I have a whole section on this site dedicated to Perler Beads. Wanna know why? It’s because creating with melting beads is a geeky mom’s perfect craft.
If you aren’t familiar with Perler Beads, they are tiny plastic beads that can be arranged in a pattern on a pegboard, covered with parchment paper, and then melted with a hot iron. When you remove the paper you end up with a fused masterpiece. They can also be called Hama Beads, Melty Beads or plastic fusion beads. I only use Perler brand beads, so I call them Perler Beads.
As a geek, I think one of the coolest things about Perler Beads is their ability to be transformed in amazing pixel creations. It’s the go to craft for geeky gamers like myself. Think about it, you can recreate nostalgic 8-bit art based on Zelda, Mario, PacMan, even Space Invaders. If you don’t want to go retro, think Minecraft or Terraria. The possibilities are endless. Plus, you can change up your favorite characters they way you want to see them. You think Yoshi should be pink? Well make a pink Yoshi.
Wonder Boy always turns to Perler Beads when he can’t find a craft to feed his fandom. He loves searching Google to find neat patterns for whatever he currently loves. Most of the times the pattern he starts with changes as he turns it into his own interpretation.
Perler Beads get added bonus points for the fact they are inexpensive and very easy to use.
Check out my Perler Bead gallery HERE to get inspired.
I thought I’d give you a quick “how to” on Perler beads incase you want to give it a try with your kiddos.
Supplies Needed for Perler Beads
- Perler Beads
- Ironing paper or parchment paper
Let’s talk about patterns for a minute. If you are looking for that perfect pattern there are many places you can search.
- Some Perler bead kits come with patterns.
- Try checking out my gallery see if one there fits what you are looking for.
- Do a Google search for Perler bead or cross stitch patterns. For example if you want to create a Mario. Search for “Perler Bead Mario” or “Mario Cross Stitch” Either type of pattern would work for Perler beads. If you are trying to do a classic 8-bit gaming character (like Mario), you could also do a search on “8-bit Mario.” One last Google search could be “Mario pixel art”
- Create your own pattern. You can use a pixel art app or a spreadsheet with the cells formatted to be squares to make your own pattern. If you were really feeling adventurous you could just create a pattern you go.
Once you pick a pattern, you’ll want to start by putting the beads on the pegboard one by one to replicate your pattern. I find it easiest to start at the top of the pattern and work my way down. That way I don’t bump the pegboard and send beads flying as I’m working.
When you’ve completed your design it’s time to iron the beads. My suggestion is to read the fusing instructions that come with your brand of beads. I preheat my iron to linen with the steam setting off.
Take your ironing paper and cover the beads. Then, iron the parchment paper in a circular motion for 10 – 20 seconds. You’ll know if they have fused if when you lift up the parchment paper slightly, if they are stuck to the paper, they have fused. If they haven’t stuck to the paper, iron for a few more seconds.
Once you are convinced your beads are fused let them cool off. Take your Perler bead masterpiece off the pegboard, admire it for a second. Then flip it over and iron it on the other side.
Voila! You’ve got a Perler Bead masterpiece of your own.