In A seed bead primer – part 1, we reviewed sizes and shapes of seed beads. Equally important is the color and finish on your beads, and the number of choices is amazing. Each of them will impart a different texture and interest to your beaded flower.
In each shape and size of seed bead, you will find every color in
the spectrum, including many shades of each color. When viewing beads of the same color in a container, you will be seeing an intensified version of the color. Remember, though, that when creating your project, the color of the bead may change slightly. For instance, if you are using a transparent color, the color of your thread will alter the color of your bead. Your bead color will also be affected by the colors of beads placed nearby. Do some experimenting with this — you’ll see some surprising changes. These changes, though slight, are an important consideration as you plan your project.
Finishes – where do we begin? We start with opaque and transparent. These are the most popular when creating beaded flowers, but I encourage you to try some of the other finishes for a really beautiful piece! Then we find frosted and matte, a finish created by etching the glass. There’s a finish with a lovely satiny sheen. Special finishes include iris, iridescent and Aurora Borealis (AB) … this one is similar to the look of oil on water. There’s also galvanized and metallic finishes. Some beads are lined with silver or gilt, giving them a glorious shine.
Different colors and finishes give your work depth and interest, but beware. The color in almost all beads can fade to some extent, particularly if they have extensive exposure to the sun, and finishes are affected by use. Metallic finishes can chip, and the lining in beads can rub off with wear. How distressing it is to create a lovely piece, only to have the colors fade or chip off! It’s a good idea to do a little research on the beads you’re about to select – talk with other beaders, with bead store owners, or get on the internet and search out the information you need. Then you can make your decision as to which color and finish will work best for your project.
In the end, whatever you choose, seed beads can be made into spectacular jewelry and decorative pieces. Now let’s go make a beaded flower!