I was recently given the opportunity to review some Aquabeads. Regular readers will know that Hama beads are a crafty favourite in this family, and so I was very interested to try out the Aquabeads to see how they compare. I received the Aquabeads Deluxe Set which retails for £19.99 to review.
The Aquabeads Deluxe Set contains over 1200 beads in eight colours in a divided case, a base tray, eight template sheets, three base boards to place the beads on (each with a different configuration for the beads), a bead pen to help you place the beads, a sprayer to fix the design and full instructions. With this set you can make a small photo frame, a desk tidy and a variety of different pictures.
The Aquabeads are small, round, solid beads. They are placed on the tray, either with fingers or with the clever little bead pen that picks up a bead and drops it when you press a button on the side. The base boards fit nicely onto the base plate with the template underneath, and they are clear so that you can see exactly where to place the beads. When your design is completed you simply spray it with a fair amount of water and leave it to dry. The coating on the beads dissolves slightly in the water which sticks the beads together before you remove your creation from the base plate.
The beads are very small (and bouncy!). Harry (5 1/2) found them a bit fiddly to place at first but he soon worked it out, and he loved using the bead pen. Because he was placing the beads directly onto the template he had no problems making his designs.
Once you've sprayed your design you need to wait at least an hour for the beads to dry, meaning that you can't make another design straight away on the same board. This pack includes three boards though, so you don't need to stop creating. The finished piece peels away from the board quite easily once dry, and then you can respray it on the other side just to make sure that it's solid, and they feel very firmly stuck together.
The huge advantage that Aquabeads have over Hama beads is that children can complete the whole process themselves, they don't need to wait for an adult to iron their creation as they can just spray it themselves.
It's also very easy to make 3D designs, either by layering up different flat pieces or making small boxes. All the pieces can be packed down quite small so it's easy to store (although the divided storage tray for the beads didn't keep the colours separate for too long!).
Harry has really enjoyed doing this set, it's something that he can easily get on with by himself while I'm making dinner which is great. Mia is a bit young yet (it's recommended for age 4 and above) and it's too fiddly for her at the moment, but it won't be long before she's able to have a go. Harry has had several crafting sessions with the box and he hasn't completed all the projects yet, so there's plenty in the set to keep children occupied.
You can buy refill packs for the beads and also a variety of themed sets with different designs and project ideas.
I received this kit to review, Amazon link is affiliate.