizes, you will just have to divide your numbers in half. So, let's say I want to make a 18 inch necklace that alternates between 12mm and 6mm beads. Again, I would take about an inch away to account for the finishing of the piece (more if I were using a large toggle), so I actually need 17 inches worth of beads. So that is 8-and-1/2 inches of each size. I would multiply 2 (for the number of 12mm beads per inch) by 8.5 to get 17 beads. Then I would multiply 4 (for the number of 6mm beads per inch) by 8.5 to get 34. To make an 18 inch necklace using these 2 sizes, I need (17) 12mm beads and (34) 6mm beads.

Hopefully, this helps solve some of the confusion and will become your favorite go-to guide for figuring out that age old question about how many beads you need for a project. Just remember to keep your calculator handy!
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