How to Shrink Water Beads

Water beads, also known as water marbles or jelly marbles, are small colorful balls made from a super-absorbent polymer that can be used for decoration and sensory activities.

How to Shrink Water Beads

The polymer absorbs water and swells soft and squishy, making them fun for all ages. However, if the water beads are left in the open for too long, they shrink and become hard. It is important to know to shrink water beads to their original size if you want them to last longer.

The main advantage of shrinking water beads is that they are easier to store, transport, and use. This process is also significantly cheaper than buying pre-shrunk water beads. Shrinking your water beads can save you money in the long run since they’ll last longer and won’t have to be replaced as often. In this blog post, You will learn how to shrink water beads.

Step-by-Step Processes for How to Shrink Water Beads

Step 1: Inspect the Water Beads

It is important to inspect the water beads before attempting to shrink them. Ensure all the beads are clean and free from debris or dirt. If there is any residue on the surface, use a damp cloth to remove it.

Step 2: Prepare the Water Beads for Shrinking

Place the water beads into a bowl or container that is large enough to hold all of them. Fill the bowl with cold water until it covers the beads, and let them soak for at least 1 hour. After soaking, drain any excess water from the beads using a colander or strainer. Remove as much liquid as possible to ensure that they shrink properly.

Use a Damp Cloth

Step 3: Boil a Pot of Water

Fill a pot with enough water to completely submerge the beads and place it on the stove over medium-high heat. Bring the water to a boil and then reduce the heat so that it simmers. Carefully add the soaked water beads to the boiling water. Allow them to simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Step 4: Remove the Beads from the Water

Once they have simmered for 10 minutes, carefully remove the beads from the pot with a slotted spoon or strainer and place them in a bowl or container. Rinse off the beads with cold water to cool them down and get rid of any excess starch residue.

Step 5: Dry the Beads

Spread a clean, dry towel on a flat surface and spread the beads on top. Allow them to air-dry completely before storing or using them for crafts or decorations. Once the beads have dried completely, place them into an airtight container and store them in a cool, dry place.

Now that you know to shrink water beads, you can enjoy these little colorful gems in various crafts and decorations. These steps are a simple and easy way to shrink water beads. You can create unique creations using these shrunken beads with just a few supplies.

Place Them Into an Airtight Container

Precautions for How to Shrink Water Beads

  1. Always wear protective gloves and safety goggles when handling water beads to avoid potential skin irritation or eye damage from the small beads.
  2. Keep water beads away from children and pets who could choke on them if ingested.
  3. Place a cloth or towel underneath the container of water beads to catch any that spill over.
  4. Read the instructions on the water beads package before using them.
  5. Follow all safety precautions when heating or boiling water beads, as they could be a fire hazard if not handled properly.
  6. Avoid breathing in the fumes from heated or boiled water beads, as they may cause respiratory irritation.
  7. Dispose of any unused or shrunken water beads safely, following local guidelines.

Following the abovementioned precautions, you can safely enjoy the creative fun of shrinking water beads. With these safety measures in place, you can focus on having creative fun without any risks or hazards.

How Can You Store the Water Beads After They Have Been Shrunk? 

Once you have shrunk your water beads, you must store them properly to ensure they stay in good condition. You can store them in the container they came in (or a similar plastic storage container) or an airtight jar or container.

When using a plastic storage container, ensure it is big enough so the beads are not crowded and can move freely. When storing the water beads, keeping them away from direct sunlight/heat and in a cool, dry place is important.

Using a Plastic Storage Container

You should also avoid leaving air gaps inside the container because this can cause the beads to become brittle over time. If there is too much moisture in the storage container (from condensation, for example), remove any excess moisture and dry off the beads before storing them.

Water beads can last for many years when stored properly, so it is important to take care of them if you want them to remain usable. If you keep them cool and dry, your water beads should remain in good condition for future projects or activities.

Are There Any Health Concerns Associated With Water Beads? 

Water beads are generally considered safe for children, but some people may have allergies to the material they’re made of. If someone in your family has an allergy or sensitivity to certain materials, always test a small amount of water beads before allowing them to play with them.

Also, keep in mind that although water beads are non-toxic, they can be a choking hazard for young children, so always supervise them when playing with them. Additionally, because water beads can be slippery, using them in areas with good traction, like a rug or mat, instead of on hard surfaces is best.

If you want to shrink your water beads, take the same precautions as above. As with any small objects, they can be a choking hazard if swallowed, so keep them out of the reach of children and pets. Additionally, water beads are made from polymers, so they will shrink when exposed to heat or sunlight.

To minimize the risks associated with this process, always use gloves when handling hot water beads and never attempt to force them into a desired shape, as the heat can cause them to melt. You should also avoid using open flame when shrinking your water beads, which could create a fire hazard.

What Kind of Care Should You Give Your Water Beads? 

If you use water beads, there are some steps you need to take to ensure they remain safe and functional. First, keep them out of direct sunlight as this may cause them to shrink more quickly or be damaged by the intense heat. Secondly, it’s important to keep your beads away from sharp objects.

Even the strongest beads can be punctured and cannot hold their shape. Finally, storing your water beads in an airtight container when you’re not using them is important. This will help keep them from drying out and losing their shape.

Now that you know how to care for your water beads, it’s time to learn how to shrink them. There are a few different ways that you can do this, depending on the size and type of bead you’re using. For smaller beads, such as those used for floral arrangements or crafts, you can use hot water to shrink.

Boil a pot of water and add the beads to it. Allow them to sit in the hot water for a few minutes, then pour off the excess. The beads should be significantly smaller after this process.

Boil a Pot of Water

Are There Any Environmental Concerns Associated With Water Beads? 

Water beads have become a popular sensory material for kids and adults, but some have raised environmental concerns about them. Water beads are usually made of polyacrylamide, a plastic polymer that is not biodegradable. Because they can’t be broken down naturally, water beads can accumulate in the environment if improperly disposed of.

Additionally, some experts are concerned that water beads can disrupt natural ecosystems when they enter bodies of water. They can absorb large amounts of nutrients from the environment, which leads to a reduction in available resources for other aquatic life.

Heat or cold temperatures are the best way to shrink water beads. This is usually done by placing them in hot or cold water for a few minutes and then letting them air dry. This will reduce their size without breaking them down so they can be reused or disposed of properly.


In conclusion, shrinking water beads is an easy process that can be achieved with a few simple steps. All you need is some hot or boiling water, a container to hold the beads, and, optionally, a filter. Heat your chosen liquid and submerge the beads for 5-10 minutes.

Then strain the beads and let them cool down before using them in your projects or activities. Reading this post has helped you learn how to shrink water beads. Make sure the safety precautions are carried out in the order listed.

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Jennifer Branett

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