Earlier this year I got a selection of The Collection’s new glow-in-the-dark beads. They are available in Size 11 and in several colors. The beads are made by Toho, Japan’s premier bead maker.
I recently tested them. But the results were so disappointing that I have abandoned the test about 35% through.
Although the labels say these are different colors, the daylight colors are extremely pale and almost indistinguishable from each other. Several of the dark colors are the exact same color, even through the light colors are slightly different.
For example the beads used for the P and I in my test are labelled mint green/bright green. As you can see they are an extremely pale green.
I had planned to use crystal and clear/bright green beads for the skull and bottle, but in daylight both are clear so the items would be indistinguishable.
Size and Stitching
As is the case with most Toho beads, the overall size and hole size is very consistent. I was able easily to attach the beads using a single strand of silk and a #28 needle.
As you can see in the picture, running the needle back through the lines of beads creates a straighter line.
Do They Glow?
In order to test their effectiveness I also used Kreinik’s glow-in-the-dark thread in the border. In lighted conditions, the Kreinik shows up far more effectively than the beads. It, like most of their colors in this series, has a great “black light” aspect to the color that makes it effective. In the dark, it was not as bright a color but glowed a slightly darker, duller green.
In contrast the beads were more effective at glowing. In the dark the “bright” green was about the same as the Kreinik color in light. What’s irritating and limiting is that of the four colors mentioned above, three of the glowed the same color, green, and the other did not glow at all.
The beads show up poorly in lighted conditions. The colors are so pale that they melt into colored backgrounds. They are so similar that you can’t use several of them in the same piece to make effective needlepoint.
While easy to use, these beads have too many shortcomings to be effective for needlepoint. The colors under light are too pale, the colors in the dark are either non-existant or too similar to make them effective there. If you want to use these beads for needlepoint to be seen in both light or dark you have to make some compromises. You can be without much color under lit conditions, meaning you may need to change surrounding colors significantly. Or you can opt for the extremely limited color section in the dark and find a design that won’t distinguish different areas.
For me, I expect more from my needlepoint and these compromises are not acceptable to me. I could get effective and distinguishable glow-in-the-dark colors under all conditions with thread instead of beads.
I applaud that Toho is moving into new effects in their beads and that distributors for them in the needlework market are bringing them to us. But I can’t recommend these glow-in-the-dark beads for needlepoint.