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

7/10/2017 Laura Watkins 52 Comments


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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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    52 comments:

    1. Have you ever had or heard of someone having a reaction to the fumes produced by melting beads?

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      Replies
      1. No, I have never heard of someone having a reaction like that. Interesting and a bit scary! Have you?

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      2. i have multiple chemical sensitivities and the perler beads do not affect me

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    2. Girl, you need to fix this.... melty beads and pyssla beads are exactly the same as Peler beads. I use all three and they work the same. Don't spread false information.

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      1. They're really not. This is the actual truth that's I've discovered through testing these beads myself in my own home.

        What brands have you tried and from what stores? The manufacturer makes a huge difference!

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      2. That's not false at all! Melty beads are crap. I've been making sprites for almost 10 years and I prefer Perler over Walmart any day of the week.

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      3. That's not false at all! Melty beads are crap. I've been making sprites for almost 10 years and I prefer Perler over Walmart any day of the week.

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      4. I think the same than Laura. I'm a beginner, but I've already noticed by myself all the differences declared in this post.
        Laura, what about Artkal? I've never tried, but I'm curios. It has a wide range of colors !!

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      5. They work the same in the basic sense but thats like saying a Gucci watch and a Kids watch from Walmart are the same. You can clearly see yourself in the comparisons above how different they are.

        I live in the UK where Hama is our main brand and Perler is hard to obtain. We also have a company here called Hobbycraft. Their own brand beads are pretty decent and I would recommend them.

        Of all of the ones I have tried the Pyssla beads are the most different. They are considerably thinner than the other brands.

        excellent post and a great resource for new spriters :)

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    3. I was told i can put them in the oven, rather than ironing, is this true?

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      1. Putting Perler Beads in the oven works for some types of crafts (like these: http://www.perlerbeads.co.za/craft-projects/) but I would never put a pegboard in the oven--it would melt too!

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      2. If you are careful, you could set a piece of parchment and an oven-safe plate on top, then flip the whole thing over. That way you can remove the pegboard and bake it that way.

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      3. Oh yeah, I just got a variable-temp woodburning pen that has this flat circle of brass that you could easily fuse a few these plastic beads together with. That's actually why I checked out your blog entry. I was trying to figure out what they are made of. Think I heard polyethylene somewhere, which is fairly low-temp. Anyway, you can glance at the woodburning tool here. walnuthollow.com/store/wood-burning/tools/items/creative-versa-tool-/38283

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      4. I use my flat iron for my hair for my kids small projects

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    4. Hi, thanks for that review. I'm new at this, and just bought my first beads (nabby, apparently, happy to hear they're of the OK kind... I didn't even know there was a difference). I found some Playbox beads in a shop near my home, and they're not that expensive. Are they any good? Thanks much in advance.
      Ziv

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    5. Simbrix is the best I think. No faff and no iron needed. Awesome.

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    6. Hi, how are you.
      do you know what material the fuse beads are made?
      here in my country is harder to find it so I was thinking about to produce my own beads, maybe with recycled bottles plastic or I buy the specific material.
      If I buy on websites about aliexpress or ebay, I need to waiting about four months to arrive here.

      someone can help me with some informations that can I produce my own beads ?
      thanks guys.

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      Replies
      1. According to the manufacturer, they're made out of a food grade plastic. You can try contacting them (https://www.perler.com/contactus) and see what if they'll tell you, but it might be considered a trade secret.

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      2. Probably PLA, I use it for 3d printing. Has low melting point, corn based, but is very brittle, almost not bendable, and generates a nice smell when melting.

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      3. I'd guess PE(HT).
        Melts at above 130°C and doesn't smell. You can recycle HTPE from Ketchup bottles or cleaning products. It's number 2 in the recycling sign and PEHT.

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      4. The Chinese (Alibaba) state food grade EVA.

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    7. Hi Laura! Thanks for the comparison - some good info here.

      Have you ever heard of a version of the beads that is physically smaller? In order to get a slightly higher resolution sprite in a smaller area I mean...

      Thanks either way!

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      Replies
      1. Yes! Here's my review of Perler Mini Beads: http://houseofgeekiness.blogspot.com/2016/05/perler-mini-beads-vs-perler-midi-beads.html

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      2. Awesome! Thanks Laura!

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    8. Melt beads are crap.... they melt unevenly, take to long or melt to fast, they are not fused well and I'm sorry I ever wasted my money on them. I'll let the kids play with them, but for bigger projects that I'll sell I'm going for perler!

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    9. Melt beads are crap.... they melt unevenly, take to long or melt to fast, they are not fused well and I'm sorry I ever wasted my money on them. I'll let the kids play with them, but for bigger projects that I'll sell I'm going for perler!

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    10. Hey great post. You really clarified clearly the difference between all the different types of beads.

      My company manufactures crafts and toys and we created a new type of bead that's very unique and has been a massive hit with all the schools and camps that we've introduced it to and, within time, it will replace perler beads.

      I was wondering if you'd be open to reviewing our product on your blog.

      If yes, you can email me at yoni@econocrfats.com

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    11. correction. my email is yoni@econocrafts.com

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    12. What is the length of a perler bead?

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    13. What is the length of a perler bead?

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    14. This was a useful post and I think it's fairly easy to see in the other reviews, so this post is well written and useful. Keep up the good work.Shaped Pouch Manufacturers

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    15. Do all pegboards work for all beads? I have a ton of mini Perler beads but only have square boards and would like different shapes.

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      Replies
      1. Unfortunately, different brands are different sizes so the pegboards might not be compatible. From what I can tell, the Perler mini beads are 2.6 mm, Hama mini beads are 2 and 3 mm, and Artkal mini beads are 2.6 mm.

        Hama (https://www.hamabeads.com/shop-mini-beads) and Artkal (https://artkalfusebeads.com/) both sell a variety of mini bead pegboard shapes.

        Personally, I never use anything but the square (and very rarely round boards) because you can find ways to adapt pretty much any design into a square grid. Is there a specific design I can help you with?

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    16. Have you checked Artkal so far?

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    17. Hi!
      Do you know if Pyssla beads (IKEA) fit the Perler pegboards?

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    18. man, i always thought perler was a hama product. shows what i know!

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    19. Very good comparison, thank you!

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    20. My Hama beads pattern fell apart when I tried to take it off the Pyssla board... thanks to your post I know why, thanks :)

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    21. Hi....do the perler beads fit the pyssla boards?

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    22. Hi...do the perler beads fit the pyssla board?

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    23. Great Post! Thank you so much!

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    24. Here's a useful video to see beads quality test done to different brands. Actually, Perler and Artkal are the best brands out there: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xe0433-bwCE

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    25. hi ther,I am new I saw a nice perler bead box made.Ilove it and also want to do it,but bit confused with the melting part.does that mean in certain time the whole box will melt or what?please help

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    26. Hi,

      Funny to see this comparison! Thanks for that :)

      I spent my entire childhood using Hama beads as I live in Denmark and the perler ones are not available here (and actually the word perler just means beads in danish, so for us, perler beads is a funny pleonasme).

      Hama are by far the best I've tried maybe also because I'm used to the way they melt! My kids tried some other kinds and we threw them all out - they were thin and did not fuse very well. It seems that you iron them much more than I do (especially if you mix them with your other beads).

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      Replies
      1. Ha that's funny! Now I know one word in Danish. :)

        I've heard that Perler Beads are hard to get in Europe. Sorry. I love them. I don't usually like to mix beads because of different melting points but if you can do it right it's a great way to get a wider variety of colors.

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    27. Beadifier is a popular tool for converting images into plastic fuse bead patterns.
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      ReplyDelete
    28. Thanks, for such a great post. I have tried and found it really helpful. For more details to visit Cold Heading Wire.

      ReplyDelete
    29. Ive used Melty Beads as a slight color difference (lighter brown, goldish yellow) than the pack of perler beads i have (the bucket of ±8500 beads). Are the colors different for other companies compared to Perler? Or do i need more perler colors?

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    30. Thank you so much for this post! I'm currenly using the IKEA ones and the limited colours can be frustrating.
      So glad that Perler ships to my country. I googled Perler and all kinds of beads showed up!
      Cath Lee

      ReplyDelete