Beading Thread and Needles for Beading Seed Beads If you're a novice beader with a yen to learn how to begin beading seed beads, you first need a little basic info on the beads themselves, the beading thread to use, and the necessary needles. For bead storage solutions click here. If you're just getting started, you probably don't want to invest right away in the beautiful and expensive seed beads out there. Do stick with glass seed beads if possible unless you're crafting for a child, in which case, plastic is fine. To avoid the intimidation many beginners feel from all the choices, just make a visit to your favorite website or craft store and pick up a value pack of multi-color seed beads (Cousins has a nice one), or if you've got a particular color scheme in mind, check out Mill Hill's solid color value packs or Blue Moon's mini-bead mix. You can also find more seed bead patterns here. For future reference, seed beads come in several different sizes, including 15, 13, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8, and 5. Keep in mind when shopping that the higher the number the smaller the bead. Sizes 10 or 11 are the sizes used in most projects. Remember the long strings of multi-color love beads from the 1960s? Remember how easily they broke and how those little tiny seed beads went everywhere? Most of those necklaces were strung on regular old white sewing thread. Don't do that. Sewing thread just isn't strong enough to hold up to the strain. Nylon is the preferred type of beading thread to use when beading seed beads. The most commonly used nylon beading thread is called Nymo. It is available everywhere in lots of colors and thicknesses. Other brands of thread that you might try are Silamide, Conso, or Synbond. More beading ideas can be found here. Always be sure to pick a thread that will fit the bead size you are working with. Thread starts with a size 00, very fine, up to size F. Here are the basic guidelines for matching thread size to bead size: Thread size 00 and size 0 both work with Bead size 15 to 12. Thread size B works with Bead size 11 to 10. Thread size D works with Bead size 10 to 5. Thread size F works with Bead size 8 to 5. Once you've matched the size of your seed beads to your choice of beading thread, you need to pick the right needle. Beading needles look a lot like regular sewing needles except that they are very long, thin, and flexible. The eye of these needles is kept as close as possible to the same width as the rest of the needle. The size of the needle should be matched to the size of bead it is going to be used with. Needles are sized similarly to beads, the higher the number the thinner the needle, so, as a general rule, if you're beading with a size 11 bead, a size 11 needle should be used, but you may have to experiment with different sizes depending on the bead manufacturer because a thinner size 12 needle might work better. The threaded needle has to fit through the hole in the seed bead.
Getting started beading seed beads doesn't have to be difficult once you figure out what type of supplies you need and discover the ratio of bead size to beading thread size to needle size, assuming, of course, that you've got really great eyesight to begin with, so you can see those itty bitty beads!