Project Idea/ Seed Beads? Particles

Hello, I am new here and have been working with Blender for a few months for a college course. We often find solutions to problems doing internet searches because the course could not possibly have a cohesive tutorial for such a robust application, now could it?

I have a project that I am trying to get ideas about. Unfortunately, I will be in a remote place with no internet access for most of the time I will have to model my project.

I want to do an array of Mexican seed beads over a model I have yet to create!
IMG_6550|375x500 .
To look authentic, they need to:
— fit tightly, touching but not overlapping.
—not grid-like, but more organic.
—Use several different colors of beads in patterns and designs, in a very controllable way.
Any ideas would be helpful. I have had mixed results with particles so far and doubt I would be able to figure this out in a vacuum. Without a little pre-planning and confidence in a strategy going forward, I would commit to my plan ‘B’ option instead.
Thanks in advance!