About Seed Beads
Seed beads, also known as rocailles, are versatile beads used in embroidery, jewelry stringing, and all kinds of bead weaving applications. The smallest seed beads can go under trade names such as Antiques or Delicas, or they can be simply designated by size, where the bigger the number the smaller the bead. For example, 11 0 seed beads are very small (2mm), but 6 0 seed beads are bigger (4mm).
Although simple bead stringing projects are always a possibility, weaving with seed beads -- which can be done with a loom or off-loom -- is getting more and more popular. Bead weaving is nothing new, it has been practiced by Native Americans for centuries, and enjoyed a surge of popularity among Victorian women.
A common weaving technique for seed beads is peyote stitch. See our videos referenced above for demonstrations of this and other common bead weaving styles. Weaving involves the use of needles, so we've included the most appropriate beading needles above as well. Seed beads can also be used in a variety of sewing, threading, or wire projects.
Fireline thread is very good for bead weaving. It is pre-waxed, doesn't fray, and has very strong tensile strength. However, Nymo thread is good for loomwork because it's very thin, which is an advantage when your project requires that the needle pass through the same bead hole many times. Dandyline from Beadalon is also a nice thread that is strong, waterproof, and does not fray.
Basically, seed beads can be used in any design, whether it's loom weaving, threading, or embroidery, whenever you want to add small points of color or intricate detail. Other ideas include a bead-encrusted picture frame, monogrammed bags, and beaded zipper pulls. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination!
Getting to Know Seed Beads
How Many Seed Beads are in a Gram?