How many seed beads 

do you need for 

your project?

Every seed beads project needs different amounts of seed beads based on the difficulty and type of beading project you’ve undertaken. The number of seed beads you require does not need to be a guess though. There are several ways to determine the number of seed beads you require to get the work done without falling short or ending up with a whole lot of excess materials on your hands.

But let’s take a minute to understand the variety of seed bead sizes that are available in the market and the best ones to go for. The final results of your project can vary drastically based on the types and sizes of seed beads you choose to go with. The different types of seed beads available in the market include cylinder beads, round seed beads, bugle beads, etc. These beads are segregated according to numbers that are known as aught sizes. Aught is often called zero. So you might refer to a ten aught size as ten oh, as in zero. In writing it might be put down as 10/0. 

You can find a wide variety of seed bead sizes starting from the smallest size of 15/0 and the biggest being size 6/0. The largest seed bead is often referred to as ‘E’ bead. Sizes you might find in between the both include 11/0, 10/0 and 8/0.

You might wonder why seed beads are numbered this way when logic dictates that the biggest one should have the highest number and the smallest should have the lowest. Well, when the manufacturing of the beads first began, the average bead size was referred to as ‘null’ or ‘aught’. There is no definite proof about how these sizes came to be, but the general consensus is that the numbers were allocated according to the number of beads that could be placed next to one another in the space of one inch. Therefore, more seed beads of smaller sizes were accommodated within an inch than bigger ones. So they ended up with bigger numbers as sizes. Conversely, larger beads are given a lower number. 

Before you start your work, it is advisable to check all of the beads to make sure they are all the same size. Get all the big and small beads out of the way. Sorting through it in this way can help discrepancies from occurring in your work later on. This process of sifting through them is called culling. Regardless of the type of seed beads you’re working with, there may be slight differences in the sizes and shapes of the beads. You can put these beads to use in a different scenario or dispose of them completely, based on your needs. Making increases and decreases in your stitching can provide you with an opportunity to get these beads into your work.

The sizes can vary based on the different types of seed beads you choose. There are differences in the weight of the beads as well, which can be caused by it’s finishing. The weight differences are not very profound, but just enough for a trained eye to catch. Metal Seed beads are much heavier than their glass counterparts. This results in fewer metal beads than glass beads per gram. So you might have to keep this in mind when you go and buy seed beads and end up getting more than you think you need.    

How many seed beads in a gram?

The first table below will help you understand how many seed beads in a gram. Referring to this table will help you decide how many grams of beads you need to complete your work based on the type and size of the seed beads you have chosen. For example, if the project you’re working on needs 1200 size 11 seed beads, you will have to go for 6.5 grams. The formula for calculating this is the total number of beads divided by the beads per gram. So it ends up being 1200 size 11 seed beads/ 190 beads per gram= 6.31 grams. This table can be useful in calculating the total number of beads you need to complete your project in every row and the number of rows that you expect to be in the final stage of your project. Doing it by weight for the smallest seed beads is much easier than sitting there and trying to count them individually.

How Many Seed Beads Per Inch?

The second table below shows how many seed beads per inch or centimetre. This can be extremely helpful if your project is based on length, like using strings, as it helps you determine how many you will need to complete it. 

For example, if you’re working on a 24 inch strand, you will have to multiply 18 beads for every inch by 24, and then take the number of strands you use to multiply it with. 

How Many Seed Beads Per Square Inch?

If you’re working on tight stitches such as loomwork, Ndebele stitch, or square stitch which results in a beaded fabric, you can put the last table to use. It will help you to understand the approximate number of beads you need to complete your project based on per square inch or centimetre.

You might have to keep in mind that the measurements and the numbers provided in this table are merely estimates. There is a possibility of a few discrepancies taking place based on the type of seed beads being used and other elements. You might want to stock up on more beads than you think you need to complete your project to make sure you don’t fall short. The dye used from one batch to another can vary, so you might not get an exact colour match of the types of seed beads you have been using, at a later date.

Table of Seed Beads Measurements

Seed Beads In A Gram 

Type of Seed Beads          Per Gram 

15/0 seed beads                   290 

11/0 cylinder beads              190 

11/0 seed beads                   110 

8/0 seed beads                       38 

6/0 seed beads                       15

Seed Beads Per Inch

Type of Seed Beads    Per Inch   Per Centimetre 

15/0 seed beads              24                   9     

11/0 cylinder beads          20                   7          

11/0 seed beads               18                   7          

8/0 seed beads                 13                   5        

6/0 seed beads                 10                                        

Seed Beads Per Square Inch

Type of                 Per Square         Per Square

Seed Beads             Inch                 Centimetre 

15/0 seed beads        330                       54 

11/0 cylinder beads    285                       42 

11/0 seed beads         216                       35 

8/0 seed beads           108                       20 

6/0 seed beads             70                       12

So that you don’t have to keep this page open we’ve put all the above information in an easy to print download. Click here and we’ll send you the pdf.