Dec 31, 2014

My Love for Hama Perler Beads

Sharing with all of you my new craze in crafting - Hama Beads (also known as Perler Beads, Fuse Beads, Melty Beads....) you get the gist. I was first introduced to this craft by a dear friend, and if you want to know what are these beads are all about, hop over to her blog post here.

These tiny little things turn into wonders when they are place together. Much of it reminds me of how I started with cross stitching, but we deal with tweezers & plastic beads more than with needle and thread here.

I didn't know much about this craft other than the fact that you work on a piece of pattern and fuse the beads together afterwards. But after working on the craft for a week or so, I somehow learn that this craft not only trains the kids' to be focused, it keeps them QUIET while at work *smile*!

I like it that the kids made little items out of the beads into toys they could play pretend with together. It kept them at it for over a few hours (making + playing). It's certainly good news to me, trying to keep the children's minds and hands away from all electronic gadgets!

Some things I picked up as I go along with this craft was -

Be sure to buy sufficient beads from the onset!
For a start, I'd suggest to get at least 1,000 beads of each colour. The starter set that I purchased had only about 300 beads for each of the 20 colours I started with for my children and as we went along we ran out of the common colours such as black, white, off white and brown quite quickly.

Start with at least 30 colours!
It's much like colour pencils. The more colours you have, there's a greater variety of patterns you can work on without compromising on the details and overall look of the finished work. Let's face it, more colours mean more choices *wink*!
The basic tools you require
It's really simple. Most starter kit would come with a tweezer, a peg board, beads and the parchment paper (or wax paper). In case the set you purchase doesn't have all these, you can easily purchase them separately, especially for tweezer and parchment paper (or wax paper). Be sure to use an iron without the steam function or switch the steam iron to a non-steam mode when you fuse the beads together.
*Note: be sure to use baking paper that's coated with wax otherwise the paper would tend to stick to the beads during the ironing process. This actually did happen to me.

For the peg boards, to start with at least 2 Large Square Boards (cos some patterns are simply too big, you'd need to join the 2 square boards together), 1 Large Hexagon Board and 1 Large Round Board. Some patterns require different shaped boards.
The temperature control
In my own experience, I realised that the Midi beads (5mm) requires a higher heat to fuse properly. When the heat is too low, some of the beads would not fuse and will pop out of the peg board thus effort wasted in piecing the beads together.

As for the Mini beads (2.6mm), it requires medium level heat to fuse. When the heat is too high, the beads melt too quickly causing your craft to go out of shape.

To keep the craft item in proper shape, it's best to place something heavy on it after the beads are fused together. This will prevent the item from curving or go out of shape.
Storage of the craft materials
As the beads mess up easily, would be great to store them into plastic boxes with compartments. It's easier to reach out to the colours you want at a glance without having to plough through the load of mixed coloured beads.

I store all the materials for this craft into a transparent large plastic box (bought from Ikea). The kids have easy access to it and we know what's in the box from the outside.

For the patterns, I place the printed patterns into a clear folder, for easy reference and access.

Where to get all the fancy patterns?
If you are introducing this craft to your children, do bear in mind that kids naturally have short attention span. My kids couldn't sit beyond 20mins on one pattern, so I chose patterns with as few beads as possible. Since my Little Man is a fan of Minecraft, I downloaded some of the Minecraft patterns for him. While Missy, I chose a few more girly patterns for her to try. Beyond that, the kids decided to create some of their own patterns - honing creativity!

Here's where ALL of my patterns come from, my Pinterest Board! Come follow my board as I update with new patterns very often. To date, I've already pinned up to 860 patterns on my board *smile*.

Where to buy?
Hama/Perler Beads
I bought all of my beads and tools from TaoBao and if you'd like to explore the merchants I've bought from here are the links -
5mm Bead Set
2.6mm Bead Set
5mm Beads in individual colours
2.6mm Beads in individual colours

If you would like to buy locally, check out my friend's blog post, she has shared links of several places in Singapore that sell the craft items.

Peg Boards
For 5mm Beads
For 2.6mm Beads

Storage Boxes
This is a 30 compartment plastic storage box. Check out details here
Photo Source: TaoBao
What can you do with the Hama beads craft items?
It's as creative as you can get in making these items useful. I've made them into keychains, fridge magnets, charm for the bag, coasters, pot holders, decorative item for a notebook.
I've seen some being made into a decorative item for a christmas/birthday card, christmas tree ornaments, ear rings, pendant, rings, storage boxes etc... so many things can be made out of these beads so get creative!

*Disclaimer: I am not paid to do this post neither are all the links shared on this post affiliated to any merchants. I am mainly sharing out of the passion I have for this craft. 

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