Edit: 12/13/2014 I just found out that hiking dave was sold and is no longer available for making amazing Perler Bead designs. The new owners have moved it to Hobby-family.dk. I haven’t gotten the chance to try it out, but I looked quickly at it. It’s not in English, but looks very similar to Hiking Dave. The only thing I can see different is I couldn’t find a way to edit the pattern. You can give it a try. I’ll get out there soon myself and try it and up date you on this post. I considered removing this post completely, but I wanted a place to keep you updated if you have this bookmarked. Let me know in the comments if you try this new site out.
I’m in several Perler Bead Facebook groups. These groups are great for sharing, asking questions, and inspiration.
The one question I see time and time again is: “Can someone make this image into a pattern for me?”
This constant need for Perler Bead patterns prompted me to share one way of designing your own Perler Bead design. It’s fairly easy to use this Perler Bead pattern maker, and you can use any image you desire.
Now, if you are want a pattern for something simple, you can check out my resource for the 10 best places to find Perler Bead patterns. BUT if you’ve searched and searched and still can’t find that perfect Perler Bead design, make it yourself using Hiking Dave.
There is definitely a learning curve for using this resource to make Perler Bead patterns, but it’s worth a try if you are interesting in creating your own one of a kind Perler Bead designs.
Pros of using Hiking Dave Perler Bead pattern maker
- It’s super easy to use
- It’s free
- It has the most current Perler Bead colors
- It tells you how many beads you will need of each color.
- You can adjust the palate to include Hama, Artkal, or Nabbi beads
- The pattern can be changed after it’s generated.
- You can download a copy of the pattern you’ve created.
Cons of using Hiking Dave to generate Perler Bead patterns
- It is only for use on square pegboards
- The Perler Bead pattern it generates may be way larger than you can ever create.
- It can be time consuming to edit your patterns.
Creating Perler Bead Patterns
I’m going to take you step by step through using Hiking Dave’s Perler Bead pattern maker.
For ease of writing this tutorial, I’ll use a fairly simple image to create my Perler Bead design. It’s Game Boy clip art that I found on a free for commercial use website. Don’t ya think this will make a great Perler Bead piece?
First things first. Using your favorite web browser, go to HikingDave.com.
The image below is what you’ll see when you first get to his Perler Bead pattern maker.
You will need to upload an image and make a few choices. Do do so you must select “Choose File” down near the bottom of the form.
First you’ll be asked if it’s a photo. It’s a simple yes or no question. Since my picture is of clip art I’m going to select no. That sets the pattern maker to make a Perler Bead pattern at actual size.
I don’t want mine at actual size.
I tried it. The pattern was 28 rows and 17 columns. It used almost 90 thousand gray Perler Beads and over 40 thousand black Perler Beads. NEVER going to happen.
Instead of using the actual size, I changed mine to 1 column wide. You do that by using the drop down that says “Max Pattern Width”. It’s fun to play around with this option to see the different detailing you get depending on the number of rows. Obviously, the more columns you choose, the more detailed your Perler Bead pattern will become.
The next thing you will have to do is select the bead size. There are two options. Mini beads and midi beads. The pegboards are different sizes for each, that’s why there are 2 options. Midi beads are the standard size beads, that’s what I use and that’s what I selected.
Next you will need to select the brand of bead you will be using. Hiking Dave’s Perler Bead designer defaults to Perler Beads, so you don’t need to make a selection if that’s what you are using. If you are using a different brand of beads click on the words “Adjust Bead Palette” It will bring up the image below. You can just select the type of beads you are using at the top of the screen. Or if you want to get more specific in your color selection, you can select individual colors.
The last variable on the site is “Image Color.” It’s kind of like a mini photo editor where you can adjust the colors, hue and contrast of the image. You can skip this step if your image is already the way you like it. It’s fun to play around with, but I’d rather edit my photos else where.
Each time you make a change to one of the above main options you will need to select the box to “Update Design.”
Once you click “Update Design” the Perler Bead generator is going to work it’s magic. The more pegboards the design uses, the longer this can take.
When it’s done, you’ll see an image of the Perler Bead pattern, the colors needed, the number of each color needed, and the size of the design. There are even handy links where you can buy the colors you need from Bakers’ Kids Crafts. I’ve never ordered from them, but I hear they are pretty awesome.
Here’s what I got with my Game Boy clip art.
Nope it’s not perfect, but it looks pretty darn good.
Now you may get lucky and get the perfect pattern right off the bat. I never have. BUT you can thankfully adjust the pattern using the palette that you’ve selected.
Adjusting your Perler Bead Pattern
This step can be really easy or it can be really hard. It depends on the number of pegboards your Perler Bead design is using.
Let’s talk really easy, since I purposely used this Game Boy clip art because it was simple.
When you look at the Perler Bead design that was created you should be able to see the areas where you will need to make some changes. Just click on the image and it will bring up the board where that section is on the pattern.
Since I notice the biggest need for change at the bottom of my pattern, the image below is of the second board when I click.
Each of the squares can be clicked. So, click on a square that needs to be changed on your Perler Bead pattern and click.
This brings up the palette, as pictured below. You can just click on any of the colors and that square will be changed to the new color.
You’ll keep selecting individual squares until the image is exactly the way you want it. Yes, you must select one square at a time.
So as you can already surmise, if you only need a few changes, you can quickly make them. If you need a ton of changes you might be there awhile working on it.
Here’s my finished Game Boy Perler Bead design.
Looks good, right?
I’m ready to download the pattern. Thankfully, the site will download the file to your computer for you to reference at any time. If you want to check out how it looks, click for my Game Boy Perler Bead design. It’s 4 pages, but scroll, there isn’t much on the first page.
Ok, so now that I’ve showed you HOW to use Hiking Dave to make Perler Bead patterns you can go out there and try it.
One word of warning though. When using this Perler Bead pattern designer for photos the amount of work needed to update your photo to Perler form is HUGE. You could spend hours tweaking it. I suggest starting by using some simple clip art to understand exactly how the site works before delving into such a big project.
Hiking Dave is not the only Perler Bead pattern maker, but it’s a great start for someone who’s looking for a free option for pattern creation.