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Topics: Seed Beads, Manufacturing

Q.
How are seed beads made?
- Jeff, ME
A.
Seed beads are made by cutting pieces from long, hollow glass tubes called canes that are cut into small equal lengths. The length of the cut piece and how it's treated determines what kind of bead it becomes. Seed beads are very short pieces of cane that are heated until they form smooth, donut shapes. They come in sizes 5 through 20 and are made in Italy, the Czech Republic, France, Japan, China and India. The United States has never mass-produced this bead.

Delica® beads are perfectly cylindrical Japanese beads with thin walls and large holes, and they can be smooth or six-sided.

Bugle beads are longer lengths of the same cane used to make seed beads. Twisted bugle beads have 5 or 6 sides and are cut from canes that are twisted while they are hot. The Japanese size their bugle beads by length in millimeters. The most common lengths today range from 2mm to 30mm.

Materials Resources

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