Water balz, also called water gems or water beads, can be found online through websites such as Amazon.com. Joann Fabric and Craft Stores, Oriental Trading and Hobby Lobby also stock these water-expanded beads in their floral section.
After being soaked in water for several hours, these small polymer beads expand to several times their size. The hydrated material is often used as container filler for both artificial and live flowers, providing an aesthetically-pleasing alternative to plain water. Some use the beads in sensory play with older children as the texture of the beads resembles gelatin.
Manufacturers produce these water beads in a variety of colors and sizes. Most beads return to their smaller size once left to dry out. Beads can be re-hydrated and used repeatedly. The beads range in price from $1 to $5 for a small, commercially-produced bag as of 2015.