If you’re new to 1/144, you may be hearing about some supplies that are staples of the teeny-tiny world, but you don’t know what they are, where to get them, or how they’re used.
No hole beads (sometimes called “microbeads”) are one of those staples. No hole beads are tiny glass balls (and I do mean tiny) that come in a variety of finishes — everything from clear glass to metallics (gold, silver, copper) and a rainbow of colors.
No hole beads come in two common sizes 1mm and 1/2mm… at least that is how they are labeled. What you will find when viewing no hole beads under magnification, is that those labels are an “average” — you really get a much wider variety of sizes.
What size are these beads in scale (1/144)? If you check the conversion chart, you’ll see that 1mm is approximately 6 inches and 1/2mm is approximately 3 inches.
- Micro-Mini Perfume Bottles
- Knobs on doors and furniture
- Feet on furniture
- Faucets and handles on bathroom fixtures
And if there’s a color you want, but don’t have, you can even paint them. I’ve found the best way to paint them is to wrap blue painter’s tape (found in the paint department of hardware/home improvement stores) sticky side up, around a block of wood. Then pour more no hole beads than you need on the tape. Once the beads are stuck to the tape, apply paint and allow to dry. Rub the beads to remove them from the tape — some beads will lose paint, but that’s why you do extras.
Working with No Hole Beads
Plan on a LOT of these beads flying from your grasp, never to be seen again. It happens. There are two main ways of
picking up these beads — the first is the most obvious, tweezers. But you need a good pair of tweezers, most cheap tweezers don’t have fine enough tips to work with these tiny rascals.
The second, less obvious way, is inexpensive and you probably have what you need in your house. Spaghetti — just moisten one tip and pick up beads like a pro. Toothpicks also work (once you moisten the tip). The “spaghetti tip” is the type of great info you’ll pick up off the MicroMinis Group.
Where to Buy
Most local craft stores (in the US) carry no hole beads. However, you can usually get them cheaper online. I found the best prices at Minikitz. Please note: I have no affiliation with Minikitz… other than spending money there.