I have put together this quick guide so you can easily work out how many beads you should expect to find in a 16” strand (the most common length).
To be precise 16 inches equal 40.64 centimetres or 406.4 millimetres, so a typical strand will contain approximately...
- 203 2mm beads
- 135 3mm beads
- 101 4mm beads
- 81 5mm beads
- 67 6mm beads
- 58 7mm beads
- 50 8mm beads
- 45 9mm beads
- 40 10mm beads
- 33 12mm beads
Just to make life even more complicated seed beads are measured totally differently. Many people believe that seed beads are measured in millimetres, but they are actually sized in units called aughts. Unfortunately the origin of the term/unit aught seems to be lost in history!
The larger larger the seed bead size (in aughts) the smaller the seed beads are. So size 6 seed beads are larger than size 15!
An easier way to remember this fact is the larger the seed bead size (in aughts) the more of them you will get per inch.
If it wasn't complicated enough in the first place to work out how many seed beads per inch, variations in country of origin, manufacturer, types of finishes and coating used on the beads can all affect the exact size of a seed bead, and therefore just exactly how many per inch.
- Seed Bead Size Diameter Beads per inch
- 6/0 3.3mm 10
- 8/0 2.5mm 13
- 9/0 2.2mm 15
- 10/0 2.0mm 16
- 11/0 1.8mm 20
- 13/0 1.5mm 27
- 14/0 1.4mm 24
- 15/0 1.3mm 25
- delica 1.8mm 20
As seed beads are so small they are generally sold by the gram (pack sizes can vary) but one other measurement you might come across is a hank.
A hank of size 11/0 seed beads would typically consists of a dozen 20” strands, but depending on the age, manufacturer and size of the seed beads this can vary a lot. If you are looking to buy hanks of seed beads you might want to check the details or confirm the weight.
e beadsE beads are the largest size of seed bead, sometimes people may refer to size 6/0 seed beads as e beads though many people consider e beads to be size 5/0.
Pony BeadsPony beads are commonly made from plastic or wood. They are larger than seed beads and smaller than crow beads.
Crow beadsCrow beads are commonly 9mm with a 5mm hole or 6mm with 3mm hole. With their large holes they are often seen used in hair braiding.
Crow beads are a somewhat different shape to seed beads with flat sides like a tyre. You might see them mislabelled as pony beads, or called roller beads, or tyre beads.
Crow beads are commonly made from glass or wood, but can be made from plastic.
Please look at my other guides for more information on crimping & finishing your project.
copyright kitschkitty @ UK Beaders 2008