New Feature on Beading Daily: Question of the Week

Jul 1, 2011

Welcome to a new feature on Beading Daily: the Question of the Week! I've assembled a panel of some very talented and well-known bead artists, and every week they'll be answering a question about beads, beadwork or anything related to jewelry making!

This week's inaugural Question of the Week was:

What Do You Love About Seed Beads?

Judging from the answers, it seems that there's a lot to love! I saw lots of exclamation points in the answers - it seems that our panel gets pretty excited about those tiny little pieces of glass that we all know and love. Read on to read answers from the first eight panelists for this week! (You can find out more about each panelist by clicking on their picture.)

Michelle Mach: I love using seed beads to stretch my stringing budget. Seed beads make terrific spacers between more expensive beads such as crystals and pearls. A $2-3 tube of seed beads can last months or years when you're only using 20-40 seed beads per project!

Carol Dean Sharpe: What I love about seed beads is the same thing I have loved about yarns, embroidery floss, threads, and fabric my entire life: COLOR! Color in forms that I can manage and manipulate. Take those small bits of color and combine them in the grids created by peyote and suddenly even I - who can't draw a straight line much less a circle to save my life - can create a wonderful graphic. A miracle happens and the whole becomes so much greater than the sum of its beautiful, colorful, tiny parts. 

Betcey Ventrella: Oooh, seed beads! I love the nearly infinite color range - every shade imaginable in every finish - lustrous, matte, iridescent, pearly, opaque. This array of colors and finishes give us the ability to actually "paint" with beads, creating gradations of color and textures. I think my favorites are Charlottes and cuts - yum. That one wee cut - slicing off the tiniest sliver of glass - creates the most delicious glimmer. That single flat surface catches the light to sparkle in a subtle *wink* with the slightest movement. Sublime.

Margie Deeb: Working with seed beads is like making a mosaic: I use many tiny pieces of light and color to create beauty.

Jean Campbell: I love that you can take these tiny elements and use them to build something structural, durable, and fluid. They are like mini building blocks that can not only make "buildings" (jewelry), but also "paintings" (patterns).

Kerrie Slade: Ummmm everything?  I mean, what's not to like about seed beads? But if I had to pick one thing, it would be their versatility. I can use them to whip up a simple pair of netted earrings to match an outfit if I'm going out that evening (they come in just about any colour you can imagine and then some) or I can spend hours working row upon row of something like increasing brick stitch until I have a substantial textural piece that most non-beaders don't even recognize as being handmade. They may look humble but seed beads have huge potential!

Nancy Dale: What I like the best about seed beads is their versatility. They are the super heroes of the bead world. They can pair with ANY other beads in your stash and can be used in a staggering amount of ways. From stringing to structured sculpture, to a beaded fabric, they run the gamut, and come in every color you could ever imagine.  You can paint great swaths of color with them, or add the tiniest details with them, and they form the basis for all of my work. All hail the seed bead!

Shelley Nybakke: The fact that I can take one tiny seed bead at a time, a lot of patience and a relentless nature and turn it into something unique. And then I can take a different color of seed bead or a different size and shape and make the same project but end up with an entirely different piece of "unique". Working with seed beads never gets boring, and neither does buying seed beads!

You can keep the conversation going by adding a comment: What do YOU love about seed beads?

Join us each week for a new question!

Bead Happy,


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ali6202 wrote
on Jul 2, 2011 6:27 AM

I love this question of the week! So many wonderful ideas from such a dedicated group of people! I use seed beads to add a tiny bit of sparkle between gemstones to make jewelry for the office. Just enough to add an exquisite touch without being overpowering. I am always expanding, learning and growing. There is so much to absorb! The possibilities are limitless.

KatieN@4 wrote
on Jul 2, 2011 11:04 AM

I love the infinite design possibilities that you can get from one "pile" of seed beads. Just stopping and thinking about all of the designers who work with seed beads and how different their work looks is amazing. Then, on top of that, changing colors within a design can give a piece a whole new look-and that's SO easy to do with seed beads!

Laulo wrote
on Jul 2, 2011 12:41 PM

As I said to my friend Kerrie, my answer will be a little from everything already said; I love seed beads for their shape, their colors and for all the possibilities of creation they offers. I'm completely addicted to them.

priesen wrote
on Jul 2, 2011 4:01 PM

Seed beads are so unassuming and nondescript....until they are in the hands of a master (such as the ladies on the panel!) and then the magic happens!  They morph into enchanting displays of color and form...YUM!

on Jul 2, 2011 5:59 PM

This is a great weekly post idea. Now for the seed beads oohhh and aaahhh what's not to like about seed beads. From the old French cuts to the new hex and all the rounds in between. Making art with tiny pieces of glass has been my passion for most of my life.


on Jul 3, 2011 6:11 AM

I love their colors, size and regularity. I love their versatility too. By far my favorite seed beads are cylinder beads. They can wedge into each other to give stability to a weave, and their sparkle is more selective than that of rocailles but much more general than that of single facet charlottes.

Vstar3 wrote
on Jul 4, 2011 10:14 AM

I love seed beads because they are a tiny speck of light. My favorites are transparent and translucent colors, they transfer light and color amongst themselves. You can change how they look with colored thread and with what you put next to them. I like Charlottes and 3-cuts, cause they sparkle even more. Wish I had 15ºs that lit up!  Seed Beads make me happy!

LizT@19 wrote
on Jul 4, 2011 11:20 AM

OMG - those tiny little bits of glass with great color and a hole in the middle.  They just suck right into your heart and stay there!  What isn't there to love about them.  

Chibabies6 wrote
on Jul 5, 2011 5:30 AM

Like others.. I just love the vast color and finish selections and the versatility of seed  beads.  You can create something quick and simple and complex and they can be combined with so many other elements to create something beautifully unique.

pbeadsnyc wrote
on Jul 6, 2011 6:54 PM

They used to just get stuck in my shoes now they are stuck in my brain with endless applications, sizes, coatings and combos!

GunhildF2 wrote
on Jul 7, 2011 11:37 PM

Seed beads are these wonderful little things out of glass! I love to play with them in my hands. I love their colors, their limitless use to pimp up everything, the variety to create a structural piece or to create colorful effects. I love the creativity they cause in me working with them.I love the variety in sizes and forms, enabeling me to find exactly the right ones for the purpose I need them for. I love to mix beads with different  handcraft techniques I am working on.

skreynolds1 wrote
on Jul 14, 2011 3:23 PM

one more bead, one more bead, one more bead......