This is a great article from Dakota Stones about bead hole size and how to plan for them…thought I’d share and also add a few other points that may be helpful.

stone bead hole sizes

Per Dakota Stones: More then ever we’ve been receiving questions about the size of our stone bead holes.  As more and more stringing materials are being used the more challenges have been popping up. Bead holes come in a wide variety of sizes. For example, glass beads have a very consistent hole because the beads are made from molds. Fresh water pearls have a very small hole normally, and raw diamond beads have the tiniest in the bead world. When you venture into natural materials such as stone, drilling them has many challenges. Here are a couple of examples of the challenges and how they are solved: 1. The material can be fragile in structure and will only allow for a small hole, so as not to crack the material. 2. Some stones need to be drilled from either end into the center where they meet. This insures that the hole is centered but can lead to an uneven hole diameter. How do you deal with this? I keep on hand a variety of stringing materials so I will never have to run to the store to complete a design.

.014 diameter beading wire works great for glass, wood, seeds, and medium to large sized stone beads:

bead images
.010 diameter beading wire for pearls and small stone beads:
pearl images
If you’re going to be using leather or a different cording you’ll need to buy beads that are specially sold with a large hole. Know the diameter of your cord, and buy large hole beads according to the cording you’re planning to use. Dakota Stones bead holes range in size from .8 – 1.2mm. We also have our line of Large Hole beads which have a 2.5mm hole, these are perfect for designs with cording. And, if all else fails, use an Electric Bead Reamer and make the hole larger yourself. This is something I rarely need to do, but it’s a nice option to have.
TL12_078-81_Engraver, Files, Reamers & Drills_TL12
bead reamer
  Bead on!




dakota stones large hole beads

Great selection of Large hole beads from Dakota Stones



The electric bead reamer runs about $27 and the wooden handle is about $7. Both options include 3-4 interchangeable tips You can purchase these at my store on Etsy

Dakota Stones has an awesome collection of large hole beads & you can find the full selection here as well as a huge selection of wonderful beads.

Some inspiration to get you designing! 

I run into the issue of  just having a ton of small hole beads.  The Chan Luu style of wrap bracelet is so hot right now and lets you use the small holed beads with chunky leather edging…. depending on what type of beads you use, you can get a sparkly, pretty look or go more organic with earthy type beads.  That’s the beauty of this style design!

Here are a few basic tutorials of how to make a Leather Wrap Bracelet

This tutorial from uses wider hole beads with a wider leather wrap ~  a twist on the above concept Leather Wrap Bracelet Tutorial 










How do you determine what beads to use.
How do you get around the hole size issue?

Would love to hear your comments!

Melinda Orr
My journey of jewelry design started with ceramics and then to metalwork, adding leather and seed beading in the last year. My style is rustic and I'm forever searching for a fresh new approach to my designs. BANDANA GIRL WEBSITE
Melinda Orr
Melinda Orr

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Melinda Orr
Visit my website for inspiration and to purchase my handmade jewelry & components ~ Also a full line supplies for your boho style! ">
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