Beads are the eye candy of jewelry. You may find yourself spending countless hours drooling over the endless selections.

It can easily become overwhelming.

But these little gems of temptations are the very essence to creating any piece of jewelry.

As I said the choices are endless. 

There is no way we could cover every single option available to you here and besides that will be half the fun...discovering what you like and what you want to work with.

And I won't be telling you which to buy, which to use and what to stay clear of.

No, the purpose here is merely to introduce you to some basic information for you to be watching for as you either begin or continue shopping for this yummy eye candy called B-E-A-D-S.

As you become proficient in making jewelry you will be able to digest all the variety more easily. But for a beginner overwhelm is almost inevitable, focus on not trying to consume it all at once.

Little chunks of information are easier to digest.

From the different colors, to varied sizes and material composites it's enough to overwhelm anyone in the field, beginner or expert.

So don't feel alone in this...just step back and breath if you need to...then continue to move forward.

For now...let's break this down into smaller segments that make it easier to digest. You can always come back to explore this page more.

Ready to take some notes and get busy?

Then let's hit this vast topic...

But keep in mind this will be just the tip of the iceberg, so go deliberate and go with intention...

You will get through it and I am here to help.



  • round
  • oval
  • square
  • diagonal
  • cone
  • tear drop


  • animals
  • leafs
  • flowers
  • insects
  • mermaids
  • fish

Body Parts

  • face
  • hands
  • feet
  • lips
  • baby feet
  • bone


  • Religion
  • Causes
  • Themes
  • Professions
  • Hobbies
  • Military


As stated above, there is an assortment of different materials and composites you will find.

A few examples of the different materials are...

  • glass
  • stone
  • wood
  • shell
  • resin
  • bone
  • plastic
  • crystal
  • metal
  • pearl
  • clay

You get the idea...lots of variety.

In addition to shapes and materials there is also a choice of different sizes as well. Let's look more at how different sizes effects your patterns and project designs.


Beads are measured in millimeters [mm] starting as small as 1mm and up.

If a shape is not equal in length and thickness then the size will be indicated. [ex: an oval shape may have a measurement of 6mm thick x 10mm long] 

You will see by this picture a comparison of the differences in sizes.

As you shop the selections, sizing should be marked either on the packaging or within the descriptions depending whether you are shopping on-line or off-line.

Be sure to watch for this information as you consider your purchase.

You may have already noticed all of these variances if you have done any kind of bauble shopping, gazing...or drooling ;-).

Again if it becomes overwhelming just take your time and remember to breath, it can be a lot to take in.

At times, I tend to find that I do better with a catalog in hand vs. shopping in person, I can at least close the catalog when I'm done and going to bead shows...well they can be very WOW'ing.

What Size Do I Need and How Many Will it Take?

Since the sizing varies you will need to know how many supplies you will need in order to have enough for your design.

How will you do that?

Determining the size you need is a personal preference.

What kind of designs or styles of jewelry do you like?

Do you like big chunky jewelry? Then your selection of supplies will be larger.

Do you like the more petite styles? Then your selection of supplies will be smaller.

These considerations are discussed more in 'beading designs'. It will help you to have a better idea of where to begin your thought process.

As for how many supplies you will need...

Here is a handy chart to give you an idea, based on the size of your selection, how many supplies you may approximately need as you plan jewelry projects.

Beads Per Inch Chart

These are just approximates but it will give you a starting point as you become more familiar with the process of how to make jewelry.

By now you should have a better understanding of some of the variances in shopping for these pretty eye candies in relation to sizes and the materials they are made of.

But before we leave this particular topic let me direct you to a topic within this topic and that is...

Seed Beads

What are they and why are they different?

Seed beads are defined as a 'very small bead' but they do big things and are used for a large variety of things. 

I like thinking of these as a utility type bead, but they are really so much more. Let's look at these as a sub-category topic.

These treats are another fun way to work with jewelry making. It may take a little extra patience depending as to what you are creating.

I have a much different perspective about these specific and delicate goodies from when I first started. None the less, they are fun and it's especially fun to run your hand through a pile of them.

I am looking forward to working more of these little delights and building more on this topic in the future.

For now, if this is a curiosity for you then head on over to find more information on these and learn 'what are seed beads'

Once you have briefed yourself, then the final little bit I wanted to cover here was to clue you in to paying attention to...

Hole Sizes

This may seem like a silly subject but it's very important to make note of this.  The holes are man-made and therefore the size of the holes will vary.

The hole size plays a role when deciding you findings. It plays a large part in the designing of your piece of jewelry.

If a hole is large then you will need to plan accordingly when stringing as to how it will stay on your stringing material.  

Either a another smaller bead or a bead cap can give you control as to how the design works helping to keep it all from shifting your design.

Is the hole too small for the stringing cord to go through or is the hole too large that it will fall over what is sitting next to it?

All of this has to be taken into consideration.

We'll look closer at the paying attention to the size of the center holes as you begin learning how to make jewelry.

Bead Suppliers

To wrap this up you may be wondering where to find the best suppliers for these and all the supplies you will be considering through your process.

My best offer is to do some exploring for yourself. But to get you started here is a resource page I have compiled of suppliers I have used over the years and either like what I see or my experience directly with them. 

This might be a good place for you to start until you get comfortable with your footing. As you discover the suppliers you like for yourself please be sure to come back and share them with us.

We are in this together so thanks in advance for your contribution.

That's a good start and should not to much to overwhelm you. There is plenty of opportunity for that to learn more. We hope you found this general overview helpful as you continue to wade into the sea of selection.

From here, head back to the tutorial you were working through in the basics process;

or you can move on to some of the other resource pages available for you to visit.

If you should have any questions please be sure to visit the FAQ's page and if you don't see your question there then feel free to contact us with your question so we can add it to the page.

See you there.

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