Beading Needles Q and A

1. What kind of needle should I use with seed beads?

The most popular needle for off-loom work is a beading needle, which is longer than a standard sewing needle. Shorter needles called sharps can be used when embellishing fabric with beads and when greater leverage is desired. Both beading needles and sharps are sized by number - the larger the needle, the smaller the number. Generally, a size 10 needle will go through seed beads as small as 15º. Big Eye and twisted wire needles can be used for stringing beads onto thicker cords and fibers.

2. How do needle sizes correspond to seed bead sizes?

As with seed beads, the smaller the needle size, the larger the needle. For example, size 10 needles are larger than size 15 needles. When using size 11 seed beads or larger for bead embroidery and most off-loom bead weaving stitches, use a size 10 needle. You may also be able to use a size 10 needle with 15° or smaller seed beads, especially with embroidery and bead weaving stitches that require only two passes of thread (such as peyote, herringbone and brick). If you are incorporating pearls, gemstones or other beads with small holes, or if you are using a bead weaving stitch that requires more than two passes of thread (such as square stitch, right angle weave and spiral rope), you may need to use a size 12 or smaller needle.

3. What type of needle is recommended for bead embroidery?

Many people prefer to use the shorter sharps length of needle for bead embroidery because its shorter length makes it less flexible than beading needles, providing better leverage for piercing fabric. However, other beaders prefer to use beading needles, especially if they have grown accustomed to the longer length after using them with off-loom bead weaving techniques. Ultimately, personal preference should be your guide.

4. What is a size 10 English beading needle, and what should I use it for?

The size 10 English beading needle is a high-quality, durable needle. These beading needles are longer than standard sewing needles, enabling you to string multiple seed beads and other beads. Use size 10 beading needles with beading threads size D and smaller, and use with 15° seed beads or larger. This size is recommended for most off-loom bead weaving stitches (such as peyote, brick stitch and netting) and loom work. Size 10 may be too large if you are using a stitch that requires more than two passes of thread through the same bead, such as right angle weave or spiral rope. The size 10 beading needle is approximately 2" long.

5. What is a size 12 English beading needle, and what should I use it for?

The size 12 English beading needle is a high-quality, durable needle. Beading needles are longer than standard sewing needles, enabling you to string multiple seed beads and other beads. Use size 12 beading needles with beading threads size D and smaller, and use with 15° seed beads or larger. This size is recommended for all offloom bead weaving stitches and loom work. The size 12 beading needle is approximately 2" long.

6. What is a size 13 English beading needle, and what should I use it for?

Size 13 English beading needles are high-quality, durable needles. Beading needles are longer than standard sewing needles, enabling you to string multiple seed beads and other beads. Use size 13 beading needles with beading threads size B and smaller, and use with 15° seed beads or larger. This size is recommended for all offloom bead weaving stitches and loom work. Size 13 would work well if you are using a stitch that requires more than two passes of thread through the same bead, such as right angle weave or spiral rope. Because they are so thin, these needles bend easily. These needles are approximately 2" long.

7. What is a size 15 English beading needle, and what should I use it for?

Size 15 English beading needles are high-quality, durable needles. Beading needles are longer than standard sewing needles, enabling you to string multiple seed beads and other beads. Use size 15 beading needles with beading thread size AA, and with 15° seed beads or small antique seed beads. This size is recommended for all offloom bead weaving stitches and loom work. Size 15 would work well if you are using a stitch that requires more than two passes of thread through the same bead, such as right angle weave or spiral rope. Because they are so thin, these needles bend easily. These needles are approximately 2" long.

8. What is a Big Eye Needle, and what should I use it for?

Made of 2 needles soldered together, the eye in the Big Eye Needle is in the middle. The large expanding eye allows ribbon, twine, yarn, and other large fibers to pass through easily. The Big Eye is ideal for use with the Diva Cord Maker and for knitting and crocheting with beads.

9. Beading Needle Informational Chart

Click here to download this chart as a pdf

Size
Width (mm)
Length (mm)
Brand
Description
Max Thread Size (mm)
Min Seed Bead Size
Sold By (Quantity)
Country of Origin
15
0.25
45
Beadsmith English Beading Needles
0.1
15°
4
England
15
0.25
45
John James English Beading Needles
0.1
15°
25
China
13
0.3
49
Beadsmith English Beading Needles
0.14
15°
4 & Variety Pack
England
13
0.3
49
John James English Beading Needles
0.14
15°
25
China
13
0.3
35
Tulip Beading Needles
0.14
15°
2
Japan
12
0.33
51
Beadsmith English Beading Needles
0.16
15°
4
England
12
0.38
51
John James English Beading Needles
0.16
15°
25
China
12
0.35
51
Pony 2 1/8" Long Beading Needles
0.16
15°
5
India
12
0.33
51
Pony Beading Needles
0.16
15°
25
China
12
0.35
47.5
Tulip Beading Needles
0.16
15°
2
Japan
12
0.39
30
John James Sharp English Beading Needles
0.16
15°
25
China
12
0.33
29
Pony Sharp Beading Needles
0.16
15°
25
India
12
0.38
76
John James Extra Long English Beading Needles
0.16
15°
10
China
12
0.33
116
Pony Extra Long Beading Needles
0.16
15°
6
India
11
0.38
53
Pony 2 1/8" Long Beading Needles
0.18
15°
5
India
11
0.38
53
Pony Beading Needles
0.18
15°
25
India
11
0.39
48.5
Tulip Beading Needles
0.18
15°
4
Japan
11
0.43
31
John James Sharp Beading Needles
0.18
15°
25
China
11
0.38
31
Pony Sharp Beading Needles
0.18
15°
25
India
11
0.39
116
Pony Extra Long Beading Needles
0.18
15°
6
China
11
0.38
31
Pony Sharp Beading Needles
0.18
15°
25
India
10
0.45
55
Beadsmith Beading Needles
0.3
15°
25
China
10
0.46
55
John James English Beading Needles
0.3
15°
25
China
10
0.45
56
Pony 2 1/8" Long Beading Needles
0.3
15°
5
India
10
0.44
55
Pony Beading Needles
0.3
15°
25
India
10
0.53
32
John James Sharp Beading Needles
0.3
15°
25
China
10
0.44
32
Pony Sharp Beading Needles
0.3
15°
25
India
10
0.53
37
Tulip Short Beading Needles
0.3
15°
4
Japan
10
0.53
51
Tulip Long Beading Needles
0.3
15°
4
Japan
10
0.44
116
Pony Extra Long Beading Needles
0.3
15°
6
India
N/A
0.52
90
Tulip Loom Work Beading Needles
0.3
15°
3
Japan
Fine
0.61
35
Tulip Fine Tapestry Needles
0.4
11°
Pack of 3 (1 of each size)
Japan
Medium
0.75
36
Tulip Medium Tapestry Needles
0.5
Pack of 3 (1 of each size)
Japan
Large
0.88
42
Tulip Large Tapestry Needles
1
Pack of 3 (1 of each size)
Japan
2 1/8"
0.28
54
Beadsmith Big Eye Needle, 2 1/8"
N/A
15°
1
China
5"
0.55
122.5
Beadsmith Big Eye Needle, 5"
N/A
15°
1
China
N/A
0.2
70
Tulip Twisted Beading Needles
N/A
15°
2
Japan
Fine
0.24
90
Griffin Soft Wire Twisted Needles
N/A
15°
25
Germany
Medium
0.36
90
Griffin Soft Wire Twisted Needles
N/A
15°
25
Germany
Heavy
0.5
90
Griffin Soft Wire Twisted Needles
N/A
15°
25
Germany

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