Friday, December 15, 2017

Hama bead Christmas Wreath

A few weeks ago I decided to organise my stash of midi Hama beads, (which incidentally seems to be getting a little out of hand!) when I had an idea for a Hama bead Christmas wreath.  I've seen tiny little flower wreaths made out of Hama beads before, but I wanted to create my own larger design as a slightly more festive statement decoration.  

Image copyright Craft and Creativity

This flower wreath from Craft and Creativity particularly inspired me.

The large hexagon Hama bead boards are perfect for Christmas wreaths, as the pegs are arranged in a kind of honeycomb pattern, which makes them ideal for images with simple flowers.

In the UK, Hama beads are the easiest brand of fuse beads to get hold of, but there are quite a few alternatives, depending on where you live.  In the US, Perler beads are more popular, but internationally,  I believe that there are also Nabbi, Artkal and Pyssla, along with other generic own brands.  I've tried Hama and Perler beads together and there is very little difference.  If you're looking for a hexagon beadboard, for this project make sure that it's for midi beads and that each side of the hexagon is 16 pegs across.

In the UK, this pegboard would work, while in the US, these pegboards include a midi large hexagon board.

To make a Hama bead Christmas wreath you will need -

Here's the design I worked out after quite a bit of trial and error.  You can print this one out, or you will find a PDF of the image here.

Place your Hama beads on your hexagon beadboard.  I found the best technique was to work around the wreath clock-wise, changing colours with each different element.  

I like to keep my Hama beads in separate boxes so that I can move the box of beads I'm using closer to me.

Once your Hama bead design is complete, place the ironing paper on top of your creation.

With a medium heat and no steam, iron over the paper and beads in a circular motion until all of the beads have melted and fused to the beads around them.  If you look closely you will see that the melted beads will show through the paper better, while the unattached beads will not be bonded to the paper and will be fainter.  Occasionally you will get a Hama bead that is slightly shorter and so it will need a little extra heat concentrated in this area until all of the surrounding beads have melted to the same height.

Gently peel back the ironing paper to see if all of the beads are attached to each other.  Take care not to over-iron your design as it will become tricky to remove.  Occasionally, if you're lucky, the whole of your design will start to curl off the board making it easier to remove.  Thankfully this time, mine did!

I personally like to iron just one side of my Hama bead designs as I like the clean, pixelated look of the unironed side.  To make your design stronger, run the iron over your Hama beads and ironing paper once more when it is not on the board.  Take care not to over-iron, like I did in my first wreath, as the beads can become distorted.  If you look at the bottom of the picture you can see that some of the Hama beads are no longer round - oops!  But, with every mistake comes the opportunity to improve - which is why my final design is a little more detailed than my first.

While your Hama beads are still hot from being ironed, place your design under a pile of books, or a heavy weight.  When Hama beads have been ironed on just one side, they have a tendency to curl, so weighting it down while it cools will keep your final design nice and flat. 

Insert an 8mm jump ring into one of your outer Hama beads, making sure that the bead you choose to insert your jump ring into is attached to 4 or more beads.  I used two pairs of pliers to open and close my jump ring sideways.

Thread a loop of thread or ribbon through your jump ring to hang your decoration.

Once your design is hanging, you will be able to see where the very central bottom of your wreath is.  Tie a bow in some wide ribbon and then attach it with extra strong double sided sticky tape.

If you would like tips on how to tie a neat bow in ribbon, I wrote a blog post which may help you here

We put our tree up a few days ago and it's looking quite beautiful on there, but it would look equally sweet hanging on a door or over a mirror.

Happy Christmas!

Copyright - I have provided the free pattern for personal use.  Make them for yourself or give them as gifts, sell them to raise funds for charity but please do not sell them for profit.  
If you post images of your own versions on the internet, please link back to this page. 
Thank you.

This blog post contains Amazon affiliate links to similar products that I purchased to make the Hama bead Christmas wreath.  If you click through and purchase, I will receive a very small percentage of the purchase price.


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Thursday, December 07, 2017

The Ultimate Hama Bead Storage

For the last two years, my daughter has wanted a Minecraft themed birthday party, and both of those parties have involved the children making Minecraft themed creations out of Hama beads.  For the first party, Hama beads were so popular that we had to restructure the party as we went along to make time for more Hama bead creations!

This is a few of the things the children made at my daughter's first party...

...  and this was the 3D Sqaishey and Minecraft sea lantern that accompanied the cake for her second party.  As you can see, both Minecraft and Hama beads are very popular in our house!

This, combined with my own love of Hama beads, has meant that I've built up quite a collection of Hama beads over the last few years. 

With 6 children all sitting around a table, making Hama bead creations, there will always be a problem of working out the best way to store and use them.  I did start off with them all in a divided box, but this doesn't really work when you have a lot of children, all trying to use the Hama beads at the same time.  Also, what happens if you need to empty a section?  You can't tip the whole divided box upside down.  

If I was going to find a solution that worked, each colour would have to be in its own box, so that it could be passed around a table, and each box would have to have a secure lid.

This 16 box Really Useful organiser is the perfect solution.  Each individual box holds a little under a full bag of 1000 midi Hama beads, is small enough to be passed around safely by little hands and has a secure lid.  In the UK, the cheapest place I managed to find these drawers was on sale at B and Q.  (I've always bought them when they were half price - which is why I have one rainbow set and two clear sets.)  I started with one set of 16 and realised that it would not be enough for the first party, so I quickly progressed to 2 sets.  When the second party approached, I wanted to purchase some glow in the dark Hama beads and so, of course, I needed to buy a third set of drawers.  

I think my Hama bead obsession might be a little out of hand!

I'm really not the most organised of people - like most crafters, I'm pretty untidy, but occasionally something takes over and I manage to sort myself out.

As you can see, each box or drawer has a Hama bead flower stuck on the front with extra strong double sided sticky tape.

I made the flowers on a large hexagon Hama beadboard as the pegs are set out in a honeycomb pattern.

I got so organised in fact, that I labeled each box with the colour name and product code.  (The code is important as different suppliers have different names for some of the colours.)  I'm sure this would make a special kind of person very happy.  It certainly makes me happy anyway!

At the moment I'm sticking with three drawers - I'm not sure I've got room for more. I am very intrigued by those stripy Hama beads though...


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