Seed Bead Sizes

26 June 2012 Bead information


Japanese round seed beads come in four sizes. These are numbered from 15 (small) to 6 (large). Most commonly used is the size 11 round bead. The number does not tell you how big the bead is but is based on the old Aught system – you may sometimes see a ° after the number to denote this. To complicate the matter further a size 11 is not uniform across all manufacturers and finishes. An 11 round seed bead can be between 1.8mm to 2.2mm. A Czech size 11 tends to be generally smaller than Japanese size 11. A Delica 11 is smaller than a round 11 across its width. Any mixture of beads used together will not create a uniform look – that may be what you are after, it may be not. Unless you know what size you have purchased, it may be quite difficult to tell the difference between a 10 and 11. If you are following a pattern, try it with the beads you have and see how it comes out, experience teaches you a lot. This photo of size 11 seed beads and shows how different finishes can be slightly different sizes. If precision sizes are needed, Delica beads should be used.

An approximation of round seed bead sizes
15° 1.3 to 1.5mm
11° 1.8 to 2.2mm
8° 2.6 to 3.1mm
6° 3.3 to 4.0mm

How many seed beads per tube – based on the tri tubes used by Cranberry – as we move to round tubes in 2021, this will be updated.

These quantities are approximate – as it can vary quite a bit between various beads.

15° – 2200 beads
11°  – 2000 beads
8°  – 650 beads
6°  – 230 beads