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This is a truly great starter pack. You get loads of colours and they will last forever, I bought this specifically for a kids party and it kept everyone entertained for hours, including parents. I know many people who have since bought for their kids. I've also found a great site that provides free patterns to help you, and this George Pig is my favourite <a href="http://hamabeadpatterns.co.uk/2013/04/22/george-pig/">George Pig Hama Bead Pattern</a>-->
Available in three sizes, a multitude of colours and variety of kits, Hama Beads are a fantastic craft material that allow you or your child to create all manner of different decorations, ornaments and other artistic pieces. My first introduction to Hama Beads was many, many years ago when my then five year old daughter brought home a coaster she had made at school, and since then I've experienced using all three sizes of bead, both with my son and by myself to create my own masterpieces and gifts. In the very simplest terms, Hama Beads are hollow tubes of plastic that can be placed on the pegs on a specially designed board in any pattern you desire and then fused together using an iron (over ironing paper) to create a permanent masterpiece. The plastic the beads are formed from is non-toxic, meaning that if they should happen to be swallowed they won't cause any harm (and in fact the larger pieces pass through virtually untouched, even though I wouldn't recommend using them afterwards). In more complex terms, Hama Beads are a tool that can help you child create works of art while improving their hand-eye coordination, copying skills and concentration, all the while growing with the child as they move from the largest beads to the very smallest.
==The Creative Toddler - Maxi Beads==
The Maxi Beads are the largest and are officially recommended for children over the age of three. With each bead having a diameter of 10mm (1cm) they are the perfect size for younger children to handle and manipulate. My own son is only two and a half, has significant learning difficulties and has been using the beads with help and supervision since his second birthday. It's been lovely watching him improve his pincer grip and coordination as he has steadily learnt to produce some masterpieces that have been given as birthday gifts to many relatives. What is really good about this size of bead is that it is easy to sort the beads into colours and they are big enough not to get lost into the pattern of a carpet or rug when dropped on the floor.
The Maxi Beads themselves are available in either tubs hold 500 beads in a variety of colours or as kits, and should you buy the tubs of beads you will also need some pegboards and ironing paper (the paper can be replaced with greaseproof paper). Unlike the smaller Hama Beads there isn't a huge variety of colours available in the Hama Beads, neither is there a huge variety of pegboards or kits, but the range is slowly increasing. There are also a few inspiration books available that contain designs that you child can copy and then adapt.
When starting out buying Hama Maxi Beads for your child, I would recommend buying a kit to start with as this will contain everything your child needs to begin creating their masterpieces. There are various size kits available, with the larger kits representing the best value for money, but even the smallest kits will contain a pegboard, more than enough beads to fill it, ironing paper and maybe peg-stands (to allow the finished items to stand unaided). The smallest, Starter sets are priced around the £6 mark and contain approximately 250 beads, along with a pegboard, making them an ideal small gift and way of discovering whether your child actually enjoys using the beads. What I really like is that while many crafts are thought to be "girl" specific with these Maxi Beads there are sets that are designed to appeal to boys with such themes as dinosaurs. The larger, Giant Gift Sets, offer far value for money, containing 900 beads and up to three pegboards for around the £15 mark. These sets make great presents for younger children, if only because the boxes are very big and impressive. When my son first started using Hama Maxi Beads, it was one of these sets we bought and he had great fun making the different models, so much fun in fact that we soon supplemented the set with a starter pack (dinosaur) and tubs of beads. If I were to have a complaint about the Maxi Beads, it would be that the different colours are not available separately and to replenish the beads in the kits you need to buy several different tubs of beads (which at £6.75 a tub can become expensive).
==For Grown Ups Too - The Mini Beads==
The very smallest of the Hama Beads are the Mini Beads and these are designed for children over the age of ten and adults. These tiny beads are only 2.5mm in diameter and can be used to create smaller or highly detailed designs. As with the Maxi Beads they are available in kits and mixed bags of beads, but unlike the Maxi Beads they are also available in single colours, costing around £1.25 for 2000 beads. While the Maxi Beads offer large gifts sets, the Mini Bead kits are far smaller, however they do still contain everything you need to produce a few pieces. There are also pegboards available for the Mini Beads, although there are nowhere nearly as many varieties as with the other size beads, but there again specific shaped boards really aren't needed with these tiny beads as you can make some very detailed designs using just the basic boards. As with the Maxi Beads there also Inspiration books available, to help give you ideas on what to make.
I have to admit that I have only used the Mini Beads the once and found them far too fiddly and frustrating. The beads themselves are tiny and the pegs on the boards are a little too small meaning that the slightest knock will send the beads flying. Because the beads are so tiny it is not only difficult to manipulate them, but it is also difficult to sort them into their various colours. I did persevere with the small starter set that I had bought and ended up producing some very pretty card toppers, but haven't bothered buying any more as I wasn't particularly enjoying using them. What I did like about these beads though was that peg boards could be clicked together to form larger boards for bigger designs.
==And Everyone In-between - The Midi Beads==
By far the most common of the Hama Beads are the Midi Beads, it is in this size you will find the greatest choice in colour, pegboard, Inspiration Book and Kit. With a diameter of 5mm the Midi Beads are recommended for children aged 5 and over, although suitability will of course depend on the particular child, with some under that age being able to use them and some over that age finding them too small. As the most common Hama Bead Format there are a vast number of different colours of Hama Beads available to buy, whether that be in mixed tubs, separate colours or in kit form.
As with both the Maxi and Mini beads the best way to decide whether Midi beads are for you or your child is to buy a kit. The range of kits available is simply enormous, ranging from £2.50 for a small pegboard and 450 beads to £43.95 for 20 pegboards and 210000 beads, with everything in-between. What is really good about the Hama Midi range is that as well as basic kits, there are a multitude of themed kits available covering everything from Disney Princesses to UFOs. Once you've decided that Hama Beads are for you, it is far more economical to replace the beads with either mixed tubs or bags of single colours. There is a huge range of different colour beads available to buy separately, with the majority of them costing around £1.50 for 1000. There are other specialist colours such as metallic and glow in the dark that are more expensive though, with these costing around £2.50 per thousand. There are also a large number of pegboards available, many of which are in specific shapes such as a squirrel, mouse or child, but others in basic geometric shapes. What I find especially useful is that the basic large square and rectangle boards can be clipped together to create larger work spaces. There also yet more Inspiration Books available that are specific to the Midi Beads.
It is with the Midi beads that I have the most personal experience as I use them to make various gifts, decorations and ornaments ranging from fridge magnets to Christmas decorations to large pictures that I frame as gifts. I love that there is such a large choice of different colour beads available, and that there are so many different ways to find patterns to copy and develop. There are lots of websites that have patterns for Midi Beads, although some of these will state they are for Perler or Fused beads, rather than Hama. There are the Inspiration Books, or if you open a picture in Paint and then zoom with guidelines, you can you that. There are computer programs that will transform a picture into a pattern, or you could use a cross stitch design, there are even Apps for the iPhone and Android.
I have to admit that I do tend to buy my beads from one particular online retailer, but if I see them in a good offer anywhere else then I will pick them up. I also tend to buy a mix of separate coloured beads, kits and mixed tubs, mostly buying the more unusual colours separately, or if I know I'm going to use a lot of a particular colour (or colours) I will buy bags of them. Although it's not really the cheapest way of buying the beads, I do like to buy kits sometimes, simply for the added inspiration. With the kits and mixed tubs of beads, I find it best to sort the beads into their different colours before I begin, although that may just be me being a bit anal, I find it easier to create when I don't have to hunt for a particular colour.
As I've said, I've used the Midi beads to create all manner of different things. Some of my smaller projects include fridge magnets and coasters, which are easy to make, require little concentration and can be produced from the basic colours. The translucent and glitter beads come into their own when making sun catchers, and the clear beads are great for adding stability to snowflakes. While I enjoy making the smaller pieces it when I use the beads for larger creations that I get the most satisfaction and sense of pride. By joining large squares together I really am limited only by the number of squares and amount of working space available. Among my larger projects is a name plate for my son's room and several large Christmas wall decorations. But pride of place has to go to the portrait of my son that I created on four large square pegboards. This project took me a little after four hours, but the resulting picture is fantastic (if I do say so myself) and a perfect present for a doting Grandma.
For me, personally, the Midi Beads are the perfect size to handle, I find the Mini far too fiddly, while with the Maxi it is impossible to create any detail. But those with a little more dexterity may get on better with the Mini Beads. I also find it easier to pick up the Midi Beads off the floor if they spill than the Mini, although inevitably some will be missed. I also love the vast range of colours, pegboards, kits and designs available for the Midi Beads, there's always something new to try. In fact as these beads can also be threaded in the same way as regular beads, this is something that is in my to-do list. I also find creating designs with these beads therapeutic, there really is a sense of pride that develops as the final design starts to take shape, although it can be frustrating to discover that you made a mistake or accidentally knock the board.
==Finishing Off - Making A Design Last Forever (Well Almost)==
With all three sizes of beads you can just remove the beads from the board if you wish to use again another day, but it's far more satisfying to fuse them together to create a permanent work of art. The three sizes are fused together in exactly the same way, that is by placing a piece of ironing paper over them and then ironing them until they melt slightly and fuse together. What temperature your iron needs to be set at does depend on the size of the beads, with the Mini beads needing the iron set at two dots, the Maxi at three and the Midi at somewhere in-between. I do find that what temperature the iron needs to be set at for the Midi Beads does depend greatly on the size of the project, with smaller items only needing two dots and larger needing three. While it isn't actually necessary to use official Hama ironing paper, I find that it is slightly superior to using greaseproof paper as it doesn't stick to the beads quite so much. In any case, the best ironing technique is to move the iron in small circles until you see the beads showing through the paper and you can normally tell that the beads have fused together. After ironing I always place a heavy object of the design and paper to help keep it flat while cooling. While you could just iron the one side, I find that you get much more robust result if you wait until the design has cooled, remove it from the pegboard and then iron the other side (with ironing paper over the top), before once more weighting it down to cool.
Once the designs have cooled down there are various things you can do to display them. If you left a one bead gap at the top of the design you can add string or ribbon to hang them at a window to display. Or you can buy small self-adhesive magnets to attach to create fridge magnets. You can also create coasters and then back them with cork, or simply attach them to the wall with sticky tabs. With large designs though it is best to back them in some way to help keep them flat and give a little extra support. While in no way indestructible, with a little care your designs can last years.
While not for everyone, Hama Beads come in a range of sizes that provide a creative outlet for a wide age range. My two and a half year old son loves creating masterpieces with his Hama Maxi Beads and gets very excited when I get his pegboards and tin of beads out, while I really enjoy creating my own pieces with the Midi Beads. All of the different size beads are fantastic for developing dexterity, hand-eye coordination, concentration and patience, while allowing you or your child to produce something tangible at the end of the session. Personally I can't recommend Hama Beads enough for anyone over the age of two who is looking for a new creative outlet and so I am giving them five stars out of five.
I bought my nieces a big box of Hama beads for when they came to visit me as it was something that was guaranteed to keep them quiet!! Hama beads are tiny straight beads shaped a bit like macaroni pasta which have a hole in the middle. The beads come in an array of colours and in this particular set there are over 10'000 beads that come in the bucket and costs around £10 which is good value for a mixed set. You can also buy bags of coloured beads, so if a particular design requires a lot of red, you can buy a bag of just red beads for around £3. In order to use Hama beads effectively rather than just play with the beads you need peg boards which come in a range of shapes. There are Disney princess boards, flowers, trains etc. The boards are white and have spikes coming out from them which the beads sit on top of. The spikes are not dangerous or sharp, they are just big enough for the Hama beads to sit on top of. Once you have the desired design, the idea is you use a piece of greaseproof paper on top of your design and iron on top of your Hama beads. The heat makes the beads melt together and your design can be gently taken from the peg board (which is obviously then reusable). The Hama bead design then stays together magically.
I do really love Hama beads because some of the designs take AGES and the kids loved spending time with different colours and different beads. The peg boards are re-usable and only a few pounds each so they are good value and for the amount of beads you can get in the mega-buckets like this, they are really good value. My nieces used them from ages 5 and 7 - it depends how mature the five year old is though as the beads are very small so if the child has a tendency to like to eat everything or put them in their mouth, an immature five year old could be too young for this. Seven is probably the perfect age unless very closely supervised by an adult. Obviously an adult needs to be involved as some point to do the ironing of the beads. I would recommend not heating the iron too much as sometimes the beads can melt and look really odd (poor Cinderella once had a very gammy eye!). It literally only takes a minute to iron and doesn't damage the iron as long as you use grease proof paper! In terms of what you can use the Hama beads for, well really they are a bit pointless once they are ironed but the whole fun is putting them together and making different designs. I do know some people use them for coasters or hang them up in bedrooms. In my opinion the novelty didn't wear off for my nieces but that might have been because they were just at our house and not at their own house so they knew there was something fun to do at my house when they came around. I guess there isn't much point to them other than fun and helping with dexterity in little people. It did also test my youngest niece's patience if her beads fell out (which they tend not to unless you knock them hard - she did!) but as she is not the most patient of children this was not surprising (unlike the eldest one who would have spent all day getting the perfect design!).
I think Hama beads are good value for the entertainment they provide. They aren't very messy, they are good for boys or girls (depending on the peg board designs) and they keep kids quiet for quite a while. They are fairly inexpensive and the re-usable peg boards are great. All in all, an excellent "toy" and one I'll definitely be buying for my own child when he/she is older.
For a couple of years Alice was a huge fan of Hama beads, so last Christmas I wasn't surprised to see her nan give her this jar containing 15,000 Hama beads in a variety of pastel shades. It was a nice choice as the beads Alice has been using recently have all been bright, she's been able to be much more creative since having a wider selection.
For those of you not in the loop about Hama, these beads are different to your traditional threading beads as its possible to make solid 'objects' rather than just necklaces. You need a special pegboard to create your design, then run a hot iron over the beads to set them in place - a coaster is a perfect example of a quick, easy and fun Hama beads project. These pastel beads can be used to nice effect when Alice is creating an outdoors scene as the odd pink or pale blue bead dotted among other colours really can look like flowers - Alice puts lots of effort into her designs (drawing them on graph paper first) and gets some fab results from using these paler beads to highlight the brighter ones.
I'd say the 15,000 bead selection is a fair mix of yellow, orange, blue, pink and lilac - all obviously in slightly muted form in keeping with the theme of the jar, and also all complimenting each other well. They're not so pastel as to be dull and can hold their own when used in a brighter design, they're simply a slightly girlier take on the more standard colours provided.
This set, and other sets of Hama beads, are excellent quality. This is purely a jar of their beads, no pegboards are included but those are reusable so providing your child already has a starter Hama kit they'll be able to begin creating their masterpieces straightaway. Alice has probably used two thirds of the beads from this jar up to now and she hasn't had a single dud, all beads have fitted snugly to the pegs and the finished creations have set solid under the hot iron - looking this morning at some of the things she's made over the year I can tell you they're all in fab condition with no loose beads falling off, which is pretty impressive as she's a 'touchy' child and tends to handle things that might not necessarily do well from being handled so much!
To me, Hama beads look tediously dull. While writing this I've been having to constantly remind myself that they were bought for Alice, not me. She loves them though; the pastel set really rings the changes for her and has the added advantage of being able to be kept in the sturdy screw top storage jar.
These beads are suitable for children aged five and above due to the choking hazard associated with playing with any type of beads. Hollie (at the requisite age) has used them occasionally but although she's dexterous enough to actually use them efficiently, I'm always worried sick about her dropping them unnoticed onto the carpet for her crawling brother to find (and potentially swallow) - with Alice this isn't an issue as she's really careful, but I can see why the age limit is there. The plastic jar is ideal, the opening is wide enough for a child or adults hand to reach in and grab however many beads they want without their clenched fist becoming stuck a'la the Greedy Monkey in the old story! I do think £16 for any quantity of beads is expensive, however Hama are a fairly specialised item so for 15,000 of the things I dare say it's pretty decent value.
I bought a box of Hama beads along with a few templates and the ironing sheets for my 6 year old godson. He loved them, it kept him quiet for hours!
There are two types of Hama beads, the small ones (midi), as advertised here, which are small, about 5mm high and good for 5 years upwards and big ones (maxi) for smaller children over 3 years of age, which are probably around 1 cm high. They are like mini tubes, with a hollow centre which enable them to be placed on the notches on the pegboard. This pack is multicoloured but it is also possible to buy them in smaller single colour packs and there are also glittery and fluorescent varieties.
I bought a couple of the pegboards, which are plastic with notches for the beads to sit on. There are lots of shapes of boards, from animals and people to stars and hearts. I got one boy shaped one and a largish square one for my godson, the idea being that we could teach him how to make patterns and shapes on the large board, hopefully being educational.
When the child has finished placing the beads on the board you iron it, using a special piece of paper between the iron and the beads, which you need to buy (don't try to iron without it) and the top of the beads melt and stick together, so you end up with one solid mat-like object, great present for the grandparents for Christmas!
I bought the 3,000 bead box (the one advertised above is 10,000!) which provided hours of fun and cost about £4 (buying the 10,000 box is slightly more economical if you know you will getting through a lot) plus two boards which were about £1 each and the ironing sheet, which was £1.25, I think the whole lot, including postage came to about £10, and I found the official Hama store, www.hamabeads.com to be the cheapest option with the best selection.
Tip: don't let the child loose with the whole box at once as we did, it's a recipe for disaster! After the first incident we put a small amount into a tupperware dish with a tight lid, which was far more child friendly.
I had Hama beads when I was a little girl and then I remember my younger sister having them too, I knew Hama was a really good creative toy and so decided to buy my eldest daughter some for Christmas. You can get Hama beads in three different sizes and this size is meant for ages 5 and up, my daughter is only 4 but I felt she would handle these within problem and so bought hwer a tub from Amazon.
The tub cost me about £8 and I had to buy the pegboards and ironing paper seperately but felt that this was the better option and her collection can always be expanded with extra boards and patterns at a later date. You can buy many different sets of Hama beads from bags of the same colour to numerous mixed packs and tub to themed boxes such as princesses so there is something to suit all children.
This set of Hama beads contains 10000 multicoloured beads and comes in a hard cardboard box, the box has curved edges rather than pointed which makes it more child friendly, the lid of the box fits well and the tub has a handle to carry it buy which makes dropping the tub less likely which would be awful.
The beads are tiny little cylinders of hard plastic in all sorts of colours, this tub is bold colours blue, green, red, yellow, black, pink, purple, brown and white, each of the beads is about 1/2cm in height and about 3mm across so handling them can be a little fiddly. To use the Hama beads you place then hole side down onto little pegs on a Hama peg board to make a pattern or a picture. Once you have finished your design you simply place the ironing paper over the top of your design and then iron over until the beads all melt together and form a seal.
When my daughter first started playing with these they were everywhere but slowly she has realised how to be more gentle when handling them and she is now managing to make pictures happily. The school teach children her age about patterns and she loves making her own patterns up on the boards although she also likes copying the pattern sheet I bought her and making pictures which she is now becoming good at. When you iron the designs they aren't wondefully strong so my daughter did break her first few designs but again she has learnt how she needs to handle them and we have bought her some stands for her to display her designs.
I loved these beads as a child and my daughter is no different, she has to play with these beads upstairs in her bedroom due to having a younger sister so I go up with her sometimes and we make patterns together which she loves. The beads are well priced and you should be able to find a set within just about any price range. I would recommend Hama beads and so would my daughter.
My eldest daughter is now 4 1/2 and is starting school next month. Even though she hasn't actually started school yet, during term time she normally has quite a busy life. She does various different activities and loved attending her pre-school playgroup. As a result of her busy life, she doesn't cope all that well with the sudden break where everything stops for the holidays. She's been kicking her heels around the house and constantly wants to be out and about doing something.
Unfortunately my wallet can not keep up with her desire for entertainment but having her following me like a shadow around the house moaning has driven me nuts. I have tried to look for varous different activities to keep her entertained, and a friend suggested that I try Hama Beads.
Now my girl is a little young for this activity really, but she is quite patient and loves making things so I thought I would give it a go. Hama beads are basically tiny coloured pl;astic beads which you arange onto varous shaped plastic peg boards. You can follw a pattern, or make your own creation. When all the pegs are covered by the beads, an adult would use a piece of special paper over the pegs and then iron over the top. The heat causes the plastic beads to melt and fuse together. Leave it to cool down and then gently peel the whole thing off the peg board. You are left with a complete piece of plastic in the form of your design.
Last week, I visited my local toy shop, to give it a go. I was amazed at the huge array of different sets available. There were different sized sets containing the boards and beads or you could buy the beads and peg boards seperately. I did note that the brand seemed to be quite pricey, so I opted for the smallest set, containing a small seahorse peg board and the relevant beads. This little set only set me back £2.99 which I think is a reasonable price for us to dip our toes into the world of Hama.
Later that day when my bubba and toddler where having their afternoon naps, me and my girl sat down for some quality time with our beads. I got the peg board and beads out and popped the beads into a bowl. The first thing that struck me was how tiny the beads are.... they are absolutely minute. I thought that she would struggle to pick up each individual bead and place them on the pegs but she quickly got the hang of it and was completely absorbed by the whole process. A fair few beads did up on the floor and I think that this is pretty up inevitable but I mangaged to zap the hoover round before my younger two got out of bed.
My girl wanted to follow the pattern and I was amazed how well she did, she asked for help a few times but overall she was happy to sit there concentrating very hard, trying to work it out herself. She was kept entertained until she had covered all the pegs and she was very excited about me ironing her masterpiece.
I used the iron and followed the instructions and then peeled it off, hoping desperately that I wouldn't mess it up for her. It stayed in one piece and her little face beemed with delight when she saw what she had made.
I really recommend this toy, it really does offer hours of fun and there are endless options open for creativity. The great thing is that you can reuse the boards after you have bought them, so you would only need to top up the beads. Fab toy which I loved doing too!!
My first encounter with Hama beads was in primary school when we were allowed to make designs during our free time on Friday afternoons. I think I flirted briefly with making various ugly houses, cars, trees etc. but only recently (in my 20s!) rediscovered the joy of this product.
For those not in the know, Hama Beads come in three different sizes (mini, midi and maxi) and are plastic beads that can be placed to create a pattern or image then ironed so that they stick together and the image is preserved. This is done with an iron and may require adult supervision with children!
Hama Beads come in a variety of different packs. You can buy a large box with a mix of beads, as shown in the photo above, or you can buy sets that include the peg boards that you rest the beads on in a variety of different shapes and sizes. There are large squares and circles for more freedom of pattern choice, but also butterflies and more specific shapes that help with guiding creativity. What I have found is that while the larger packs offer better value for money (in my local Entertainer store, I paid £14 for 14000 beads) the fact that all the colours are mixed up can be quite annoying. The smaller sets tend to have a sorting tray with the colours already separated, which would no doubt be easier for younger children.
The main negative about this product is that for younger children it can obviously be dangerous to have such small parts lying around, but for over 8s it is an ideal way to express creativity and makes a wonderful gift for somebody. The fact that the product needs ironing also means that an adult needs to step in at some part during the process, and it is at this point that things can sometimes go wrong (the tray gets knocked and the beads all fall off for instance), which can leave mum feeling a bit guilty!
The overwhelming positive about Hama beads is that they are good for many ages, and both children and adults alike. Most packs come with some inspiration for designs, which you can either copy or simply make into your own. My favourite thing to do is make quirky coasters for people, they are cheap and fun gifts that you can give to friends and family.
Hama beads are a must-have for anyone who likes creating decorative items.
This is such a versatile product and can be enjoyed by people of all ages. Coming in 3 different size, the beads can be used to create images of varying detail and size. When laid out to create an image the picture will give the effect of a low definition pixellated picture giving the impression of an old 1980's computer image. Although the image will not have a lot of detail, it has a distinctive retro look, which is fashionable at the moment.
Not only can you create images which can then be put on the wall or framed, you can also make jewellery in the form of brooches, necklace pendants, and keyrings making the product interesting for teens, tweens and young adults.
The colours available are vibrant and broad and available as either just the beads on their own, or in a set with a stencil where children can create the image easily by placing the beads on top of the image on small plastic spikes.
The only thing I would say about the product is that you do not need to buy the special Hama paper to iron the beads into position, as it is basically overpriced greeseproof paper, but I would advise buying the peg board with your beads as it makes it a lot easier to keep the beads neatly in position.
The simplest toys are usually the best and as value for money goes you really don't get much more value for your money than this. Ok so they're just tiny blobs of coloured plastic with a hole in the centre but the genius lies in their simplicity. Put them on a Hama peg board one at a time in any colour combination you like, place the special (and very expensive) Hama ironing paper over the top and iron until melted. Voila one finished masterpiece.
To make things extra interesting Hama have produced hundreds of different shapes pegboards covering just about every animal you can think of, people, vehicles, hearts, circles and if thats not enough they also market large squares which can be inter-connected to make even bigger shapes. The only limit is your imagination and to give that a kick start theres a huge range of Inspiration booklets available covering everything from Christmas tree decorations to wedding gifts and hundreds of other things you wouldn't have thought of.
The bigger your pegboard the harder it is to iron. As you move the iron a mini ripple occurs and the beads tend to bounce, particularly over the joint between two boards, so its best to do this on a hard surface rather than a padded ironing board to minimise tears and accusations of having ruined whatever technicolour masterpiece the little darling in your life has spent hours creating.
On a rainy day Hama Beads keep children amused for hours. The downside is they get absolutely everywhere.
Theres a chunky Maxi version available for small children and a mini version for the uber talented with incredibly good eyesight, although you'll need tweezers and a very steady hand to use those.
I remember when I first came across Hama beads in the shops, I thoughtlessly dismissed them as something we wouldn't be interested in. Beads are for girls after all, and I only have a boy. Frankly, I didn't even know what they were all about and I was too ignorant to find out at the time. It wasn't until recently, when two young girls in our neighbourhood were selling fridge magnets made out of Hama beads to raise money for charity that my son expressed interest in them and I too became curious about these tiny plastic beads and the things you can do with them.
I thought it might be worth a try so I ordered a tub of 3000 beads and a multi-pack of 5 small peg boards off Amazon, all for under £10 with free delivery. I was filled with excitement waiting for the order to arrive, more so than my son, whom - I might as well admit it - I tend to use as an excuse for buying toys for myself! I was already imagining all the wonderful patterns I would create with these beads. The idea is that you place the colourful beads in various patterns on the pegboards, and then using a sheet of special ironing paper you melt the beads with a hot iron to fuse them together. As I didn't have any Hama branded ironing paper, I just used ordinary greaseproof paper (a.k.a. baking parchment) which seems to work just as well.
Most Hama themed sets include the beads and the pegboards together, but they are also available separately. The beads come in bags of 1000 or tubs of 3000 as well as jars of 10000 and 15000 for the more ambitious crafter in different colour schemes: primary, pastel, neon, fluorescent, translucent but you can also buy individual colours if you need lots of beads of the same colour. My favourites are the glow-in-the-dark variety, which really take your creations to the next level. The glow-in-the-dark beads come in red or blue and they really do glow in the dark all through the night. I haven't seen these types of beads elsewhere other than on eBay, but they might be available from specialist craft shops as well. They cost around £1.50 per a bag of 1000 beads. You can also buy individual pegboards on eBay, so you can pick and choose according to your needs. I've bought 5 large pegboards for £5 plus p&p from eBay. The pegboards come in different shapes and sizes, such as animals, people, vehicles, flowers, butterflies, hearts or just simple geometrical shapes like circles and squares.
So what can you create with Hama beads? Well, lots of things, really - you're only limited by your imagination! You can make photo frames, fridge magnets, hanging mobiles, jewellery, coasters, door signs, pictures or other ornaments and decorations. Some of the pegboards are large enough to create place mats as you can also link them together. I've found lots of ideas of Flickr, where people post photos of their creations. Some of them are truly striking. You can see them here: http://www.flickr.com/groups/beadmerrily/pool/
The age recommendation for the regular sized Hama beads is 5+. There's also a maxi version, in which the beads are slightly bigger and thus suitable from age 3, while the mini beads allow for more detail and are recommended from age 8-10 onwards. Obviously, none of these versions are suitable for children under 3 years of age as they can easily be swallowed or inhaled.
Much as I like Hama beads myself, I can't help noticing that my son, soon to be 5 years old, doesn't really have the patience to complete even a small pegboard. He will start out with lots of enthusiasm, but halfway through he normally gives up. That's not the fault of the product, obviously. I'm glad that he is at least interested enough to sit down with me to give it a go and he is always very appreciative of my own creations. He loves the glow in the dark ornaments I've made for his bedroom. I hope he will develop more patience and concentration as he gets older and will soon discover the joy of completing a project for himself.
As a little girl I remember having Hama beads and use to spend hours making different design as then getting my mum to iron them (the only time my mum was happy to use a iron)
What are hama beads ?
Hama beads are tiny little plastic rounds with a hole in the middle. You can buy the in different sizes, maxi beads for 3 +, midi beads for 5 + and min bead which are only for adults. I think this a great idea as I do worry with some things that say over 3 are just to small for 3 year olds the different sizes means that little ones find the hama beads easier to handle.
How do they work?
With hama bead you need a plastic peg board, the beads are placed on the peg in any pattern you like and the amount of different things you can make with them is endless to xmas decs to coasters. Once all the pieces are in place you iron the beads with grease proof paper over them and the heat of the iron makes the beads stick together and once cooled your master piece is good to go.
You can buy many sets of hama beads to make a certain design or you can just buy a massive pot of beads around £13 pound and some peg boards and make as many different things as you like, which is what I find the cheapest way to do it.
I love it when my kids ask to play Hama beads as I am always dieing to use them and find my self still playing once the kids are bored and moved on the next thing. And the best thing about these are that they are mess free meaning my house stay tidy and if a few go on the floor them they do go up the hover easily
FACT!!...My kids love Hama beads! Your kids will also love them too, hundreds of brightly coloured plastic pieces, little peg boards of all shapes and sizes and a book of patters to create.
The idea is, you follow the colour coded pattern and transfer your beads onto the peg board. When the shape, pattern or picture is ready, you iron the beads over some safety paper and then peel them off the board. Hey presto, the beads have all been glued magically together with the heat and you have perfectly formed patterns. You can get the kids to make photo frames, Christmas decorations, coasters, Disney and cartoon characters.
You don't have to buy the expensive patterns, you can create the your self.
As a hobby, this is an inexpensive , creativity based pastime which will keep kids of all ages amused. The newer kits have jewelery based projects to follow or themed sets like Disney or Winnie the pooh.
This reminds me of the good old days when Lego was just brightly colored bricks that you built with imagination.
When I first started working with children many years ago, we were introduced to Hama Beads as part of the art and craft sessions the children used to take part in. Since then I have bought them for at home for my older daughter and no doubt will buy them when my toddler gets a bit older.
There are many different varieties and makes of Hama beads, but I have found the traditional Hama beads to be the best around.
** What are Hama Beads? **
Hama beads are tiny rounds of plastic with a hole going through the centre. They come in different sizes to suit ages, so there are bigger ones available for smaller children to help them grip them better, as well as the more standard size which are tiny at around half a centimetre long.
They also come in a variety of colours and you can find pastel shades, primary colours, neon colours and even glow in the dark beads.
To be able to use these beads you will need the special peg boards that can be bought separately or sometimes come with the packs of beads.
** How do Hama Beads work? **
The beads are unique in the way that when you have placed the beads onto the peg boards, they can be ironed with a warm iron which enables the beads to fuse together. This fusion can be lifted from the board and you have a colourful design or picture.
** What do you need? **
To be able to make Hama bead designs you are going to need the beads, peg boards and greaseproof paper to iron the designs. It can be handy to have a design booklet for children to follow but many great creations can come from the imagination as well.
** Different packs **
There are a lot of Hama bead products on the market. You can buy a kit to get you started and this is probably advisable if you've never used them before as you will then have an instruction leaflet.
Single packs of beads can be bought right up to large jars of multi coloured beads. These large pots of beads are the best value for money if your child is into making creations. The only thing is they require sorting into different colours but I think this is half the fun of making a design.
Peg boards are available to buy separately as well as being included in some kits. They come in standard squares that if bought more than one can be slotted together to make a large board. Smaller shapes are available and these come in standard shapes right through to people shapes, vehicles, animals. The list really is endless.
** Prices **
Hama beads vary in price. The cheapest you will buy is probably a single pack of coloured beads at around £1.80 for 100 beads. A pot of 1000 beads is usually around £13, and the packs of boards can vary greatly in price depending on where you shop for them.
I think it's important to note that if you buy the cheaper ones from Ebay for example they won't be traditional Hama beads. I have noticed a slight decrease in quality when using the cheaper ones and I prefer to stick to the Hama make.
** Creations **
Your imagination is the only thing stopping you when you make designs with Hama beads. Basic designs can be made and just kept, but you can make endless items such as photo frames, Christmas tree decorations, Halloween decorations, coasters, plaques and even a scene with different people in.
Little stands can also be made using a few Hama beads. They will then encourage your designs to stand up making them 3d.
** Tips **
To make the Hama creations stronger I have found that once they have been ironed, if you remove from the board and turn over and cover, iron again on the other side and this makes the creation a lot stronger.
Greaseproof paper can be used instead of buying the special transfer paper for ironing. This works out a lot cheaper if you use Hama beads a lot.
It's advisable to keep the ironing area away from children, and keep the creations for a few minutes until they have cooled as they can get very hot after being ironed.
When you have a large tub of Hama beads, keep some in a smaller pot, as when spillages occur they are a nightmare to pick them all up when they scatter around the floor.
** Overall **
Hama beads are a great wet weather activity for children. Their imagination really comes out and it's good for colour matching and motor skills as the beads are placed on the peg boards.
I would recommend children over four using the Hama beads as it does require some patience and also you want to reduce the risk of small children eating the beads and swallowing them.
The whole Hama bead experience is highly addictive and I have been known to spend many a time making my own designs with the children. It can be an expensive hobby, but the peg boards will last for a long time until the ends get ironed down after too many uses.
I remember years ago at an after school club being given these little bead things to make Christmas tree decorations. We were given circular shaped pegboards and told to put the beads on them in a Christmassy pattern. I made the face of Father Christmas and was really proud of my design. I remember then being amazed when they ironed the design for us and removed the design from the pegboard and it stayed in one piece! For years we used my Father Christmas face as a Christmas tree decoration and this Christmas as I hung it on the tree I said to my dad that I hadn't seen the kits used to make them in years and would love to have a go! A week later we were out Christmas shopping in Gamleys for my little brother and I saw a tub of the beads! I convinced my dad to get them for my brother (I knew he wouldn't have the patience but it meant that I could play with them!!) So my dad brought a set of the Hama beads. My brother seemed impressed at the idea but was nowhere near as enthusiastic as me! By Boxing Day I had already made several designs!
I love these and wanted to write a review about them because if you haven't heard about them then get some and have a play!
So what exactly are they?
Now these aren't the easiest of things to describe so bare with me! The kit consists of lots of little brightly coloured beads. They are made from plastic and are cylindrical in shape. The beads come in three different sizes, mini, midi and maxi. The mini beads are 2.5mm in diameter and are recommended for children aged 10 and upwards as they are a lot more fiddly and need lots of patience and co-ordination, the midi beads are 5mm in diameter and are aimed at children aged 5 and over and the maxi beads are 10mm in diameter and are recommended for children 3 years and over as younger childrens concentration and co-ordination skills are not as developed as older children, so the larger size makes the beads easier to use with little hands. Due to the small size of these beads they are not suitable for children under 3 years old as children of that age would not posses the co-ordination skills required. The small beads can also pose a choking hazard so they should be kept well out the way of little children as they are far to easy to stick in their mouth, ears or up their nose!
The kit also contains peg boards which the beads are to be put onto. These can come in all sorts of shapes and colours (although the colour of the board isn't relevant) and the boards can come as part of a set or can be brought separately. Examples of the peg board shapes are; teddy bears, circles, squares, hexagons, hearts, stars, people. Pretty much any shape you could imagine!
A piece of 'ironing paper' is also provided which is used when ironing the design (more on that later!).
How do you do it?
Once you have decided on a pegboard to use you simply place it on a flat surface ready to begin your design. You place the beads on the pegboard until you have created the design you want, The beads are small and fiddly so it can be quite awkward to get them on the peg board and it does take a fair bit of patience! Once your design is complete, you need to place the piece of 'ironing paper' over the design and then apply a hot iron to the ironing paper for a few seconds using smooth, circular movements. The temperature of the iron depends on the size of the beads you have used, for the mini beads you should set the iron to the wool setting, for the midi beads you should set the iron to the cotton setting and for the maxi beads the iron should be set to the linen setting. As you iron the design the colours of the beads will show through the ironing paper to show that the ironing is completed. It is then advisable to leave the design to cool down for a bit (or it will go squidgy and become ruined and you will also burn yourself...trust me!) Once the design is dried you can remove it from the peg board and voila! You have your design!
The pegboards and the ironing paper can be used again for future design but obviously the beads which you have just used wont be able to be used again as they are now part of a design!
The company started of making plastic drink straws in 1991 when it was founded by Malte Haaning. The company moved on to making items such as cocktail sticks, skipping ropes, fly swatters, bird feeders etc (interesting stuff!) but when they realised that the demand for beads was so high they had a bash at making them. The different sized plastic beads were created and became so popular that in 1984, the HAMA name was registered as a trademark. Whilst reading about Hama on the website I found out that the name is derived from the name of the founder of the company: HA = the first two letters of his surname, and MA = the first two letters of his first name. I thought that was pretty interesting!! Anyway, basically hama began making more and more products using their beads and now sell products to over 50 countries world wide.
Other Hama products
Hama are constantly bringing out different shaped peg boards but as well as the standard hama beads and pegboards they sell 'Maxi stick' which are pegboards for little hands (kids aged 3 and up) where the kids actually insert pegs with sticks into a pinboard, Miss Hama which is a set that girls can use to make jewellery (or boys I suppose but it is aimed specifically at girlies!) and bead designer which allows kids to make designs on the computer.
Availability and pricing
There are numerous variations of hama bead sets available. The set we got for Christmas was a large cylinder shaped plastic tub (clear so you can see all of the brightly coloured beads inside) with a screw on lid (which helps prevent spillage!!). Our tub contained 9000 beads of various bright colours (ok so I didn't count them but I am willing to trust the packaging which says there are 9000!!) It also contained a 'boy' shaped pegboard, a 'girl' shaped pegboard, a 'teddy bear' shaped peg board, a sheet of the ironing paper, a leaflet which gives suggestions of designs you could do using the pegboard enclosed and a set of instructions (which are in what looks like pretty much every language under the sun!). Our set cost £9.99 from Gamleys. It would be impossible and unnecessary to list every available set as there are so many of them and there are constantly new ones being brought out! But basically you can buy these beads in all sorts of sets, containing all shapes of pegboard and bead size. The beads can also be brought separately as can the pegboards and the ironing paper. The prices are reasonable and you would expect to pay under a pound for a peg board and beads can be brought in varying sized packs and different colours. The kits are available in most toy shops such as Gamleys and Toys R us but they are also widely available in craft shops and on the internet.
Obviously this toy encourages creativity and imagination in both children and adults. It also develops co-ordination and motor skills as well as patience and if children work on their designs in groups it can also encourage the development of their social skills. The bright colours of the beads encourage young children to form patterns as well as explore how different colours 'look' together. These beads also encourages children to work out ways of 'handling' items in the most effective way, for example the beads can be used more easily if you hold them in between your fingertip and thumb. Children will also be able to choose shapes of the pegboards when creating their design as well as getting an idea of quantities as they discover how many beads are needed for completing designs and recognise that if you use more of one coloured bead in your design then you will need more of that colour of bead (seems simple to use but its something that children actually don't realise until they get practise). Playing with this product will mean that the child is constantly thinking, when my little brother completed his first design he just put beads on willy nilly and then realised that it didn't look like he had wanted to as it just looked like a multicoloured shape, he later began to learn that where he placed the different colours made a huge difference on what the final design looked like. This toy has so many educational benefits to a child's development, whether they work at it on their own or with the help of an adult.
What do I think?
I love this product!! It is so much fun to make different designs and they look really effective once they are completed. You need a fair bit of patience as it will take a little while to complete a design and it can be difficult to use the smaller beads as they can be very fiddly although I find it really therapeutic and enjoyable. As the beads are small they do have a habit of getting everywhere! The last thing you want to do is accidentally knock over a tub of 9000 of these things!! (trust me on that one too!). If you have little kids or pets around then you will need to make sure the beads don't get left in reach of them as they might get eaten! Mind you, the beads are so small that if they were accidentally swallowed its not going to choke you its just not the brightest of ideas! The beads are also made to pretty high safety standards so if they are accidentally swallowed they wont damage your insides.
I love the variety of kits that are available and I think it is good that you can buy the pegboards, beads and paper separately and at a reasonable price. The beads come in a nice variety of colours and the beads and pegboards seem to be of a high quality. The ironing paper and pegboards can be used over and over again (as long as you are careful with the iron!)
The hama bead kits are fun for all the family, are a great boredom preventer for kids and allow you to make some really good designs! The final designs also stay together well (as long as you have ironed them properly) and will last for years as decorations for your Christmas tree!!!
All in all, I think these are a great creative 'toy' but should come in 'adult kits' to stop me feeling like a kid when I play with it!!!!
With Hama beads, children or adults can create their own colourful designs or follow the many ideas in the inspiration booklets. The number of possible designs is endless and limited only by your own imagination. Step 1: Simply position Hama beads on a pegboard either to a design or create your own. Step 2: When finished get a responsible adult to fuse the beads together with ironing paper and a hot iron. Step 3: Your design can then be removed leaving the pegboard free to use again.