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Beading Equipment

Beading Needles

The designs ThreadABead creates uses beads with a hole diameter smaller than the width of a regular sewing needle, so it is essential to use a specialist beading needle.

If you look at our needle section you will find lots of choice, so which should you choose?

Quality

Something to consider first is the cost. There is a wide range of prices from our Asian beading needles to our most expensive Tulip beading needles, and that tends to give you a guide to the quality.

Typically, the cheaper the needle you buy the lower the quality of metal and finish and the less time it will last. You will find you are replacing your needle a few times through a project and during that time it will get bent and sometimes the hole of the needle will collapse and start damaging your thread.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with using a cheap needle, but it does have its limitations.

Our most expensive needle is a Tulip needle, which tends to be most beaders favourite needle of choice. This needle is highly polished and has a gold-plated eye hole for smooth beading and reduced thread snags. You can expect these needles, if you look after them, to last many projects.

Size

You know you need a beading needle, you know to consider the quality … now you are seeing all these different sizes! Well beading needles come in 4 sizes 10, 11, 12 and 13. 10 being the thickest and 13 the thinnest and most flexible. You may be thinking why are there different sizes? This is because beads come with a variety of sized holes and the amount of passes a thread will need to go through a bead will dictate the size of the needle that you are able to pass through that bead.

For the majority of our projects we recommend a size 10 beading needle. On a rare occasion we may recommend using a size 12 or 13 for part of a project where there is not much flexibility or lots of passes of thread, but we will always state this in the pattern description.

Something to note is the thinner the needle the less wear you will get out of it, so even a good quality size 13 Tulip needle will not last as long as a size 10. And returning back to Quality v Cost you should compare needles of the same size when determining this.

Length

There are two length of beading needle, Long and Short. By far the most common is long and tends to be what the majority uses, however this is down to personal preference. I just cannot get on with a short needle, but for some beaders it is all they will bead with. So, I would say if in doubt go long, and if you are finding it cumbersome then switch to short.

My Recommendation

I personally use either a size 10 long Tulip needle or one of our size 10 individually wrapped needles (which are the ones we put in our component packs) – both are good needles, with the Tulip lasting longer. I do have size 12 and 13 needles in my stash, but only use them very occasionally. Our patterns tend to not have tricky or difficult parts, so the thinner needles are hardly needed.

As an additional bonus, size 10 beading needles also can be used for normal sewing. As they are so fine you can get your stitches really tiny and neat, normal sewing needles seem so clumsy to me now. Even my mother, a non beader, requests beading needles from me for this purpose.

Tulip Beading Needle - Size 10 Long (x4)
$5.78
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Beading Needle Size 10 - Individually Wrapped (x10)
$1.50
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Beadsmith Beading Needles Size 10 4 Pack (BN104)
$3.88
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Asian Beading Needles Size 10 25 Pack (BNI10)
$3.52
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Tulip Beading Needle - Assorted (x4)
$8.75
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Crafters Collection Assorted Beading Needles (x10)
$3.56
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