A Guide to Different Styles of Beads Part I

New to beading?


It can get pretty overwhelming when you find plenty of beading terms once you’ve started beading as each type of bead has its own name and characteristics.


In this article, we came up with a guide to the most common bead styles.


Seed beads. Seed bead is the term used to describe tiny glass beads. The name comes from the small size which is similar to round plant seeds. Mostly made of glass, seed beads also come in plastic/acrylic ones with different colors and finishes.


Cut beads. A variation of round seed beads, this type of bead comes in round shapes that has one or more cuts or flat sides. The cuts on the side of the bead look like facets on a gemstone which add a bit of glitter and texture to your finished product. Beads with 3 cuts are called 3-cut beads while single cut ones are Charlotte beads. If you want to bring in a hint of glint to your beadwork, 3-cut beads work best. Plenty of vintage accessories like purses are embellished with cut beads.


Bugle beads. These beads resemble tiny tubes of glass. They are also similar to cylinder beads but they are a bit stretched out. Adding a little drama and flare to your jewelry designs, bugle beads are known for using in fringe-style beadwork or weaved into tubular or flat beadwork. They often come in different lengths. Bugle beads may not only be cylinders or beads that have cut on the sides but also come in a twisted form.


Cylinder Beads. This is a variety of seed beads which come in equal shapes with straight sides and large holes. This is the type of bead that you work with to get a smooth and even beadwork. Cylinder beads have a range of colors and with different tones together with the precise shape, they are the best choice when creating flat and detailed styles like photorealism designs.


Cube beads. You may not be surprised to know that cube beads are shaped like cubes with square sides all around. But not all of them are the same. The sizes of the holes and shapes of the beads vary depending on the brand. Some beads have more rounded corners while others have a more rectangular shape. The difference is the result of the beads after production.


Triangle Beads. Shaped like triangles on the outside, triangle beads reflect light differently than a round bead. They bring out a beautiful texture and are more visually interesting. They also add extra dimension and detail to your beading projects.


There are plenty of unique styles of beads to work with and now that you’re familiar with a few of them, it’s time to start looking for beading supplies! You will even gain a much better idea of what type of bead to incorporate to your future projects with part 2 of this list in the next article.

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