perler beads,

The Difference Between Perler, Hama, Fuse, Melty, and Pyssla Beads

9/18/2013 House of Geekiness 1 Comments

Not All Beads Are Created Equal

When it comes to Fusion Bead Crafts, not all beads are created equal. Seriously, there's a HUGE difference between brands, and buying the wrong ones is terrible experience, not to mention a big waste of money. In my time working with beads, I've experimented with different brands, trying to find the least expensive, best quality, color variety, etc. So anyhow, here's my rant:

Fuse Beads 

"Fuse bead" is the general term for any of these beads which are melted (fused) together, not a specific brand type.

Pyssla Beads

Sold by companies like Ikea, pyssla beads aren't the worst out there, but they're not very good quality. The beads aren't as thick or pliable as the best quality beads are, so the end result is a creation that looks good, but isn't very durable, breaking apart fairly easily.

They have slightly curved edges, and a shiny sheen once fused, which makes them look different than other beads when used. (See "Perler, Pyssla, and Melty Beads Side by Side" below.)

Melty Beads

Don't be fooled by cheaper prices, melty beads are the worst beads I've tried so far. Sold by companies such as Walmart, these beads are TERRIBLE!

 Their shapes and sizes vary, so you can't even use the tweezers included in their packaging to pick them up and handle them. Their slightly cylindrical shape is wider at the edges, and their middles are not always hollow, as they should be. About 10% of the beads in the packages that I bought were so misshapen that they weren't usable.

As pictured here, a lot of the beads are so poorly formed that they have a bit of excess plastic bits that hang off the side. In the two packages that I bought, I found some that actually covered the entire bead, and some that didn't have a hole in the middle at all, making them completely useless.

Melty Beads do NOT fuse together well, so anything made out of them breaks really easily. When they are melted, they tend to form a horseshoe shape instead of a circle. (See "Perler, Pyssla, and Melty Beads Side by Side" above.)

Perler, Pyssla, and Melty Beads Side by Side

Nabbi (Photo Pearls)

As promised, here's is another experiment. This time, I tried combining Perler and Nabbi (Photo Pearls) beads. I tested them in two different ways:

The yellow stripe is Nabbi (Photo Pearls), the rest Perler Beads. They melt differently, overall, the Nabbi beads tend to look thicker and shiny as they melt.

When overly melted (which I do on the back of most pieces to make the bonding stronger), you can see that the Nabbi (Photo Pearls) -yellow- shine while the perler beads have more of a matte finish (except for random spots that end up looking shiny.) They also retain their circular shape and are raised in in the middle while the perler beads lose their form and flatten evenly.

Perler Beads

Perler Beads and Nabbi are, by far, the best quality beads that I've tried. Read about where to find the best Perler bead supplies here. All perler beads are uniformly shaped, except for extremely rare mistakes - I've seen about 5 or so beads out of around 300,000+ that I've handled that cause the bead to be slightly shorter than the standard size. They are made of high quality material that is slightly flexible shape when fused together, which makes for a more durable creation.

Hama Beads

Hama Beads: Dark blue, light blue, yellow, white, and red.
Perler Beads: Pastel blue, light yellow, pink, black, green, purple, and orange

Hama beads have a much different feel to them than any bead I've used. They are actually a bit smaller than other beads (making it difficult to handle them with the perler tweeze tool and they didn't want to stay in place on the pegboard!), and the plastic feels almost soft, and when they're fused, they become almost spongy--they still retain their shape, but they're much more flexible than any other beads so far. This flexibility might be helpful when crafting items that will be handled by children who tend to bend them. They will break if handled too much, but they'd probably withstand more than other beads. ***Please remember that ALL small items can be potential choking hazards for babies and small children!***

Hama beads have a lower melting point than perler beads, and you can see from this picture that they look quite a bit different when melted. The hama beads ended up being noticeably shorter and more rounded at the top (like nabbi beads) than perler beads. They also have a bit more gloss to them than Perlers.

Which beads are best?

Before fusing, left to right: Hama, Perler, Pyssla, Nabbi, and Melty Beads

Fused Beads

Which is better? I like both Perler Beads and Nabbi (Photo Pearls), but might try Hama if it were cheap enough, and I was making stuff for my kids. I would use Nabbi if I wanted the evenly shiny look, but otherwise, I'd use Perler or Nabbi, whichever is cheapest or on hand. As you can see from the picture of Rainbow Dash (above), it doesn't seem to look much different in the big picture.


Coming soon: Artkal Beads, Hama Mini, Artkal Mini

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    1 comment:

    1. Thanks for your ranking, but what about hama??? I work with hama and I am happy but I haven't tried perler beads