How Much Difference Does a Bead Size Make?

Actually, quite a bit!

As many of you know, I love seed beads and working with these small gems of colour. As we get new sizes and shapes of seed beads, Marg often gives me some and says, “See what you can do with these!”

This time it was the Mini-Duo’s turn to be played and experimented with. According to the manufacturer, the MiniDuo has the same overall shape as the SuperDuo only smaller. They don’t look that much different – not enough to make a huge difference – so I thought. Think again!

Here is an example of the size comparison using existing patterns from The BeadSmith/ Matubo for beaded beads made specifically for SuperDuos. I also did the same beaded beads but sized them down to accommodate the MiniDuos. Quite a difference!

The original pattern for the smallest/bottom bead called for SuperDuos and Matubo 7/0 beads around an 8mm core bead. Using the MiniDuos, I substituted Toho 8/0 (for the Matubo 7/0) beads around a 6mm core bead. So cute!

Likewise, for medium/middle bead, I used the same combination of beads but the MiniDuos/Toho 8/0 beads went around an 8mm bead instead of a 12mm bead used with the SuperDuos/Matubo 7/0s. For the large bead, I added a Matubo 7/0 with the MiniDuos/Toho 8/0s instead of a 4mm Druk with the SuperDuos/Matubo 7/0s. Not bad, but a little large; next time I might substitute a 2mm firepolish bead instead.

Overall, the MiniDuo combination measured 2″ top to bottom as shown and would make exquisite earrings. The SuperDuo combination measured about 2 1/2″ top to bottom and would make a wonderful pendant.

Now, what about Delica beads and how much difference is there between size 11/0 (which is what most beaders use) and size 10/0? Again, quite a bit!

Here is a photo of my Caldera Christmas Tree. The original tree (on the left) is done using size 11/0 Delica beads. Beside it is the same pattern (same number of beads and rows) using size 10/0 Delica beads.

The moral of this story? Play with your beads! What can be done one size of beads can be accomplished using another size. Yes, you will need to substitute some beads with another, but you will be amazed at what you will come up with!

By the way – I’ll be teaching how to do the small beaded bead with SuperDuos as a pair of earrings in the Tuesday Taster classes on Tuesday, April 19. I’ll also be teaching the Caldera Christmas Tree on Sunday, May 29. Check out the classes on our website!

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