Perler is actually a brand name that sells fusible wax beads. They can be sold under the names Hama, Fuse, Melt-a-ways, and Perler to name a few. The most popular in my area is Perler and many just refer to them by their brand name. It is pretty much impossible to find Hama beads. I've only seen them for sale from the UK. I have used Fuse and Melt-a-ways. They are ok, but I like the way the Perlers melt. I mixed Perlers and Melt-a-ways once, but it was horrible. They have different melt times so one would be over ironed while the other had barely started melting, so I wouldn't recommend using multiple brands.
- Perler Beads
- Peg Boards
- Ironing paper
|My first attempt was the TARDIS, go figure|
Let's start you off with an easy one. If you are going to make your own pattern, now is the time to grab your grid paper and get creative. I really love 8 bit bows, so I drew a couple out and this is what I came up with. I've seen different stores sell foam barrettes so I thought it would be a really cool project with Perlers. Its a pretty easy design and you can finish really fast. This is really a versatile pattern too because you can change the colors to what you would like and not worry about mucking up the design. You can get really creative and do designs within the bow.
Chose your colors, grab your peg board, and go to town. A peg board will hold your design steady while you create, making sure no beads go running away. If you buy a kit, you may get shaped peg boards like flowers or animals. These come in handy if you are going to this as a project with a child. They can go crazy within the shape and still come out with something looking really nice. Now the beads can be slippery little suckers, but you can place the beads with your fingers, a special tool that has scoop on one end and plastic tweezers on another, or as I prefer, metal tweezers because they're not as flimsy.
It's time to sit back, relax, and enjoy a job well done, right? Well, some projects end here, but it depends on what you are making. Are you making coasters, magnets, something to put on your wall? Do you need to buy a stand or can you make one? With this project I was making barrettes. I got out my trusty hot glue gun and attached the bows to barrettes. I made one for my sister, one for my niece, and for me, well...I made a bow tie. Why? Because bow ties are cool. These are great little gifts to add to a homemade gift basket, or a nice gift to your girly gamer friends.
When you get more confident, you can go after bigger projects. The largest one I have done so far is a Detroit Red Wings logo with a stand. I printed out a picture and just eyeballed it. In the end, I wish I had drawn a pattern first, but you learn as you go.
The hobby stores in my area don't carry a huge variety of colors, so I used pink as the highlighter color. I hadn't yet discovered Kool Stuff 4 Kids.
|Finished the design, just needs the iron.|
|After ironing, breaking, and ironing again|
I will be posting more of my Perler Bead projects here and there. I am hoping to make a 3-D TARDIS that lights up using LED's so it won't get hot enough to melt the beads. I saw one once on Etsy, but it sold, so I'm going to make my own. I'm still trying to work out the details, so if you know about little LEDs, let me know, so far I can only find little individual units for sale bulk.