What Size Beads for Beadable Pens?

When it comes to beadable pens, one of the most common questions is "what size beads should I use?" The beads you choose will depend on the type and size of the pen you want to make, as well as personal preference. In this article, we'll take a look at the most popular bead sizes for beadable pens and discuss the pros and cons of each.

The Basics

First, let's cover some beadable pen basics. Beadable pens, also sometimes called beaded pens or jewelry pens, have a chamber that you fill with small beads to create colorful designs. The chambers are made of clear plastic so you can see the beads inside. Popular beadable pen styles include gel pens, ballpoint pens, mechanical pencils, fountain pens, and more.

When shopping for beads, you'll see sizes listed in millimeters (mm) or inches. The inside diameter of beadable pen chambers can range from approximately 2mm to 5mm. So you'll want to choose beads that will fit comfortably inside the pen without being too small and getting stuck, or too large and not fitting at all.

2-3mm Size Beads

2-3mm beads are on the smaller side, but work well for most standard beadable pen chambers. At this size range, you can fit around 20-30 beads in a single pen chamber. Some pros for 2-3mm size beads are:

  • Allow for intricate and complex designs - With small beads, you can create very detailed patterns by carefully placing each bead. This gives you endless creative possibilities.
  • Good for delicate beadwork - The tiny beads have a dainty, elegant look perfect for feminine or bohemian style pens.
  • Fun for experimenting - It's inexpensive to buy a bunch of these tiny beads in different colors and textures to try out different color combinations.

However, the downside is that designing with such small beads can be tedious and require a lot of patience. The holes in the beads are also very small, making them hard to string.

3-4mm Size Beads

Moving up slightly in size, 3-4mm beads strike a nice balance between being big enough to handle easily, while still allowing for intricate designs. With this mid-range size, you can expect to fit around 15-25 beads per pen chamber. Some benefits of 3-4mm beads are:

  • Easy to work with - These beads have larger holes that accommodate most beading thread, wire, and string more smoothly.
  • Versatile looks - Add some tiny beads to make detailed sections, or use all mid-sized beads for bolder patterns. This size range gives you options.
  • Fun variety - It's easy to find many colors, shapes (rounds, cubes, etc.), and material choices like glass, acrylic, wood, or gemstones.

The only potential issue is that smaller pen chambers may feel overly crowded with all 3-4mm beads. But in most standard size pens, they fit beautifully.

4-5mm Size Beads

At the top end of the size range, 4-5mm beads make a definite visual statement. You'll get approximately 10-15 beads in a single pen chamber with this size. Some advantages of large 4-5mm beads are:

  • Bolder designs stand out - With fewer total beads inside the pen, each one really pops against the plastic canvas to showcase colors and textures.
  • Easier to handle - Bigger beads mean bigger holes that are simpler for beading newbies to work with. Even kids may need less help.
  • Customizable looks - Mix a few statement beads in with smaller filler beads for an eclectic layered look.

Just keep in mind that with such large beads, options become more limited in skinny or short pen barrels. The designs may also appear more juvenile rather than sophisticated unless carefully planned out.

Best Size for Beginners

If you're new to beading and making beadable pens, 3-4mm size beads are the easiest to work with. Their mid-range size makes them simple to pick up and string without requiring too much precision. You’ll have an easier time creating fun designs compared to maneuvering tiny 2mm beads. Yet they still leave room for detail work unlike bulky 5mm beads.

As you gain more experience, you can graduate to trickier tiny or big statement beads. But newbies will feel the most comfortable starting projects with versatile 3-4mm beads.

Where to Buy Beads for Beadable Pens

Now that you know about bead sizes, where do you shop? Many craft stores like claybeadstore.com and beadalebliss sell bead assortments perfect for beadable pens. You'll find small compartments or tubes filled with hundreds of loose tiny plastic beads in every color under the sun. These make it easy to buy just a few of each size and color to play with.

For more variety, try browsing bead shops online such as claybeadstore.com and beadalebliss  and more. You can shop for beads by specific size and shape to perfectly match your pen's barrel capacity. Common material types like acrylic, glass, and wood cost just pennies per bead in bulk packs.

If frugality is your goal, dollar stores and discount retailers may offer deals on mixed bead bags. Sort through them to find sizes suitable for pens. And keep an eye out for customizable beadable pen kits which provide all the supplies in one purchase. 

Get Creative with Bead Sizes!

Part of the fun of beading pens is taking a trial and error approach to see what works. Don’t limit yourself to just one bead size in each pen. Mixing together a variety of diameters can yield eye-catching results. Maybe fill the bottom with large beads, then gradually transition to smaller beads towards the top. Or alternate colors and sizes in stripes or checkerboard layouts.

There are really no rules – just avoid choosing beads too tiny or large for the individual pen's capacity. With so many colors and options to work with, it’s easy to create one-of-a-kind beaded pens you’ll love writing with, wearing on a necklace, or giving as special handmade gifts. And remembering the basics on bead sizes takes one more guesswork step out of the beading process.


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