I work with children in an after school program. They range in age from 9-12 years old (4th through 6th graders).
We do a lot in our program, from homework help to cooperative games. We also do a lot of arts and crafts. My “work kids” are especially interested in arts and crafts, even the boys.
We try and make seasonal and holiday crafts, as well as every day projects. Sometimes my “work kids” are content to do easier things, like color, paint or make things with the Perler Beads.
No offense to Perler Beads. I think they are cool and all, but I am tired of having to sweep up half the container off the floor. I am also not a fan of having to iron the finished creations.
Due to safety concerns, we don’t let the kids iron the Perler Beads, even if they do so at home.
Thank goodness for Aquabeads. Aquabeads are similar to Perler Beads, but instead of ironing the finished design, you spray it with water.
Lets compare the two when it comes to children. Which is safer? A scolding hot iron, or simple tap water? I think we all know the answer to that.
Aquabeads are similar in size to Perler Beads, maybe a smidge bigger. Unlike Perler Beads, Aquabeads are shaped like tiny balls.
I was sent to review two different Aquabead sets;
- Beginners Studio – This set contains more than 840 shining jewels and solids beads for plenty of options for creative play.
- Deluxe Studio – This set gives you even more including more than 1,300 jewels & solid beads.
Check out this brief video about Aquabeads so that you can see for yourself how extremely easy these are to use to create things.
The Beginners Studio is a great set to start using Aquabeads. I’ve never used them before, so I like having something more simple to work with. Some of my “work kids” have used Aquabeads before, so the Deluxe Studio was a better option for them.
I appreciate that combining both sets we have plenty of beads and designs to choose from.
The Beginners Studio comes with over 840 beads in 16 different colors. The Deluxe Studio has a whopping 1,300 beads in 24 different colors.
You can actually stack both sets so they stay together. This is a handy feature when packing up at the end of the day. It makes clean up a lot easier.
Both sets come with trays that you work on, the beads, designs, tiny spray bottles for the water and “pens” to help you handle the beads. The pens make things A LOT easier compared to trying to use your fingers. You can use just your fingers if you want, but it won’t be as easy as using one of the Aquabead “pens.”
The pen that comes with the Deluxe Studio has a wheel on the end that allows you to collect and easily dispense a variety of colors. Personally I prefer the Deluxe Studio pen over the standard Beginners Studio pen. I like that you can collect all the colors you need so that you don’t have to stop creating to pick up more Aquabeads.
There is a considerable size difference between the two. The Deluxe Studio is bigger and has more room for storage. It also comes with two design boards instead of one.
Each set comes with different templates, which is nice. You can mix and match each template with the different sets.
The templates are super cute. They feature a lot of animals (elephant, horse, turtle), cars, flowers, bugs and more.
What I like is that each design does not use a lot of the beads. With the Perler Beads you often have to use dozens of beads to complete a design. With the Aquabeads you don’t need that many. If you opt to create your own design and not use one of the templates, then the amount of Aquabeads you use would depend on the size of your design and how complex it is.
Using Aquabeads is simple. Simply slide your template into the appropriate spots on the word station. Next, using one of the Aquabead pens, add the beads to cover the template. You don’t have to use the same color beads that are on the template. You can get as creative and as colorful as you want.
Once you are done with the design, spray some water on it with the included spray bottle, or your own spray bottle.
Spraying the water is an “issue” with my work kids. Some want to soak the beads (making the place soaking wet) where as all you need is enough to coat the beads to “activate” whatever it is that makes them stick together. Just make sure to get all of the beads in the design wet with the water, otherwise you might have a bead or a few beads that don’t stick. Thankfully it’s an easy fix. Simply put the bead back where it belongs, spray it with water, and let it dry.
Once your design has been sprayed with water, let it dry to completion before handing it. Both sets give you a special drying tray that frees up your work station so that you can keep on designing and not have to let drying pieces take up valuable space.
Once your design dries, you can handle it.
I’m not really sure what to do the designs. I want to try and attach jump rings to them to see if the kids can make key chains with them, or maybe charms for necklaces. In the mean time, my “work kids” are content to just keep making and collecting them.
This is not that hard to use. Once you get used to using the pen (do it slow and steady), the rest is a piece of cake. If you do it too quickly, beads will come out and roll around your tray. If that happens, simply move the bead to where it belongs using your finger.
Aquabeads are available at many retail locations, including Amazon. There are different sets and refills available, including Frozen, Toy Story, Disney Princesses and more. There are also free templates on their website.
For more information about Aquabeads, visit AquabeadsArt.com. The brand is also on Facebook and Instagram. Those lines are found at the bottom of their website.
*I received free product samples in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.