Make Some Space For Miyuki Spacer Beads

Make Some Space For Miyuki Spacer Beads

By Damaris Ramenaden

Miyuki have done it again with these versatile and sweet little Spacer beads! If you've not come across them before, then take 5 minutes now to learn more about them. Let's begin by looking at what exactly a 'Spacer' bead is.

Spacer beads are small, usually round or disc shaped beads that are typically used to fill in small spaces in seed bead work, or as visual 'breakers' between larger and more ornate beads, allowing them to 'breathe'. They help vary the complexity, texture and weight in a design, as their small shape creates a pleasing undulating line. Spacers can also help 'pad' out designs where you might not have quite enough of your main beads (and we've all been there, right?!). Usually, Spacer beads are made of metal or have a metallic coating or colour such as silver, gold, brass or copper.

So what's the difference between normal Spacer beads and Miyuki Spacer beads?

Miyuki Spacer beads have been around since 2017, and are manufactured in Japan. They are high quality, precision made, round, thin glass disc beads that are consistent in both colour and size, as you'd expect from Miyuki. Miyuki also make Triangle shaped Spacers, however in this blog we will only be looking at the round versions.

Miyuki Spacer beads are available in two sizes:

2.2mm diameter x 1mm thick. These are approximately half the width of a Miyuki 11/0 Seed bead and have a larger hole than a standard 11/0 Seed bead. This size is best for bead stitching, bezelling and embellishing beadwork.

3mm diameter x 1.3mm thick. These are approximately half the width of a Miyuki 8/0 Seed bead and again have a larger hole than a standard 8/0 Seed bead. This size is best for working with crystals, pearls and fire-polished beads.

Their larger hole size makes them ideal for multiple thread passes with beading thread and beading wire. The larger 3mm size Spacers also work well with the thinner knotting, kumihimo and macrame cords such as S-Lon.

Here you can see the comparison between the larger 3mm Spacer beads on the left and the smaller 2.2mm Spacer beads on the right.

Here you can see the comparison between Miyuki Seed beads and Miyuki Spacers.

From L-R: 11/0 Seeds, 2.2mm Spacer, 8/0 Seeds, 3mm Spacer

Although the Spacer colour range is much smaller than the Seed bead and Delica Range, the correct choice of Spacer colour can be used to help blend colour choices together or add a pop of colour to a design palette, as their small size is just enough to create an effective contrast with their counterparts. Metallic coloured Spacers work especially well for drawing out colours in their adjacent focal beads.

As well as being part of a beadwork design, they can also be used in their own right too. Sometimes when they're just simply strung together they can create delicate but striking stacker bracelets and rings, although bear mind their large hole means the beads may swing more loosely when strung alone. To compensate for this you can use thicker thread that is conditioned well, or double string your thread. 

Miyuki spacers also work well as stopper beads on the bottom of headpins or eyepins, or when used with bigger beads underneath them in bead embroidery. They will sit quite happily on top of O-Beads or Flower Spacers, but may need an additional wider bead underneath them if your base bead is larger than these beads.

You don't need a huge amount of different beads to show off these Miyuki Spacers!

Top bead design - 3mm Spacer, 2.2mm Spacer, 3mm Spacer, 6/0 Miyuki Baroque Pearl, 3mm Spacer, 2.2mm Spacer etc

Bottom bead design - 2.2mm Spacer, 3mm Spacer, O-Bead, Wheel Bead, O-Bead, 3mm Spacer, two 2.2mm Spacers, 3mm Spacer, O-Beads, Wheel bead etc

You can also do most off-loom and loom-stitches with Spacer beads, as the half-width of the bead allows for greater texture and definition. Their shape creates a flat, tight-knit weave if used alone; acting almost more like Delicas than Seed beads.

Try them in a Spiral Rope or Cellini stitch, as a picot edge on a bezel, or within a Peyote band to see what we mean.

You can also use them when increasing bead size on a bezel, when the next bead size up is just that little too big to squeeze in the gap - try the same size bead as in the previous round with an equivalent Spacer next to it and see how well it plugs the gap for you.

Spacer beads can be used within many types of stitches - shown in the top example is a simple Daisy Chain stitch where the Spacers have been used as petals.

You could also use Spacers as embellishments on traditional Seed bead weaving - as shown in the bottom example, try adding Spacers in between each Right-Angle weave component.

Make some space in your bead stash for Miyuki Spacer beads and give these versatile and handy little beads a go today!

Tags: blog miyuki