Make a Graduated Bead Strand for Design Inspiration

comments (2) October 7th, 2008     

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susanstars Susan Beal, contributor
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The beads increase 2mm in size from one another, from 8 to 24 mm.
This simple graduated bead strand includes beads from 8 to 24 mm strung on a piece of flexible beading wire, with pieces of tape on each end to keep them secure.
The beads increase 2mm in size from one another, from 8 to 24 mm.

The beads increase 2mm in size from one another, from 8 to 24 mm.

Photo: Susan Beal

I find it really handy to use a bead size chart for designing, but sometimes it's easier to see something right in front of you in 3D than on a page or online. So I made my own bead size strand and keep it handy for planning my necklaces, earrings, bracelets and beyond. I found these faceted rounds at Toho Shoji in New York, but you can use any beads you already have to whip one up.

First, using a bead size chart online or in a book (there is one on page 10 of Bead Simple, for example) for reference, go through your beads to choose one of each size you commonly use, smallest to biggest. For my collection, I started with 8mm as my smallest bead and included one in each size, increasing by 2mm each time until I reached 24mm, the largest size I use often.

Once you have your samples gathered, cut a long strand of flexible beading wire (I like to use SoftFlex) and add a doubled piece of tape about an inch from one end. String your beads on in size order and then add a second doubled piece of tape as a stopper on the other end. You can easily take beads off the strand if you want to see one individually, and restringing them is a breeze -- just cut another piece of tape!

Now you can bring the strand along for shopping, hold a certain bead size up to see how it compares with one you've got your heart set on, keep a visual tally of which sizes you're low on for reordering supplies, or use it to help choose new materials to repair damaged vintage or found jewelry.

posted in: beads, beading, design, tools, graduated bead strand

Comments (2)

susanstars writes: thank you! I love bringing it along to the bead store for instant comparisons when I'm shopping. I can never exactly remember what the 12mm vs. 14mm looks like, and it's so much easier when they're right next to each other :)
Posted: 6:14 pm on October 9th
trusk4u writes: Well, I like this idea! You've taken all the guesswork out of what size beads to buy!
Posted: 1:42 pm on October 9th
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