Saturday, January 9, 2016

Get to Know the Multi-hole Bead Cornucopia

Ever since the innovative two-hole Tila bead by Miyuki landed in bead stores, multi-hole beads have been It for beadwork. New stitches and variations are being created all the time to make use of these exciting beads. It seems like every week a new style is being manufactured, and they’ve evolved into all manner of shapes and styles, with 3 and 4-hole varieties being added to the mix.

With so many new multi-hole beads coming out recently, chances are you may have missed a few. I scoured some of my favorite bead shops and created a list of all of the multi-hole seed beads (and seed bead-sized glass beads) that are currently available. Then I picked a few in my favorite colors to share!

First, we should definitely go over the more obvious beads – the ones that we’ve all seen somewhere, if not used in our designs. As Tilas were the first to make a splash, we’ll start there. (If you'd like to learn more about a particular bead style, just click on the image.)

Tila Beads by Miyuki

These tile-shaped glass beads by Miyuki came in a limited range of colors at first, but the selection has grown considerably since then. Like many shaped seed beads, vitrail and Picasso finishes are very common.

Half Tila Beads

With the two-hole bead style’s instant popularity, new shapes were inevitable. The slightly more versatile Half-Tila followed shortly after the larger Tila bead, with a similar range of colors and finishes.
These beads are exactly half the size of a regular Tila at 2.5x5mm.

CzechMates Tile Beads

Not to be outdone, Starman Inc. of the Czech Republic started developing their own line of two-hole seed beads and pressed glass beads. CzechMates Tiles were among the first to arrive, and provided a smoother, sturdier alternative to Tilas in a slightly larger 6x6mm size.

CzechMates Twin Beads

Czech Twins by Preciosa gave us a similar bead to the Half-Tila, again with smoother finish that pairs well with any and all round seed beads. This time the Czech variation matched the Japanese size of 2.5x5mm.

SuperDuo Beads

SuperDuos are similar to the oval-shaped Twins, but with a pinched design that creates lot of texture in beadwork, and allows these beads to fit into tight corners. Their sides are somewhat diamond-shaped, and they ends are slightly narrower at 2x5mm.

MiniDuo Beads

The unusual shape of most two-hole beads often means that it's all or nothing. Luckily, MiniDuos are slightly smaller than SuperDuos at 2x4mm, making them perfect accents for everyday beadwork using 10/o and 11/o seed beads.

Bi-Bo Beads

Also similar to Twins are the Bi-Bos. These beads have dogbone-shaped sides, and are essentially the opposite of SuperDuos, although they are a bit larger at 2.8x5.5mm.

Rulla Beads

Rullas did away with all of the extra curves and provided us with a simple tube shaped bead in a double-hole design that is great for all kinds of beadwork. The plain design makes them great for stacking and stitching with ease, though they are even larger still at 3x5mm.

Brick Beads

The CzechMates Brick bead achieves the same simplicity as the Rulla, but in a boxier shape. These two-hole rectangles are more similar to the classic Half-Tila, but with smoother edges. They are also 3x5mm, making them easy to pair with Rullas for interesting texture.

Two-Hole Bar Beads

A CzechMates Bar bead is like a hybrid of the Brick and Rulla, with a rectangular shape and rounded ends. These ones are sized a bit differently than the other two at 2x6mm.

Two-Hole Daggers

Though designers had been doing their best to keep new ideas for two-hole beads coming, there’s always room for more. To go along with all of the new bead shapes, Starman also started making their classic dagger beads with double holes for embellishing two-hole beadwork.

Multi-Hole Lentils

The Lentil bead also got a multi-hole update with two or four-hole varieties available. Rounded, or convex, on either side, both the double and Quadra-Lentils come in at 3x6mm.

Crescent Beads and Half Moon Beads

After that, things started to get pretty interesting! We now have the two-hole Crescent (2x10mm), and the slightly bulkier two-hole Half Moon (4x8mm). Not quite as versatile as other multi-hole shapes, but they do present some exciting possibilities.

Piggy Beads

Similar to Lentils, the 8x3.5mm Piggy bead has a cupped shape with double holes just off-center. Though unusual, there are some great accent possibilities here. Luckily, Czech glass looks great with everything.

Chexx and QuadraTiles

CzechMates Chexx take the orginal Tile bead and places the holes along the top of the square surface (3x6mm). The slightly thinner QuadraTile has four surface holes and comes in at 2x6mm.

Two-Hole Chilli Beads

The Chilli bead has a similar shape to daggers, but with the holes at the wide end, and a concave detail on one side. Like daggers, these ones are slightly larger than your average bead at 4x11mm.

Es-o Beads and Super8 Beads

SuperDuos recently got an update with the introduction of the Es-o bead. These have the same pinched design as the duos, but start with a round shape instead of an oval (2x5mm). The Super8 is also similar to the SuperDuo, but with a lozenge shape and slightly smaller 2.2x4.7mm size.

Twin Roller Beads

Upgrading from seed bead sizes to more traditional glass accents was a logical next step in the evolution of multi-hole beads. Similar to Rullas, but with rounded ends, the Twin Roller is a whopping 9x3.5 mm.

RounDuos and RounTrios

The RounDuo is essentially a two-hole druk in a dainty 5mm size. The 6mm RounTrios have three holes and also come in a faceted firepolish design. These beads are exclusive to the Potomac Bead Company.

DiscDuos and Crisscross Cubes

The DiscDuo is a two-hole coin that currently comes in a puffy 6mm size. The Crisscross is a 4x4mm cube with off-center holes moving at right angles – one up and down, one side to side.

Czech Glass Silky Beads

The Silky bead is similar to the original Tile bead, but the holes pass through the corners of the square, creating a diamond shape instead. The ruffled shaped tiles come in at about 3x6mm.

Two-Hole Honeycomb Beads

The Honeycomb bead isn’t quite as common as some of the other two-hole shapes, but this hexagon tile is worth hunting down for the way that the beads lock together when woven. The Honeycomb comes in at about 3x6mm.

CzechMates Triangles and eMMA Beads

With all of the round and square variations, triangle beads were certain to get their turn. We currently have the CzechMates Triangle, with a double hole at the base of a triangular 2x6mm tile. There’s also the eMMA with three surface holes in each corner and a wider edge at 3x6mm.

Kheops par Pucas and Tango Beads

The Kheops par Puca triangle bead has two-holes passing up from the base and through the top of the remaining sides, and is available in a chunky 6x6mm. Then there’s the Tango, which flips this idea on its side. Each 3x6mm bead has two holes that both run through the same two sides of the triangle.

Two-Hole Pyramid Beads

There’s also the Pyramid bead, which has a more 3-D shape, and two holes running across the bottom of the pyramid base. (6x6.5mm) Also known as pyramid studs, these beads are quite a big chunkier than most other two-hole varieties.

Infinity and Trinity Beads

Last but not least, we have Infinity and Trinity. These beads are very unique compared to other multi-hole beads that have been developed so far. They are essentially two or three round seed beads merged into one. The Infinity bead measures 2x6mm, and the Trinity is 4x8mm.

Which multi-hole beads have you tried so far? Which ones are your favorites?


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  1. I own more than I have used, why can't there be more time in the day! LOL I have used Tilas, tile beads, twins, super duos, rullas and silkies. One of these days I will work on the others. Some of the beads just seem to be overkill. Like I can see the "desire" to design them but the application of the beads is minimal and possibly needless. Thanks for the info.

    1. I've often wondered if the bead makers tested out the design to be sure they'd have some applications before putting them into production. If all else fails, there's always stringing, I guess!

  2. Thank you for this information! I have just made a couple of bracelets using the tila beads and was going to research if there were any other double hole beads, but a bit larger!! Great info!! Alice


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