Thursday, October 3, 2013

How many seed beads are in that tube?

I have a lot to say about seed beads as many of you know if you have asked me a question.  Where my struggle comes in is I think everyone that purchases seed beads knows certain information about them, so I have never written an in depth blog about seed beads. 

Where to start...through the next few weeks, I will touch on types, finishes, durability, shapes and coatings.  I have had to do some research to find facts about the above as well as my personal experience.  I wanted to jump right in and talk about duos, rizos and what not, but I think I will start with the basics.  I will start with the question that without fail, I get asked at EVERY show we do..."How many beads are in your tubes?"  Not how many grams, although seasoned beaders ask that, but how many beads.  My question is..."who in the world is actually counting them?"  

So, below is a rundown of what I have found in several searches (because I am NOT going to count them)...I would rather use them!

Beads are sold primarily two ways:
1.    Hanks - usually 12 loops approximately 12-14 inches per strand
2.    Tubes - varies by the size of the tube.   Esther Beadwork sells the seed          beads in 5.5" tubes (roughly 20-28 grams in each tube) and 2.5" for                delicas, 15/0's and shaped beads (roughly 9-12 grams - figure 10)

Round Seed Bead Quantity
Size        Approx # Beads                  Approx. #
                Per 10 Grams                     per Inch

15/0                       2715                       23
11/0                       1050                       17
8/0                         347                         11
6/0                         150                         9

Cylinder Beads (Delica) – 5 Gram bags

1/0                         1900                       22
11/0                       1000                       20
10/0                       545                         15
8/0                         160                         9

 Now, you can take the above information and calculate how many seed beads are in a tube no matter the size of the tube.

A word of caution...beads weigh differently.  If you have a metal finish, they will weigh more than say an opaque bead.  Obviously, if you are buying metal beads, they weigh significantly more than the glass beads.  Ask your bead store employees if you are unsure.  The above chart is an approximate, but a very good one.  If in doubt, and the project is calling for an amount of beads that are close to what you think that tube holds, err on the side of more.  I cannot tell you how many times I have not purchased enough beads for a project and then cannot find that bead or have to wait to order it....grrrrr...but on another note, I have come up with some very creative endings to compensate for the fact that I did not have enough beads!!!

Happy Beading, we will talk about bead finishes next blog.

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