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Beading: What Beads to Use

Let me guess: you love jewelry and would love nothing more than to make your own necklaces, bracelets, and earrings. Perhaps you’re looking for a new ring to match with your outfit. Maybe you’ve even wandered into a bead store only to find yourself completely overwhelmed by the rows and rows of beads, clasps, needles, and glue.

If this sounds like you, pay attention! Our beading supply guide will cover everything from beading materials to glue to beading clasps.

Up first, beading materials!

So, What Kind of Beads Should I Use?

Well, it depends. There are dozens of styles to choose from and you’ll most likely know when you find a bead that sparks your interest. That said, beginners might want to consider larger beads for easier beading. As an alternative, more experienced or daring “beaders” might want to consider smaller beads. For example:

Seed Beads

Seed beads look like—you guessed it—small seeds. They come in a variety of colors and textures. Some seed beads have larger holes than others, so pay attention to differences between individual beads.


Bone beads are natural and come in a variety of shapes. They’re perfect for creating an “earthy” look. In addition, they’re lightweight so if you’re looking for a light and natural necklace bone beads are the way to go.


Plastic beads are cheap and typically come in bright colors. They’re not exactly fancy—not something you’d wear with an evening gown—but they are great for practice. Children usually enjoy working with plastic beads.


Shell beads can come in a variety of shapes. Personally, I like small whole-shell beads. A hole is drilled into a small shell in order to create an interesting, shell bead.

Semi-Precious Gemstones

Gemstone beads are beautiful and glossy looking. They come in a variety of shapes and colors. They’re more expensive but great if you want a nicer look than, say, plastic beads.


I love bugle beads. They’re the long thin beads. You can use just a few of the long bugle beads to create an elegant look.


Another natural and lightweight bead. They come in all kinds of shapes and colors and are great paired with bone beads to create a natural look.


Artisan beads are some of the most beautiful beads available. Why? They’re handmade one at a time by artisans to create an individually beautiful bead. Naturally, they’re more expensive, but you can’t beat the quality and look of an artisan bead.

These are, of course, just a few of the options out there. Beads come in a variety of shapes, colors, and sizes, so have a look around and try to coordinate colors and size of your beads.

Hope you enjoyed this introduction to beads. Stay tuned for our article on beading supplies, which will cover everything from clasps to needles!

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