I have a confession to make. The first "Hama beads" that I ever purchased weren't real Hama beads. They were these ones:
To be fair, in my naivety I didn't realise the difference. They were shelved with the Hama bead packs in the toy shop, they looked identical to me, and most importantly, they were temptingly cheap. When we got home I soon realised my mistake. The beads were slippery, the pegboard pegs too short and the beads were easy to knock over. It was frustrating for me, and even more so for Harry. When ironed, the finished design went all brittle and easily snapped.
Fortunately I didn't let the experience put me off, and we rectified the mistake with a big box of genuine Hama beads and some authentic pegboards, and we never looked back.
Until a couple of weeks ago that is, when I was in my local craft shop stocking up on real Hama beads and I was pointed towards some new stock - very cheap kits of beads.
It was only £2.20 for the pack so I picked one up for Mia. It had a transparent board with a coloured template to go underneath that I thought might be good for her to have a go at. Unfortunately it was a disappointment. The template didn't match the board, both in colours used and in the positioning of the beads. The beads were slippery and far too fiddly for Mia, (who has been coping fine with real Hama beads for months) and worst of all there weren't enough beads to even complete the design properly.
I will make one exception when it comes to imitation Hama beads. I've bought a few packets of the Picture Beads brand from Hobbycraft, and they work very well. Although at £2 a pack they are actually more expensive than the genuine standard coloured beads in my local shop, they do work out cheaper for the more specialised types of beads, for example the glittery and glow in the dark beads.
So let this post be a warning to avoid cheap Hama beads, and if you've been put of Hama beads with a bad experience of cheap imitations, please give the real ones a go, as they are so much better!
If you are looking for a way to use up some cheaper Hama beads that you've collected, I've blogged about some crafts that use melted Hama beads.