There are so many needles to choose from! Like any published document, no sooner is it published than new information is available...but we hope this will answer some of the most common inquiries and help you choose the needle that’s right for your project. If you have a question that isn’t answered here, feel free to contact us and we’ll be happy to help!
Bead holes matter when it comes to your needle. Select a random sampling of beads to make sure the holes are consistent and that the needle will fit through them all, don’t check only one bead!
When using a needle, your thread will be doubled (unless you’re using Griffin thread on a card) so test that your needle and thread fit through the bead holes together.
Have needle choices on hand. Just like we wouldn’t try to cook a fancy meal with just one pot, it’s important to have needle choices in your studio.
Store your needles carefully away from children, pets, and bare feet!
Eye-Opening Needles: Needles that have an adjustable eye open doors to opportunities; you can use them with very thin thread or heavier cord. In most cases, the needle eye begins open and then, because it is pliant, it will flatten as you string your beads on.
Rigid Needles: These are more like traditional sewing needles. For beading, the eye of the needle is fairly close in diameter to that of the needle (as opposed to many sewing needles where the eye flares out a bit on the sides.) Some are more rigid than others but the shorter length on some can help the needle be more adaptable in tight places and the longer can help with loom work. The thread you use must fit the needle eye; there’s no flexibility as there is with an Eye-Opening Needle. It either fits the thread you have or it doesn’t!
Flexible Eye Needles (Eye Opening)
The workhorse of our needle collection, the Flexible Eye has been with us since day one. They fit a wide variety of threads and are sturdy enough that they can be reused multiple times by reopening the eye with an awl. Made of medium weight steel, they are thin but sturdy.
Beads: Fits most bead holes of freshwater pearls, fine gemstones (think briolettes and 3-4mm rondelles), glass, stones, crystal, metal, ceramic, and wood.
Threads: All types.
Project Types: Knotting, macramé, stringing, pearl knotting. A must-have for our Poetry projects, also very helpful in Bead Weaving Projects.
Collapsible Eye Needles (Eye Opening)
Similar to the Flexible, this needle’s eye will also accommodate larger threads and will collapse into the hole of a bead...but this needle is heavier and narrows to a point at the top of the eye which helps keep your thread in place. Made of medium-heavy twisted steel, these needles are reusable at least a few times.
We carry four Collapsible Eye Needles:
Beadlon Big Eye Collapsible Eye Needles- 2 Pack
Beadlon Collapsible Eye Needles, Fine- 4 Pack
Beadlon Collapsible Eye Needles, Medium- 4 Pack
Beadlon Collapsible Eye Needles, Heavy- 4 Pack
Beads: All types with average-size holes. These needles are not suitable for fine holes... use a Flexible Eye Needle instead.
Threads: All types.
Project Types: Stringing, knotting, macramé...we've used them in Macramé With A Twist, Chunky Tribal Collars, and Just Bead projects.
Big Eye Needles (Eye Opening)
Made of two steel needles soldered to sharp points at each end, the Big Eye Needle has many uses. You may not require it everyday, but when you need it, it’s really good to have. The full length of the needle opens to accommodate your cord, no matter the size. And when you’re done, it returns to its original closed position, ready to use again.
Beadsmith Big Eye Needles- 6 Pack
Length: 2-5” in length (Two 5”, one 4”, one 3”, and two 2” are included)
IHD: nearly the length of each needle
Beads: All types with average-size holes. These needles are not suitable for fine holes...use a Flexible Eye Needle instead.
Threads: All types.
Project Types: Stringing, macramé, and any time you need an adaptable, large-eye needle. Great in West County Cuff , it gives the flexibility to use many different threads.
Make Your Own Needles (Eye Opening)
In the really early days of The Bead Shop, we made our needles with 34 Gauge Craft Wire. It’s affordable and effective; one spool gives you needles for years! We don’t recommend it if you need a perfectly rigid needle for looming or weaving, but for stringing or as a backup in an emergency (when your needle breaks and you want to add another to your thread), it can be a lifesaver. Your DIY needles are reusable for a few times, too!
ParaWire Black Round- 34G Wire for Needle Making
How to Make a Needle: Use your wire cutters to cut a length of wire 3-6 inches. Bend it at the middle and bring the two ends together. Insert the index finger of your non- dominant hand into the loop and grip the ends of the wire together between the index finger and thumb of your opposite hand. Rotate your index finger in the loop in a circular motion keeping the tension fairly taut. The length of wire will begin to twist to form the needle. Continue until the wire is finely twisted. If needed, clip the end of the needle to make it even. To watch Kate create a needle with this wire on Beadshop LIVE...click here!
Beads: All types with average size holes, including Miyuki Seed Beads. Won’t work successfully with tiny gemstones but will accommodate most freshwater pearls. Threads: All types.
Project Types: Stringing, knotting, macramé. Great for Poetry or a Zen of Stringing.
English Beading Needles (Rigid)
Also referred to as “Longs,” English Beading Needles are slightly flexible and made of nickel plated steel. The eye of the needle is just a tad larger than the diameter of the needle. The smaller the size number, the thicker the needle.
Beadsmith Seed Bead Needles, Size 12- 4 Pack
Beadsmith Seed Bead Needles, Size 12- 25 Pack
ColorEYES Beading Needles, Assorted Sizes- 6 Pack
This variety pack is color-coded by size, with each pack containing 2 needles in each size. Eye opening is ⅛” for each size.
-Black: Size 10
-Blue: Size 11
-Red: Size 12
Beads: These sizes will work with Seed Beads as small as 11/0s. For smaller beads, go down to a Size 13 or Size 15 needles. We do not carry seed beads smaller than 11/0 or Sizes 13 or 15 needles at this time.
Threads: KO, Hana, C-Lon D, Micro C-Lon, and Fireline. If you are bead weaving, choose the thinnest thread possible to allow for multiple passes through the beads.
Project Types: Loom Work, Bead Weaving, Stitching, Stringing and Laddering.
Sharps Needles (Rigid)
Although they are called Size 10, the John James’ Sharps 10 is a bit heavier and shorter than the Size 10 Seed Bead Needle (above). It is a great choice for sewing, stitching and maneuvering in small spaces. It has a similar eye as the Size 10 English Beading Needle, but it is short and sturdy.
Sharps Sewing Needles, Size 10- 20 Pack
Beads: As the Sharps is a slightly heavier seed bead needle, it is not compatible with fine gemstones and small freshwater pearls. It will fit Miyuki Seed Beads as small as 11/0, Czech Glass, and beads with hole sizes larger than 0.55mm.
Threads: Needle eye fits KO, Hana, C-Lon D, Micro C-Lon, and Fireline.
Project Types: Stitching and Bead Weaving. This is the needle to use to sew backing to cabochons. Kate loves to use these for Laddering, too!
Jewel Loom Needles (Rigid)
Created by Julianna C. Avelar to work in conjunction with her Jewel Loom, these needles are a wonderful choice for many wide-loom projects where you want a stiff, long needle that performs consistently with seed beads. Be careful not to exert too much pressure on this needle, as it can snap if bent due to it’s length.
Jewel Loom Needles- 6 Pack
Beads: Anything with a hole about 0.6mm or larger, including size 11/0 Miyuki Seed Beads, Czech glass, metal, wood, and ceramic. The needle itself is 0.4mm but the eye is 0.6mm, so very fine gems and pearls won’t work.
Threads: Needle eye fits KO, Hana, C-Lon D and Micro C-Lon and Fireline.
Project Types: Loom work.
Glovers Needles (Rigid)
This needle has been engineered to make its way through heavy, stiff materials like leather, suede, or vinyl. Near the eye of the needle, it is rounded and then it becomes triangular-shaped and super sharp at the tip.
Glovers Needles, Size #4 Medium- 25 Pack
Diameter: 0.7mm diameter
Beads: Not really made for beads, but for piercing leather! If you’re curious, the #4 fits up to an 8/0.
Threads: With a generous eye, Glovers can fit most any thread. In many cases, your thread is going to show, so C-Lon, in the weight you prefer, would work well.
Project Types: Working with leather, vinyl, or UltraSuede...for example, we use it in our Gypsy Bracelet project.
Tapestry Needles (Rigid)
One of our favorite needles for bead crochet, this type of needle was originally designed to allow for a second yarn or thread to be added to the extra long eye of the needle. The blunt needle tip is to allow for sewing through cross stitch and needlepoint fabrics without damaging the material.
Tapestry Needles, Size 28- 25 Pack
Beads: Fits most seed beads (even 11/0 Miyukis) and beads with average size holes. Threads: KO Thread, Hana, C-Lon D, Micro C-Lon, Fine C-Lon, Fireline Project Types: Bead Weaving and tight area work where a small needle is helpful, such as Bead Embroidery and Tubular Crochet.
Griffin Silk and Needle (Extruded)
Made in Germany, Griffin Silk is a 2-Ply machine-twisted cord already attached to a flexible steel needle. Made in sizes 0-16, we carry the most popular sizes and colors for our projects. Each card has 2 meters of silk; enough to knot 2+ necklaces. But after that, the needle is unusable. Be sure to bring your beads down to the tail of the thread, if you work up by the needle the rest of the thread is wasted.
Beads and Measurements:
Size 2: 0.45mm diameter, fits most fine gems (think briolettes and 3-4mm Rondelles), and up to 11/0 Miyukis.
Size 4: 0.6mm diameter, fits most fine gems, small freshwater pearls, smaller glass and crystal, and up to 11/0 Miyukis
Size 5: 0.65mm diameter, fits most small-to-medium glass, crystal, stone, larger freshwater pearls, and up to 11/0 Miyukis.
Size 6: 0.7mm diameter, fits most small-to-medium glass, crystal, stone, larger freshwater pearls, and up to 11/0 Miyukis.
Size 7: 0.75mm diameter, for average-to-large glass, crystal, stone, and up to 8/0 Miyukis.
Size 8: 0.8mm diameter, for average-to-large glass, crystal, stone, and up to 8/0 Miyukis.
Threads: This needle is already attached to a thread made from fine fibers of silk cocoon.
Project Types: Perfect for pearls and knotting! We love using in projects like Tin Cup, Gem Knotting, Silk Float Away.