Wishlist: The Odd Delights of Clear Magic Water Beads - Atlas Obscura
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Wishlist: The Odd Delights of Clear Magic Water Beads

They’re supposed to be decorative, but they’re best thought of as toys.

Water beads: not just for vases.
Water beads: not just for vases. Rainbow Water Beads

It looks like a bowl filled with water. But drag your fingers through that water and gelatinous spheres suddenly appear, only to vanish again as you withdraw your hand and the surface calms.

This is the kind of outrageous fun you can have with translucent water beads.

Made from a highly absorbent polymer, water beads begin their life as small, hard balls about the size of Nerds candy. When immersed in liquid, they expand over a period of several hours. Once at their full size, the beads are delightfully squishy—a bowl full of them will attract many a grabby hand. And if you add enough water, you can do the invisible-spheres trick shown above.

The only downside to using water beads as a toy (typically they’re used in centerpieces or for crafts) is that they tend to get a little funky if you don’t change the water regularly. For an algae-free experience, rinse the beads every few days.

Clear Water Beads
$7.75, Amazon

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