The question we get asked the most is what the differences are between a delica and seed bead. In this post we tell you about the most important differences and similarities between the two beads.

Left: 11/0 seed bead, right: 11/0 delica

A delica bead (right) is a bead in the shape of a tube. The thickness of the bead is the same on the whole bead. This also means the hole of the bead is bigger than the seed bead. The 11/0 size is the most common size and this bead has a height (the hole goes from left to right) of 1.6mm and a width of 1.3mm. The hole of the bead is 0.8mm.

11/0 delica bead

The seed bead is rounder than the delica bead. The height of a 11/0 rocaille is 2.1mm, the width is 1.3mm. They’re oftenly used when beading a tube such as a herringbone or a peyote, because the structure of the beads ensures an even structure. If you’d use delica beads when making a tube-shaped creation, the creation would become very stiff as sthe beads don’t easily join next to each other.

11/0 seed bead

On the next picture the difference between the beads is clear. The bracelet is made with a pattern created by Sabine Lippert (the Maze Lace) in which 11/0 delica and 11/0 and 15/0 seed beads are used. The result is a smooth bracelet with a beautiful structure.
Bracelet made with the Maze Lace pattern of Sabine Lippert.

The square shape of the delica makes it unsuitable to use when lacing in bent lines. When you use seed beads in a bent row, the round sides joint beautifully together. The square sides of the delica bead won’t connect and the wire wil be visible. When you want to enwrap a cabochon, delica’s are the prefect beads to use. In the necklace below you see a good example.

Cabochons wrapped in 11/0 delica’s and seed beads in rest of the necklace.

When you use the delica bead in a woven bracelet or peyote bracelet, it will look very even, because the delica beads connect eachother very smoothly. This means you can create very beautiful motives in your bracelet.

Peyote stitch with 11/0 delica’s and 15/0 rocailles on the edges of the bracelet.

For the seed beads, size 11/0 is the most popular, but the 15/0 and 8/0 are also often used. Size 15/0 is very suitable to add small details to your jewelry piece. The colortypes from Miyuki are used on the delica and seed beads, but they are different. For example, color opaque black is colornumber 10 for delica beads and colornumber 401 for seed beads. On the official Miyuki site all the colornumbers can be found and how they differ in colornumber per colortype.

So the delica beads and seed beads are used for different techniques, but can also be used together. In retail the delica beads are mostly sold per 5gr and the seed beads can vary from 5, 10, 15 or 20 grams. In the wholesale the delica beads are mostly packaged by 100 grams and the seed beads by 250 grams. The delica beads are more expensive, but per gram you get more beads if you compare them to seed beads. In 1 gram there are 200 delica beads and 11/0 seed beads.

The 11/0 delica is by far the most popular bead, but there is a grow in demand for sizes 15/0 and 8/0. Which beads do you use?