Don’t know your bugles from your seeds, or your delicas from your twins? Have no fear, help is here!
This family of beads is my absolute favourite to work with (well maybe equal first with Swarovski crystals! Another blog coming soon…) I love the fine detail and patterns produced. It is often worked with needle and thread, maybe that’s why I like it, as sewing is another passion of mine.


These are little rounded beads, like a plump donut! They are sometimes called rocailles, just to confuse you! There is no difference at all, it’s just another name for any tiny beads. They come in several sizes, the largest being 6/0 and the smallest 15/0 – yes, that’s right, you’d think the 15/0 would be the largest, however the first number refers to how many beads there are per inch when they are laid side by side with holes facing upwards. I love facts like that, and it now makes sense! However, be aware that there will not be 15 beads (when using 15/0) to the inch when threaded as the beads are not round.
So, the sizes available in seed beads are-

6/0 which are sometimes called E beads, 8/0, 10/0, 11/0 and 15/0. Any beads in this family larger that 6/0 are known as pony beads.

Here at JillyBeads we stock 6/0, 8/0 and 11/0. We feel these are the most useful sizes. (15/0 are so tiny that even those with good eyesight are bound to struggle!) They are made in endless colours and finishes – clear colours, clear colours with a silver or gold or coloured lining, opaque, lustres, milky, metallics etc etc.

A tiny selection of available finishes

Seed beads are great for working on a loom and in all sorts of patterns such as peyote, brick and right angle weave. This gorgeous necklace is an 11/0 peyote spiral rope with brick stitch earrings.

11/0 Earrings and necklace set

They also make great little spacer beads to separate crystals and feature beads.


These are fab little beads which are like a tiny cylinders with flat ends. They interlock perfectly and so are great for use with all the patterns. They are available in several sizes, and we favour 10/0 which are the perfect size to work with. Our mixes are beautiful, all the hard work of choosing what goes together has been done for you, and it’s easy to pick out individual colours for your patterns.

This great brick stitch necklace kit showcases these lovely beads










Or how how about these peyote tube earrings? Also available as a kit.



Peyote tube earrings


Bugles are really glitzy and glamorous!
They are made from very thin canes of glass which are chopped up into uniform lengths, usually 3, 6, 12 or 30mm. They can be opaque, colour lined and lustred. By their very nature they are fragile and care needs to be taken that threads are not cut by any sharp edges, so a good tip is to check the ends aren’t damaged. As well as jewellery,

Right angle weave necklace

bugles make gorgeous decorations and fringing for anything from interior decor and clothing.

These stars combine bugles with 11/0 seed beads


As the name suggests these little oval beads have two holes which means they can be woven into all sorts of patterns. Again they are available in amazing colours and finishes and make great intricate looking bracelets. Here is a three cabochon necklace which uses twin holed beads to great effect!

Twin bead cabachons

I do hope I’ve helped to demystify seed beads for you and have inspired you to try this intricate specialty. It’s addictive, you have been warned!