Geeky Crafts: Perler Beads

All of you know by now that I’m a geek. What you may not be aware of is that I also love to make things!

Yay, crafting!

I do a lot of painting, some sketching, Perler Bead sprites, and I’m learning to crochet. If you followed me when I wrote on Geeky ‘n Girly, you may recall my post stating that I was going to be doing Perler Beads. I even went as far as to create an Etsy for it and try to sell them. Well, that didn’t go so well but that didn’t stop me from selling them locally and just making them for fun.

Most geeks/nerds are familiar with Perler Beads. If you aren’t, they’re basically beads that you put together into a pattern on a pegboard and then you melt them together to make images.

For geeks, perlers are the perfect recreation of the old school video game sprites that we love! In truth, it has become so popular that there are perler patterns for just about anything is available. Simply google perler bead patterns or hit up Pinterest. Trust me, my perler patterns have their very own board on Pinterest.

Perlers are a lot of fun and can be easy or highly complicated. I tend to prefer the simpler sprites that are nostagic for me, but I’ve also made some of the more cutesy types.

What to Buy:

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Most of these items can be found at Hobby Lobby/Michaels and you’re local Walmart.

Beads – These can be sorted or mixed. I recommend both since it gives you a variety. Then when you figure out which colors you really want to use, you can go back for the individual packs.

Peg Boards – Definitely buy the ones you can interlink in case you want to go big with your creations.

Wax Papers – This is a must. Don’t apply heat directly to the beads or you’ll have a mess.

Masking Tape – The thicker, the better! This is used to remove your completed sprite from the peg boards.

Clothes Iron– You’ll need one if you don’t have one to melt the beads.

Toothpicks – Or something similar to puncture holes in the masking tape to prevent air bubbles.*

How To – Steps:

  1. Look up a pattern or make it up! Again, you can find patterns online by googling or using Pinterest.
  2. Place beads on the pegboard in the pattern.
  3. Apply masking tape to the completed pattern so that it covers every bead.
  4. Take something flat like a credit card and press the tape against the beads to assure they stick.
  5. Use a toothpick or pen to puncture a few of the beads’ holes.
  6. Life the tape with beads stuck off of the peg boards.
  7. Set the pattern with the beads facing down.
  8. Take your peg board and line the pegs with the holes you’ve already made. Press down until the pegs puncture the rest of the beads’ holes.
  9. Flip the pattern over with beads facing up.
  10. Cover with wax paper.
  11. Apply iron in circular motions using an even amount of pressure until beads appear wet through the paper.
  12. When beads are melted, leave wax paper and set something flat and heavy on top so that the sprite doesn’t warp while cooling. A thick book or two will work.
  13. Wait 10-15 minutes before removing the heavy item, wax paper, and tape.
  14. Done!

Tips for Beginners:

  • Turn on your iron while you’re putting your pattern together. It helps to save time.
  • Don’t iron the beaded pattern while it sits on the plastic peg boards. The heat will warp the boards!
  • *Be sure to puncture holes through the tape to allow air to escape. If not, you’ll create air pockets that will cause the holes to enlarge when you melt the beads.
  • To get rid of all holes and create a flat sprite, use extra but even pressure when ironing until you see the beads melt together completely into tiny squares. Don’t iron for too long or you’ll seriously flatten them out!
  • Don’t use wax paper that’s been folded, or if you do, don’t put the creases on top of the beads. When you iron them, you’ll actually iron on the crease which will create an indentation on your sprite!
  • Have Patience! Perler Beads require a good amount of time and patience depending on what you’re trying to make. There will be times that you bump it, knock it, and otherwise mess it up. The good news is that it can be fixed!

If you’re a picture or video person as far as instructions go, there are many websites and videos to be found on how to make Perler Bead sprites.

The only thing I recommend is to pay attention to the tips above. They were hard learned lessons!

Now for the fun part! Below are some of the sprites that I’ve made so far.

Happy Perlering!

cho-g1

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14 responses to “Geeky Crafts: Perler Beads

  1. Very nice! I see these all the time whenever the Japantown mall has an event. Plenty of artists make and sell these products and I love them all! I have a Chrono and Marle themed picture frame that I still need to put on my desk when I clear out my stuff.

    Your stuff is pretty amazing from the photos! Definitely a fan! With so many sprites to go by, there is plenty you could do! Any sneak peaks on what you’ll be making next? πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! ^.^

      Japantown mall? :O I need one of these in my life.. But anyway, the online selling of the sprites didn’t go so well but I actually made that set of My Little Pony’s for a friend’s daughter. (They took me about a week’s worth of after work time.) So I feel like they could sell really well at events if I wanted to premake a bunch and rent a space. I just wonder if I’d even break even on the cost of the rent, you know?

      But alas, its a ton of fun. It relaxes me when I work on a piece because its a steady process that holds your attention long enough to keep all the negative thoughts out. At the same time, you don’t have to be super focused.

      The amount of options is what boggles me. What do I pick?! Maybe I should post a poll every now and again to see what people want me to make. And maybe I could do a give-away. πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

      • The mall is pretty awesome ;P. And wow, a week’s worth of time post work? That’s definitely a time consumer! But they’re really amazing! If you try taking these to conventions or events, renting a table would probably cost you a few hundred dollars at most. I think conventions/events go into this realizing artists aren’t going to be making a huge amount of profit, so it kind of helps.
        I’m glad you’re enjoying the work. Hobbies are definitely important to keep the mind sane and relaxing. (It’s honestly why I started mine haha) So it’s good you can throw your attention on something you really enjoy and create something really amazing.
        For options on what to make/sell at events, I’d definitely recommend going through the making tiny phone charms and keychains. Sell them for like 2-5$ so they’re more of an impulse decision and reel them in with the big stuff after. I see tons of people selling rupees and pokeballs, so having those kinds of things in small cute forms might be good for pushing sales. The impulse purchase could lead them to buying more stuff. That’s honestly what got me to buy the perlers I have. I saw a pokeball phone charm that I got for a friend and then I bought a few more things when I saw how cute and affordable they were. I think that would serve better than an online site as impulse decisions work better in person. Online shopping is harder because people take the time to really think about it.
        I don’t know what to tell you about what to do first. With all art, I let the talent decide! ;P A give away would be pretty fun! Definitely a good incentive for readers. I look forward to future posts about it as I’m greatly interested to see you do more with this! Can’t wait! πŸ˜‰

        Liked by 1 person

      • Wow, thanks for the advice! I really didn’t have much of a game plan in place for selling them locally, but those are certainly good ideas. I do want to become more involved with my crafting, but my hobbies are many and I don’t always make the time for all of them. Lol. And when considering that my PS4 is on it’s way and that I’ll probably have it next week, I’m sure crafting will have to wait until that “New Toy Joy” fades out a little. πŸ˜€

        I’ll keep the polls and give-aways in mind for sure. I think they’d be fun and then maybe I’ll let some winner pick custom sprites. ^.^ We shall see!

        Liked by 1 person

      • That sounds like a great battle plan! Glad I could help you on that πŸ˜‰ Keeping up with hobbies can be pretty difficult, but I’m sure you’ll manage! You’ve got a great thing going on with these perler beads and I’m definitely looking forward to seeing more of your work! The poll and give-away ideas sounds fantastic and could definitely help push sales for your product!
        I hope you enjoy the PS4! Any ideas on what you’d be playing first? ;P

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks a lot! πŸ™‚

        As for the PS4, I ordered the bundle with Little Big Planet 3 and I’ll be buying FFXIV Wednesday when I get payed. It’s likely it’ll just be those two for a while because the boyfriend and I just moved into a new place. Now, of course, we want new furniture ha-ha.

        Liked by 1 person

    • They are a lot of fun and very rewarding! I even got my not-so-geeky boyfriend to make one with me. It was nice quality time! πŸ™‚

      If you decide to make some, feel free to share pictures. I’d love to see what you make.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, for sure! You’ll be the first to see it.

        Guess who’s going to the local arts&crafts store this weekend. LOL

        We found really awesome designs online. Sephiroth, Loki, and Ultron will be the first on our list.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Lol!! Awesome.

        Just FYI, you’ll find that the more complicated designs use beads of all hues. You won’t necessarily get these colors in mixed packs you find at local arts and crafts stores. I had to special order like pale pink, pale nude, ect, ect.

        But any general old school character or cartoon and you’re good to go. Let me know if you want the link to the website where I ordered my unique bead packs.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh no, I’ll start with small designs and work my way up. (I’m seeing Minecraft items all over my workspace) Yes, please. Need all the help I can get! Lol. Thank you! You are awesome!

        Liked by 1 person

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