Bead Size Chart & Bead Sizing Guide

Seed Bead Sizing

Seed beads are sized in aughts, which are different than millimeters. The most popular school of thought of the sizing of seed beads states that the size (6/0) refers to the number of seed beads per inch (6 beads per inch). Another sizing theory is that the size is based on the rod used to make the beads. The larger the number, the smaller the bead (20 is small, 3 is large).

Thread, Cord and Wire.

Silk Bead Cord - is used for beads with smaller holes such as freshwater pearls and beads under 5mm. You can add a designer look by using our Tri-Cord knotter, and placing knots on either side of the pearl. Wide spectrum of colors.

Nylon Bead Cord - is used as an all purpose bead cord. You can use Beeswax to coat the cord to keep it from fraying and tangling when it is repeatedly threaded through metal beads with sharp edges. Wide spectrum of colors.

Using light colors against a dark bead will lighten that bead color... Dark color cord will darken a light bead. Example: White cord with Garnet bead will add to the luminosity of the bead.

Tiger Tail - is a commonly used stringing material, and does not require a needle.

Beadalon - is our favorite stringing material. Unlike Tiger Tail which can sometimes kink, Beadalon wire remains soft and pliable, even when using the smaller beads. Beadalon is a multi-strand braided stainless steel wire with a nylon coating.

C-Thru Translucent Cord - is perfect for stringing Austrian Crystals, or any light colored bead when you don't want the cord to be visible.

Stretch Magic - is a flexible clear elastic cord. It is often used for slip-on crystal bracelets, and is a beader's favorite as it only requires a knot to finish.

Memory Wire - is a pre-coiled stainless steel wire that retains it shape. Very popular for wine charm markers and bracelets.

Rattail - is a round, satin-like cord, often used to show off one large pendant or centerpiece as it's beautiful colors beg to be seen.

Leather Cord - is always a popular stringing material as there is no finishing required. Simply add a pendant or centerpiece, tie a bow and go.

Plating (Standards and Abbreviations)

SC - Silver Color Metal

GC - Gold Color Metal

SP - Silver Plated Finish - over a base metal for a Sterling Silver appearance.

GP - Gold Plated Finish - over a base metal for a 14K Gold appearance.

SS - Sterling Silver - .925 actual silver content.

GF - Gold Filled - a layer of 12K or 14K Gold, milled to a base metal for a long lasting gold appearance.

14K - .585 actual gold content.

18K - .750 actual gold content.

Wire Size and Temper

Wire Gauges - In reference to wire gauge sizes, the larger the number, the smaller the diameter of the wire.

26g - extra fine - for very small and delicate projects
24g - fine - for pearls & most gemstones - easy to work with
22g - medium - fairly universal for glass beads, fits some pearls and gemstones
20g - medium heavy - great for earwires, clasps or larger beads
18g - heavy - often good for chainmaille or when you want a heavier look
16g - heavy - often used as a base to wrap finer wires around
14g - heavy - often used as a base to wrap finer wire around
12g - very heavy - hard to work with, good for rings and buckles

The most commonly used sizes for wire wrapping are 20 to 24g.

Wire Temper - Measures the amount of spring in the wire.

Soft - Has no spring when you bend it. Good for making wire beads.

Half-Hard - Has some spring, but is still malleable. Good for basic wirework. Hold its shape well.

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