Beading Terminology

Bead Master
A

aught

B

barrel clasp
bead
bead sizes
bead tip
brick-laying
bugle bead

C

clasp
clay, polymer

D

double-stick tape

E

earring hook
earwire
eye clasp

F

findings
fringe

G

glue
graph paper

H

hank
hook and eye

J

jeweler’s glue
jump-ring clasp

K

Krazy-glue

N

needle
needle threader

P

polymer clay

S

seed bead
shepherd’s hook
spring-ring clasp
strand
Super-glue

T

tape, double-stick
thread
threader

Unless specifically mentioned otherwise, all definitions sources are: original Guide to Beadwork (Sep 2000)

Gloss

 aught – (awt)

This is a term used to designate bead sizes. It is preceded by a number ranging from 8 to 25. The symbol for aught is the degree sign [o].The larger the number, the smaller the bead size. The term 25o (twenty-five aught) would indicate the smallest size of bead available.Seed beads are also commonly measured in millimeters and sometimes even inch fractions.

Gloss

 barrel clasp

A barrel clasp consists of two halves which screw together forming a barrel shape. Each half is usually attached to a bead tip.
barrel clasp
BARREL CLASP
Gloss

 bead

A bead can be any object with a hole drilled through it. There are many different sizes and shapes of beads and they are made from many different materials. Small drilled semi-precious stones are often used as beads by beaded jewelry artists See specific listings in the glossary index for more in-depth descriptions of different kinds of beads.
Gloss

 bead sizes

Beads come in a variety of sizes ranging from 8o to 25o ( o is pronounced “aught”). The larger the number, the smaller the bead size. Bugle beads are cylindrical in shape and range from 3/8 of an inch long to 2 inches.Seed beads are also commonly measured in millimeters and sometimes even inch fractions.
Gloss

 bead tip

Using bead tips is accepted as a professional method of starting and finishing a bracelet, necklace or anklet. It gives added strength to the main piece and puts less stress on the clasp. After the bead tip has been attached, the clasp is then attached to the hook on the bead tip and the hook is bent shut.
single bead tip
SINGLE
BEAD TIP
double bead tip
DOUBLE BEAD TIP
Gloss

 brick-laying

Brick-laying is a style of beading in which the rows of beads are staggered just like bricks, hence the term. It is the main technique used in the Brick stitch.
Gloss

 bugle bead

Bugle beads have a cylindrical or tube-like shape. They are one of the most common types of bead. They range in length from 3/8 of an inch to 2 inches. They are used primarily in brick-laying stitches and fringes. They come in many different colors and are made from various materials, the most common being glass and metal.

Gloss

 clasp

There are many kinds of clasps. They fall into the category of findings. They usually consist of two metal pieces which are attached to either end of the beadwork. They may then be attached to or detached from each other so the piece may be worn. Some of the types include barrel, hook and eye, jump-ring and spring-ring clasps. See individual listings for more detailed descriptions.

Gloss

 double-stick tape

This is simply tape that is sticky on both sides. It is used to hold your piece to the table while doing other work on it such as adding fringe or findings.
Gloss

 earring hook (earwire)

Earring hooks are a type of finding and are available in two styles; earwire and shepherd’s hooks.
shepherd's hook
SHEPHERD’S
HOOK
earwire
EARWIRE
fancy shepherd's hook
FANCY
SHEPHERD’S
HOOK
Gloss

 findings

Findings are the metal pieces which are attached to the beadwork so that it can be fastened and worn. These include bead tips, barrel clasps, hook-and-eye clasps, spring-ring clasps, jump-ring clasps, and earring hooks. See individual listings for more detailed descriptions.
Gloss

 fringe

Fringe is a series of beaded strings which hang from the edge of a piece of beadwork intended to enhance the design. The fringe can be any length. The length can vary from string to string, giving a graduated effect, or remain consistent for straight fringe. It may be incorporated into many different stitch designs. Detailed explanations of how to incorporate different types of fringe into your designs can be found in Chapter 2.
Example
(U-SHAPED FRINGE)
Gloss

 glue

The best kind of glue to use is super-glue (a.k.a. jeweler’s glue). Avoid using Krazy-glue
Gloss

 graph paper

This is paper with evenly spaced horizontal and vertical lines forming a grid pattern over the whole sheet. It is useful in working out complicated designs, especially fringe designs.

Gloss

 hank

Hank is a term which describes a quantity of beads. There are usually 8 to 12 individual strands on a hank of beads.
Gloss

 hook and eye clasp

This type of finding makes the piece easy to clasp and unclasp but also makes it easy to fall off your wrist or ankle. They are usually attached with bead tips
hook and eye clasp
HOOK and EYE CLASP
Gloss

 jeweler’s glue

Jewelers’ glue (a.k.a Super-glue) is a very strong glue which is useful in attaching findings more securely to the beadwork. Use it sparingly.
Gloss

 jump-ring clasp

A jump-ring clasp is simply a ring of metal. It is a type of finding that is generally used along with a spring-ring to form a clasp for necklaces, bracelets and anklets. It is usually attached with a bead tip.
jump-ring clasp
JUMP-RING CLASP

Gloss

 Krazy glue

Avoid this type of glue as it is too runny. Instead, use jewelers’ glue (a.k.a. Super-glue).

Gloss

 needle

Beading needles range in size from #10 (thickest) through #16 (thinnest). Different companies guage their needles differently so it is a good idea to take the beads you will be using along with you when you buy needles and actually pass one of the needles through a bead to make sure the needle is slender enough.
Gloss

 needle threader

A needle threader is a device which can be purchased at many craft stores which sell beads and needles. It is useful for the larger needle sizes but doesn’t work well (if at all) for the smaller sizes.
Gloss

 polymer clay

Originated for field use by the German military for creation of quick replacement parts, this relatively soft clay bakes into durable plastic in a regular oven. When the clay is heated, it becomes a straight molecular chain (hard) polymer, stable and safe for for decor and normal wear, though NOT recommended for containment of potable water or food stuffs.Expert hand-blending, cutting, forming, and reduction techniques are integrated using ‘raw’ polymer clay, forming abstract or depictional art ‘canes’, slices from which are then applied to beads, giftware, etc.
Gloss

 seed bead

Seed beads are the most common type of beads and there are numerous sizes and types. They are generally spherical in shape. In the past, beads were made by drilling holes through various types of seeds. This is where the name comes from.
Gloss

 spring-ring clasp

The spring-ring clasp is a type of finding that is generally used along with a jump-ring to form a clasp for necklaces, bracelets and anklets. It is usually attached with a bead tip.
spring-ring clasp
SPRING-RING CLASP
Gloss

 strand

A strand is the term for a single string of beads. It is usually 8 to 12 inches long. The number of beads on a strand will vary according to the size of the beads. There are 8 to 12 strands on a full hank of beads which is usually the quantity by which they are sold.

Gloss

 thread

Thread is what holds a beadwork piece together. It comes in a variety of thicknesses from size AAA (which is the thinnest) to size G (the thickest). The appropriate thread size for a given piece will depend on the size of the beads being used and the number of times the thread must pass through a bead. Thread can be bought waxed or unwaxed.

 

Return to Table of Contents