Fall in Love with Seed Beads at Bead Fest!

Dec 30, 2009
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My Metal Seed-Bead Romance

I know, I know … you run into beads you love all the time. But I'd like to talk about a different type of love. I’m talking about head-over-heels beady luuuurrrve. The kind of giddy euphoria that makes you spend all kinds of money you don’t have buying every available color. Once you have them, all other beads pale in comparison, and you spend all your time with your new love. That’s the way I felt when I came across my first tubes of metal seed beads.

What are metal seed beads?
Metal seed beads are just that––tiny beads made completely of metal.

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       More about metal seed beads

  • They are made with a brass base and coated with different finishes.
  • The finishes are very stable, much like that of metal findings, and the finishes certainly don’t rub off.
  • Since this type of bead is made entirely of metal, they are heavier than other beads of the same size.
  • You can readily find these seed beads in sizes 11°, 8°, and 6°.
  • These beads are very uniform and have a more rounded profile than glass seed beads. Since these beads are pressed into shape from sheet metal, they have a seam along the side. 
  • Be careful as you work with them with thin thread because if the seam is separated at all, your thread can slip into that seam and not only distort your stitch but the thread will be very prone to breakage.
  • It's best to use braided or thermally bonded beading thread with metal beads. These stronger types of thread hold up better to the beads' sharp edges.
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Spacer 10x10 pixels Want to see some beautiful work done with metal seed beads?

Look at these breathtaking projects by Shelley Nybakke: 
Simply Marvelous, Darling (top) and A Metalsmith’s Match, Version 2.

Want to create your own beautiful work with metal seed beads?
Shelley’s teaching both of those classes at Bead Fest Santa Fe in March! Registration is open and so easy online! Spend time looking at all the workshops being taught this year. Wouldn’t it be fun to go to Santa Fe just to bead? Taking in the atmosphere of that gorgeous town would be worth it.

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And after you sign up for a wonderful class or two, check back here on Beading Daily to let us know your metal bead luuuurrrve stories.


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on Dec 30, 2009 7:36 AM

A million thanks Jean.  The metal seed beads are very addicting and you can do things with them that a regular glass seed bead just won't do as well.   Hope to see everyone in Santa Fe.


on Dec 30, 2009 8:59 AM

I also want to point out that the seam in the size 11/0 beads is practically invisible.  Took me a long time of working with them  to even know there was one.  As the beads get larger, you do see the seam a little bit more.  That must be a big old size 6/0 pictured.  

on Dec 30, 2009 9:17 AM

I wish one of these amazing bead festivals would be held in the Northeast! Seems like they are all west of the Rockies. I've never been to a bead show, but have always wanted to go. Can't afford plane fare from NY.  (Just think of all the beads I could buy for what it cost to buy that plane ticket!!!)

-A loyal Beading Daily fan

on Dec 30, 2009 9:20 AM

Speaking of seed beads, I just discovered an article about "bead quilling" on an Internet web site. I'd love to see you folks do a piece on that technique. Just a suggestion.....I SO enjoy Beading Daily! Great inspiration, always.

disimmie wrote
on Dec 30, 2009 9:32 AM

AND.......they are now available in size 15!!!!!  

Pam F wrote
on Dec 30, 2009 10:24 AM

I wish I could be there especially for a class with Shelley and her breath taking projects!!!!!

But Germany is sooo far away  :-(

Is it possible to buy the metal seed beads online somewhere? This sounds so exciting so that I would love to try them.

Shelley, if you ever come to Germany for a class, I would do anything to join   :-)


on Dec 30, 2009 10:33 AM

Hey Totally! You are in luck! Bead Fest has 2 shows in the Northeast, Philly area, at the Valley Forge Convention Center. Only about a 3 hour drive from NYC. Bead Fest Wire is in April and our big Bead Fest is in August.

Check out details at www.beadfest.com!


editor Beading Daily

disimmie wrote
on Dec 30, 2009 10:52 AM

YES! Not sure if this is considered advertising and/or if that's ok but here goes: You can get all the metal seed beads at www.thebeadparlor.com which will lead you to www.shelleynybakke.com!

jalexa2964 wrote
on Dec 30, 2009 12:48 PM

The metal seed beads are very beautiful and having the larger holes made them a dream to work with but unfortunately, the finish on all the 24K-plated and sterling-plated beads I purchased from Fusion Beads did wear off within a few months.  And they're not inexpensive so I used real gold findings and semi-precious stones in the designs.  It was so disappointing.  I didn't coat them with anything because I didn't want to ruin the gems but perhaps that's the answer -- any suggestions?  Thanks!

on Dec 30, 2009 1:15 PM

Jalexa:  Are you sure it was the finish wearing off?  Could it possibly be that they just tarnished, which they will do, just like any metal bead would.  I also try to avoid wearing them if I'm going to be in a "sweaty" environment.  Of course I always try to avoid having to sweat so that isn't generally a problem.  LOL

annmarie@7 wrote
on Dec 30, 2009 2:47 PM

I have not been active on this site in over a year due to a stroke, so many things have changed here, I don't even know if there are any people  that are still here from when I was!

  I don't mean to just jump back here and make an unpleasent comment BUT I have been working with metal seed beads for at least 5 years now and I nave never seen one with a seam!!!  I have no idea where the ones you talk about were purchased, but I would certainly not want a seed bead, no matter what size with a space in it no matter how tiny it might be. Check out Rings and Things, their metal beads are gorgeous and no seams!!!

  This was always one of my fav sites, have purchased many, many PDF's here, but can I ask why now are there  so many days that all you have is an advertizement to subscribe to a mag? You are tending to repeat the same offer, same with the free earrings, what is this the 2rd time in a month?  This is still a great site with a wealth of knowledge to be found and some wonderful artists, but I think I liked the old format better.


disimmie wrote
on Dec 30, 2009 7:29 PM

AnneMarie - Could you be talking about glass METALLIC seed beads?  Or possibly the metal 2mm, 3mm, etc  ROUND beads R&T has in bags of 100?  The round beads are not the same as the metal seed beads we are talking about.  The metal seeds are sized and shaped the same as seed beads but a little more rounded.

on Dec 30, 2009 9:00 PM

Pam - I had a huge shock last year at the Philadelphia Beadfest when one of my email beading buddies showed up all the way from Sweden.  You could have knocked me over with a feather when I realized who she was.  She had kept a very good secret.  And then we had a great time together.  She didn't take any of my classes because she had already made all my projects, but took several of Marcia DeCoster's and of course loved them as anyone would!!  And by the way, I've actually sent three orders out to Germany just this week.  So I know you German gals like your beads.  

SueB@98 wrote
on Dec 31, 2009 3:46 AM

Where can I get the good metal beeds. I have the glass ones and I want to try the metal ones.


on Dec 31, 2009 6:36 AM

Hi Sue B:

Go to my website, www.shelleynybakke.com.  And there they are!!!

BeadsNWire wrote
on Jan 4, 2010 3:23 PM

Metal seed beads sound rather exciting! While I am unable to travel to Santa Fe, I am very thankful for 2x BeadFest in Philly each year!  

on Jan 5, 2010 11:44 AM

I'll be teaching the same exact projects in Philli too!! Had a great time there last year.