Stop Warped Pegboards: Perler Bead Tape Method

Perler Bead tape method

The Perler Bead tape method demystified.

Do you ever find yourself having a hard time fusing your Perler Bead creations?  Maybe the project is so big that you just can’t get it right.  Or, perhaps you find yourself with warped boards after you’ve melted your beads.  Well hopefully, I can help.  

No matter what the issue, fusing your Perler Beads is truly an art form.  The Perler Bead masking tape method is just a tool to help make your melting a little easier. Just think of it as another way to prepare your Perler Beads before fusing them.   

In this post I’ll demystify the masking tape method and teach you how to do it.  I’ll even explain why you may (or may not) want to use it.  I’d say this is an advance beading technique, so if you are just starting out, you may not even need it.  You may, however, need my Ultimate Perler Bead Beginner’s Guide.

So let’s get started!

Why use the Perler Bead tape method?

Before we get into the nitty gritty, let me start by saying I don’t think the masking tape method is necessary for every project.  In fact, I’ve only used it a handful of times.  It really does have it’s benefits, but for smaller projects it’s really just a waste of time.  

The Perler Bead masking tape method can be helpful with all of the following situations:

  • You find that your pegboards keep getting melted and warped.  Warped boards can happen if your iron is set to high or when you like to do a full melt on your beads.  A warped board is useless.  So is a board with melted down pegs  When using the tape method the pegboard is taken out of the bead fusing equation, so you won’t have to replace those boards again.
  • When using multiple interlocking Perler Bead boards in a project you may find that where the two boards connected there is a line on your finished project.  It really doesn’t look great.  Since the tape method takes the pegboards out of the melting process that line never happens.  
  • When you just aren’t ready to iron, and you need the pegboards.   Sometimes you just want to bead now, iron later.  Since all of us have a finite number of boards, there’s the chance you will run out of boards.  You can tape the project, pull it off the boards, and then use the board for your next Perler Bead piece.   Then, you can iron all your projects at the same time.
  • You like to make large projects.  Fusing a large Perler bead project is already difficult enough.  The tape method makes it easier to melt consistently and you don’t have to worry about all those boards wobbling around.  Plus you don’t have to worry about any of the other things listed above when using the tape method.  You can focus on fusing the beads.  

Supplies needed for the Perler Bead tape method

You need all your normal beading supplies for this method plus masking tape.

Well of course you need tape.  It’s the tape method.  

In this tutorial, I use plain old 1 inch masking tape that I purchased at the Dollar Tree.  Blue painters tape also works well.   The key is that both of those tapes aren’t super sticky, so they will peel off your Perler Bead project easily once one side is fused.

For larger projects, I would recommend using a 2 inch tape.  The 2 inch tape works better for larger projects because you need to use less of it.

How to do the Perler Bead masking tape method

The first thing you will need to do is to make a project that you want to use that tape method on.  I recommend starting with something small for your first try.  By using a small Perler Bead project at first, you will get the idea of how the process works.  Plus if you mess it up, you don’t have to worry about re-making a giant project that you spent hours of your time creating.  

I used a small leprechaun hat for this tutorial.   I would never tape such a small project unless I wanted to wait to iron a bunch of them, but I chose to use for this post because I’d be able to get better pictures for you on each step of the process.  

The first step is to apply the tape.  Tear a strip of masking tape so that is about 1 inch longer than your project.  Hold the tape slightly taught as you gently place it across your Perler Bead piece.  Tap down the tape to get it to stick to the beads.

Taping Perler Beads

I prefer to place tape across from top to bottom, but you don’t have to.  If your piece will be easier to cover in another direction, go for it.  

You’ll want to continue this process from top to bottom until the whole project is covered with tape.  You want each piece of tape to slightly overlap the one above it.  

You can see in the next image how the hat looks when it’s completely covered in tape.  

Perler Bead masking tape method

Once your project is covered in tape you’ll want to apply pressure to each and every spot on the tape to assure it’s stuck to all the beads.  This can be easily done by rolling your masking tape roll over the project.  If you are making a large project using the tape roll would take forever, so just use something larger like a marker on it’s side or a rolling pin.  The key is just to make sure that each and every Perler Bead is stuck to the masking tape.  

To poke or not to poke

One thing I want to mention is that some people will poke holes in the tape at this point.  According to them, the Perler Beads will melt more consistently and not over melt if there is a small hole in the tape for each and every bead It’s punctured to let air the hot air escape.  

I’ve found that for my projects, I don’t need holes.  Honestly, I’m not sure why some people need them and others don’t.  My guess is that it has something to do with the heat of the iron and the amount of pressure applied when ironing.  I wasn’t joking when I said ironing Perler Beads is an art form.  

Anyway, I suggest trying the tape method without the holes first because it’s easier.  If you end up with a hot mess try another small project and poke holes in the tape where each bead is with something like these mini bead tweezers or a fat needle.  Some people even use another board to poke the holes.   

Finishing off with the Perler Bead tape method

Whether you have holes, or you don’t have holes the next steps are the same.  

It’s time to flip your project over.  Gently loosen any masking tape that may have stuck to the tape board and flip your Perler Bead design over so that the beads are now facing up.  

After tape is on all the Perler Beads 

This is easier said than done for large projects.  I recommend creating your project on top of either a piece of plywood or thick cardboard (you don’t have to if you are using the mega board).  Then once you’ve applied your tape, place another piece of plywood or thick cardboard on top of the project.  You can then put your hand under the first piece of cardboard and flip it over.  Yes, it’s as tricky as it sounds, but you can do it.

Now that your pegboards are gone and your tape is under the project you are ready to iron.  Just place a piece of ironing paper on top of the project and iron until the beads are just fused.   For me I set my iron to the wool setting, but everyone is different.  It’s really important that you don’t over iron at this point or the adhesive on the tape may stick to the beads.  

In case you missed it (because this is problem I’ve seen many times), DO NOT IRON THE SIDE THAT IS TAPED.   Seriously don’t.  

Ironing Perler Beads

You can see the tape underneath the beads as I begin to iron the design.

Next you’ll want to let your beads cool.  Then, flip your project back over and gently remove the tape from the Perler Bead art you’ve created.  You can now iron the side that had the tape on it.  

So that’s the Perler Bead tape method.  As I’m sure you’ve already guessed, it takes a steady hand and patience to get it done.   Plus there is a huge margin of error…it would be tragic to bump your beads while you were trying to apply the tape.  

My suggestion, give it a try.  And then use the tape method sparingly.  You don’t need it for every project, but it would be really helpful for some projects.  

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