New Native Nation Size Guide

Stuck in someone else's frames? break free!

Spudmama’s Opinionated Guide to Seed Bead /Needle/ Thread Sizes

Bead tips
I have known beadworkers who size–sorted bulk beads by hand. For those who would rather have some time to spend with the family, beads in hanks seem to be more uniformly sized than bulk loose beads and delicas look the most consistent. Otherwise, just enjoy the added texture and the authentic look of irregular beads.

Ham-fisted people, er , excuse me, persons with more generously-sized hands and fingers may find size 9/0, 10/0 and 11/0 seed beads easier to work with.

Needle tips
Beading needles do not bulge around the eye, as other needles do, making it easier to fit one through the holes in your beads. However their long length combined with their slenderness makes them easy to bend and break. Be prepared to have several on hand.

A shorter needle than the regular beading needle, a sharp doesn’t bend or break as easily. Having been the owner and sometime user of many shortened, blunt-ended, squiggley-shaped beading needles, I can tell you this is a real plus. They now make sharps in size 10/0 and size 12/0.

Thread tips
If you are passing through seed beads more than three times use 00 nymo or c-lon AA . Size "D" nymo can be used for the warp in loomwork but be warned that it can stretch and put the finished piece out of true.

Waxed thread is less likely to fray, rot, break or kink up and slides more easily through beads . You can buy beading thread pre-waxed, or you can buy beeswax to wax your own You can also thriftily use candle stubs for waxing thread. Always wax cotton threads, carpet or button thread, and quilting thread.

Holding your needle eye in front of a light-colored background makes it easier to thread the needle. So does looking at it through a hands-free magnifying glass. If you are over 40, do both.

Seed Bead/Needle/Thread Size Chart
Seed Bead Size Needle Size Thread Size by TypeExtra Equipment Needed
10/0 or 11/0 Beading needle size 10
Sharps size 10/0
Size B or D nymo
C-Lon. Size D
Button and Carpet thread
wax
11/0 or 12/0 Beading needle size 11
Sharps needle size 12/0
Size A or B nymo
C-Lon. Size D or AA
Quilting thread
wax
12/0 or 13/0 Beading needle 12 Size A or B nymo
C-Lon. Size AA
 
13/0 to 15/0 Beading needle 13 Size A or O nymo
C-Lon. Size AA
Quilting thread
wax
reading glasses
 
15/0 –17/0 Beading needle 15 Size O or OO nymo
C-Lon. Size AA
magnifying glass
aspirin for eyestrain
 
18/0-24/0
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