What are the Different Types of Craft Beads?

Nychole Price

Craft beads are used to make different types of jewelry, including necklaces, bracelets, rings and earrings. They are available at most craft stores and specialty shops, as well as online. There are a huge variety of types of beads, which can be made from nearly any material, from glass to metal to ceramic. Just a few of the different types of beads include acrylic, fire polished, glass luster, glass pressed, Indian glass, Japanese square and rocailles.

Beaded bracelets.
Beaded bracelets.

Acrylic beads are one of the most popular and least expensive of the craft beads. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, with a majority of them being between between 0.4 to 0.8 inches (1 to 2 cm). Acrylic beads come in a variety of colors, to include amethyst, Asian spice, bronze, fuchsia, jade, jet black and Montana blue.

Seed beads are small glass beads used for weaving and jewelry-making.
Seed beads are small glass beads used for weaving and jewelry-making.

Fire polished beads are glass craft beads made in the Czech republic. The beads are polished by heating them over open flame until they began to melt, giving them a bright, smooth, shine. They are 0.15 inches (4 mm) in size and come in a wide assortment of colors. The most popular colors include shades of blue, gold, earth tones, green, pink, purple and red.

Glass luster beads come in a mixture of square, round and oval beads. They are given their name due to their mineral luster finish, which catches the rays of the sun, giving it a bright sheen. This variety of craft beads is made in India. They come in pink, purple and green and patterned turquoise shades.

Glass pressed beads are the oldest variety of craft beads. They are made by pouring melted glass into molds of various shapes and sizes, giving them a marbled effect when the glass hardens. Glass pressed beads vary in size from 0.2 to 0.8 inches (0.5 to 2 cm) and come in shades of blue, black, white, green, purple, pink, topaz and and earth tones.

Indian glass craft beads are sold in a variety of shapes, including round, tubular, ribbed and square beads, that range in size from 0.4 to 0.8 inches (1 to 3 cm). Indian glass beads are available in various finishes including Venetian, luster, silver-lined and matte. The most popular colors are blue, olive, tanzanite, crystal and black.

Japanese square beads are exactly what the name states. They are square, or cubed, beads made in Japan. They are 0.15 inches (4 mm) in size and are sold in shades of black, silver, blue, green, lilac and red.

Rocailles, also known as seed beads, have a wide variety of uses, including embroidery. They are 2 to 3 mm in size and available in a variety of finishes, including opaque and translucent. Colors include black, iris, gold, silver, blue, white, green, purple, pink and rainbow.

Glass craft beads add an elegance to clothing and crafts.
Glass craft beads add an elegance to clothing and crafts.

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Discussion Comments


Wow - the author forgot about beads made from gems and stone, pearl, wood, recycled glass, paper and other items, sea shells, fibers, silver, gold, base metal including brass, tin and copper. Today's crafting beads can be most anything small and interesting, not just those made of glass or acrylic.

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