Wednesday, December 07, 2011

There is something quite therapeutic....

Hama Beading
We were first introduced to Hama Beads more than a few years ago when the lovely Merry of Patch of Puddles fame began selling them.  I thought it was an interesting concept - small beads with holes placed on a board in picture or pattern formation, then ironed for keeps.  We just had to give it a go.

Initially we bought a big packet of multi coloured beads and some peg boards.  All of the children have enjoyed playing with them  at various times of their lives and numerous creations have been made.  I confess that I did get pretty lazy with the ironing stage (I don't iron clothes, the iron is just kept for hama beads!) and on more than one occasion completed designs ended up being knocked and spilled on to the floor due to being left for too long. 

Bad mummy.

Lessons have been learnt though - immediate ironing is necessary or the results may be disastrous in a busy household of 7 + 2 furries.

Over the years it has been interesting watching the formation of designs by my different children.  Tiegan went through a phase of not trying to create recognisable pictures, but instead just filling up the peg board with various coloured beads and creating patterns.  Now I see Callum often does the same.  The peg boards come in various shapes and sizes, with more designs being added all the time.  We started off with basic shapes such as squares, circles and stars, but now have quite an array including a pony, a girl, a squirrel, and a butterfly.  We also have a pattern design book similar to this one which has been a real inspiration to the children. 

Sometimes my children just like the beading process and don't want me to iron the result, preferring to recycle the beads back into the box for use another day.  This was the case when Chelsea made these riding and pop-up clown designs so I hurriedly took a photograph instead.

Hama Beads

Chelsea's hama clown

At other times I have been hastily summoned to the ironing board in order to secure a design such as in the case of this rainbow and dog.

Hama creations

The rainbow was created by Tiegan using a circular board when she was four years old.

Tiegan Hama Beading

Hama rainbow

Not so recently Merry asked for people to review a hama-beading kit from her site over at  Apologetically, life (and illness) got in the way of me getting on and writing down my thoughts, but finally here they are.  

We were sent the Dinosaur set which can be found here, and the Garden Night Life set to be seen here.  I shall talk about each individually.

The dinosaur set consists of approximately 2000 mixed coloured midi beads (recommended for age 5+), 2 square shaped peg boards, and a design sheet with images of 3 dinosaurs to copy.  Also included are 6 stands so the dinosaurs can be stood up once completed, hama ironing paper, and instructions.

As this kit only has square boards, the creator has to count the pegs on the board and match them with the squares in the picture as they are beading.  If anyone reading this has done counted cross stitch as a hobby previously, they will understand the process.   This certainly makes the design process longer and may frustrate younger children.  Callum (6 years old) really loved the idea of this kit and was keen to make the blue dinosaur shown on the box.  He wanted to change it a little though, and decided to outline the figure using a darker shade of blue.  After 2 days of short bursts of beading time, he completed it and Freddie was created...

hama Bead Dinosaur

I must confess that I worried about ironing this not so little fella.  Due to it's size, it is created using both boards supplied in the kit (they fit together like a puzzle piece).  With the hama ironing paper on the top, I ironed over the beads (whilst they were still on the boards) using a dry hot iron working back and to for a minute or so.  I kept lifting off the paper carefully to see if all the beads were fused, replacing the paper and repeating as necessary.  Once cool, the paper was removed and I lifted the design from the board.  I turned it over and with the paper on top as before (but no board) I gently ironed the other side for a sturdier piece. It can be a little bit daunting knowing you have your child's hard work in your hands, but it does get easier as you get more confident with the process.

Freddie is already much loved and takes pride of place on the windowsill of Callum's room.  I think I will mount him in a frame after Christmas.

At only £6.95 the kit is an ideal stocking filler for Christmas for any Dinosaur loving child.  For those with younger children (aged 3+ due to choking hazard) there is also a Dinosaur Maxi Bead Kit, priced at just £5.95.  This kit includes one dinosaur shaped board and 250 larger sized beads.

Tiegan (9 years old) took rather a fancy to the Garden Night Life kit.  This kit is very different to the Dinosaur one as it has glow in the dark beads (and yes, they really do glow!), and shaped peg boards so no counting is necessary to make up the designs.  The set contains approximately 2000 beads, 1 butterfly peg board, 1 flower design peg board, a design sheet, hama ironing paper, and instructions.

It didn't take long for Tiegan to come up with designs she was happy with - but clumsy mummy knocked them off the shelf *blush*.  They were soon recreated though, and now after ironing (as before) they look like this...

hama bead Flowers

Aren't they pretty?  Very quick and simple designs, but effective.  I'm not sure what we shall do with them.  I may frame them, add them to a painted canvas, or make a garden themed mobile to hang in the girls bedroom.  You can buy special Mobile Rings if you want to.   I shall add pictures of whatever gets done with them when completed.

The Garden Night Life kit is priced at £8.95 from Craft Merrily and it comes highly recommended by the Pollard girlies :)

There are plenty of other hama bead designs and kits available from Craft Merrily, click here to see the range of Maxi (3 years +), Midi (5 years +) and Mini (10 years +) beads available.  You can also just buy tubs of beads and a couple of boards and let imagination take place.

Our recent hama makes also include...

This festive house design, complete with glow in the dark windows and cotton wool snow.

Festive House

A more complicated hama bead greenhouse created by Chelsea (aged 16)...

  Hama Bead Greenhouse

and a small very quick to make red heart that we are going to hang on our thankful tree as a decoration.

Hama Bead Designs

We love hama beading as it ticks so many boxes.  It's obviously fun to do and great to see how creative you can be, but it has an educational value too.  Just as an example, there is the counting aspect, and working out symmetry for some of the designs.  It's a great tool for improving hand-eye co-ordination and some children like to use the beads for colour sorting.

As I was going through my photos I founds this one of Tiegan aged four sorting out the many colours...

Hama Bead sorting

It's a great rainy day activity, assisting in the development of creative play. It's also a useful tool when you need something quiet for the children to do.  Characters for puppet-type shows can be made and played with (although gentle play only, the ironed creations won't last if roughly used).   The only downside is of course the clearing up to be done afterwards - particularly after an accidental spillage!  The beads are relatively cheap though, so a few being lost in the hoover is no great loss.  We often do the tights pulled over the hoover nozzle trick in the case of larger quantities.

So if you are in need of a present for a girl or boy, head over to Craft Merrily and spend your pennies!

Further hama inspiration can be found here:


  1. I'm so glad I'm not the only bad mama who leaves Hama bead works of art lying around to be knocked over!! We love Hama beads here - I bought some for my eldest for her fourth birthday, and she played with them every single day that year!

  2. Ooh I have seen thse before, I confess to not entirely seeing the point, and I do not have an iron.... but I think Rye would love this, so I shall have to invest; and it does look rather cool :-)

  3. This is a lovely review - thank you very much :)

  4. Julia, Julia - wherefore art thou Julia?? I hope you are all OK - you have been very much missed of late, and I miss reading your family doings... Hope your December is panning out not too hideously busy. Merry Christmas to you and yours. xxxxx