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Stringing Seed Beads - Tips on Sizes, Needles and Bead Spinners

Since they are tiny, stringing seed beads often seems to be a daunting task, but it doesn't have to be. Here's some basic seed bead stringing info to get you started:

1. Bead Sizes:
Seed beads come in sizes ranging from 5/0 to 28/0. The smaller the number, the larger the bead. 28/0 beads are really tiny and very hard to bead with! 11/0 is the most commonly used size. In an 11/0 size, you need to string about 16 or 17 beads to make an inch. Seed beads in the 6/0 size (about 4mm wide) are also called "E beads" and are often used in knit and crochet projects.

2. Beading Needles:
Beads and beading needles use a similar gauge (the smaller the number, the larger the bead or needle). A good rule of thumb to follow in selecting a needle is to buy at least one size smaller than the seed bead size. For example, if you're working with beads with holes that are equivalent to 11/0 seed beads, then use a #12 needle.

3. Options for stringing materials:

    Nymo, the most popular thread for stringing seed beads, is a colored thread that looks like dental floss.
    Another popular thread is Silamid. It comes prewaxed (for easy threading) and is stronger and less stiff than Nymo.
    You can also buy elastic nylon thread for creating quick and easy projects.
    Flexible beading wire, also called beading cable, consists of several strands of fine steel wire coated with nylon. These wires come in a variety of gauges (widths).

4. Stringing pre-strung beads:
To string the beads quickly, buy them already temporarily strung. Keep them on the string but feed your own wire/threaded needle through the holes transferring them onto your string while removing the temporary string. This way you can pick up lots of beads at one time.

5. Stringing loose beads:
To string loose seed beads, take a small, shallow bowl (sushi sauce bowls work nicely) and pour your loose beads into it. Run your threaded needle or wire repeatedly through the seed beads, and they will be picked up on your needle or wire.

6. Using a bead spinner:
To use a bead spinner (a stringing tool that consists of a spinning bowl on a spindle), place the seed beads into the bowl, insert your wire or threaded needle into bowl, and spin. The beads hop right on.

Don't let those little beads intimidate you! Stringing these tiny beads just takes a little bit of patience, and the next thing you know, you'll be achieving delightful results.



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