Monday, August 17, 2015

Making the Count

I thought it a good idea to start sharing some of my beading insights and skills after all I have been beading for nine years now and surely have learnt some "tricks of the trade". I would also like to make this a practice on my blog and aim to share something more regularly - if I dont get too busy.

To start I would like to talk about doing a peyote bezel for a rivoli or a lunasoft cabachon - especially since I use so many of them.
My Seed Bead Count for Rivolis using size 11/0s:
In the nine years I have been beading I have found it easiest to double the millimetre size of the
rivoli and add four seed beads - it is as simple as that.
12mm Rivoli   12 x 2 + 4 = 28 seed beads
14mm Rivoli   14 x 2 + 4 = 32 seed beads
16mm Rivoli   16 x 2 + 4 = 36 seed beads
18mm Rivoli   18 x 2 + 4 = 40 seed beads

I know other artists will dispute this and that is okay. I have heard, and tried, other designers methods and over time found my method to be reliable - because I make it so.

You may say - "but what about the different types of seed beads???" That is a good question.

For this post, I am talking about using Japanese seed beads. Not Czech, Not Delicas, just Japanese seed beads and there are a lot of varieties.

Here you see a pic of some seed beads on a needle. You will note there are a variety of sizes even though they are the same seed bead from the same tube. Most seed beads have variations in size - you will get very thin ones, thin ones, medium ones, largish ones - all within the same tube of seed beads.

Artist's Tip: When beading, it pays to weed out the seeds that are too small and/or too large. I do not put them in my work. Whenever I have included noticeably different sized seed beads in my work my eye always notices that 'bump' or that 'dip' in the work. Very annoying!!  So I recommend you get used to culling seed beads.

You may ask - "But what about Toho seeds or Miyuki seeds?"  Yes, there are those seeds that are really good at being the same in size - BUT - you will still get some that are smaller/bigger.

This is where my theory comes into play.
I want to make a centrepiece, I want to have 10 pearls around the outside coming off the rivoli bezel. I require four seed beads in between each pearl to make it fit and not warp -
10 pearls x 4 seed beads in between = 40 seeds around my bezel. An 18mm rivoli is needed (see above chart).

When I am about to bezel a rivoli, I pick up my required number of size 11/o seed beads, I put my needle through the first bead picked up to turn it into a circle. I then place my rivoli inside that circle to see how it sits. Is it too small/tight??  Is it too large/loose??

Here you have a pic of two rings with a rivoli inside each. The seed beads are from the same tube, the rivolis are an 18mm, the seed count is the same.

The top one is picking up any seed bead from the tube and is too small.

The bottom one has a mixture of medium to large seed beads from that same tube. Notice the difference??  It fits the rivoli better !

The third image shows the seed bead rings and you can clearly see how much larger the bottom one is.

Is this confusing??  What I am saying is look through your seed beads and pick up the size of seed bead that will give you the count you require.

Making the Count to suit the seed bead: I wanted to use a particular colour Czech seed bead in a bezel once. I also wanted forty seeds in my count. Czech are smaller and would have required 46 seeds. So to achieve my needs I picked up 40 Japanese seed beads in the original ring to fit the rivoli,  then I used the Czech seeds in the peyote. That worked well as each time we do a row we want the bezel to reduce in size to surround the rivoli.

This method is simple and easily achievable. I hope my examples and the explanations are easy to understand. Should you need further clarification drop me a line.


  1. Thank you, Patrick very useful ,

  2. Thank you. It's a wonderful idea.

  3. Very useful Patrick, Thank you!!!

  4. Thank you very much Patrick. This is a intresting article and very helpful!!!

  5. Barbara Conrad18 August, 2015 03:01

    Great explanation. I never would have thought to use Czeck 11s over Japanese 11s. And the chart is perfect. Just what I need.

  6. You are an angel! Your explanations are always so helpful and I'm very delighted that you decided to share your knowledge. Wish you all the best.

  7. Thankyou! Great, clear explanation.

  8. Thank you! Your information is very clearly written and extremely helpful.

  9. Thanks for the great chart and information. I've always been scared to start a bezel but with this information I'm sure I'll be able to not only start but finish also!

  10. Thank you for brwaking down the equation. Much apperciated

  11. Thank you Patrick...always more to learn!
    -Eva Maria

    1. Lovely to hear from you Eva Maria, you have been quiet for a very long time. Hugs

  12. Great Info Patrick, I hate, hate odd shaped sead beads and this helps alot but sometimes odd shaped ones are ok for freeform work and other odd jobs too. ;) Thanks.