I'm good(ish) at a lot of things.

Perler Beads

Pokemon Perler Bead

My introduction to the world of perler beads began way back in middle school (around the mid 2000’s if you really must know), when my best-friend would make us fun little animals and what-not out of them. I vividly remember her getting out the ironing paper and melting the beads together. I’m sure she had made plenty of them, but for some reason, I only ever remember her handing me a pink flamingo. Mr. Flamingo has obviously been rehomed since then (probably in a landfill somewhere, sorry Gabby and sorry Mother Earth), but the memory of all the cheap, easy and quick fun has lingered all of these many, many years.

Being a huge member of the nerd and geek scene, I often saw many others engaging in perler bead art online and at conventions even though all of us are adults now and the main audience for this arts and crafts project is children. My biggest influence behind getting started with perler beads would have to be @stencilnation. He is an amazingly talented artist that not only creates original perler bead art, but he is also an incredibly talented spray painter (is that the right word for an artist that spray paints?), and any anime piece he does looks like it came right off the screen of the tv or the pages of the manga.

So I thought, what the heck. It looks fun. Why not dabble in it a bit? It’s another creative outlet for me, and they even have books with patterns to create the art for those that aren’t as creative as one’s self!

My first big mistake was this. DO. NOT. BUY. THIS. MONSTROSITY.

I thought it would be a great idea because I would have hundreds of different colors to work with to start, and it was cheaper than buying individual color packets for all of the different colors. What I didn’t factor in was the time it would take to sort them. If you have younger children and you just want to have fun creating whatever, then this is great! If you actually have a piece in mind that isn’t going to just be a jumble of colors, don’t ever buy it.

Perler actually sells individuals packets with just about any shade of color you could want, so please, save your sanity and buy those instead. Or just buy the pre-made kits if you just want to be creative and have someone else create the pattern and sort the beads for you while you just put them together. If you do buy the separate packets of colored beads, I recommend either getting some Ziplock baggies to put them in or small perler bead containers. You don’t have to buy their special ironing paper either, you can just use parchment or wax paper from the grocery store.

Once you have your creation pinned to the perler board, now it’s time to iron them! Make sure to put the ironing/wax/parchment paper on top and get to melting. I usually hold the iron in any given spot for about 10-20 seconds at a time and will test that the beads have melted together adequately. If you’re not careful, your beads might not be melted enough and you might end up with some beads stuck to the board and others to the paper meaning that you now have to piece everything back together (watch my epic failure in this TikTok video) If so, flip it over on and start melting on the other side. Make sure that when you flip it over, you line the bead holes up still or you’ll have little lines and dots melted to the other side ruining the smoother appearance you’re probably going for.

And there you have it! You have completed your first perler bead project!

My hope with the perler beads was to one, have fun. And two, hopefully make a little side cash making Christmas ornaments, keychains, magnets and larger custom pieces, which I’ve been able to do a little bit (as in, one of my besties at work has been my only client).

Perler beads are definitely not a project for those with super young children (choking hazard, hot iron), but definitely age appropriate for the older kiddos in elementary school and up. It’s a relatively cheap hobby, and tools can be purchased as JoAnn’s, Michaels and on Amazon.

If you’re interested in any perler bead commission work, hit me up on my Facebook page where I have a little mock store set-up!

What is your favorite perler bead project that you’ve done? Anybody planning on starting their perler bead journey after reading this?

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