Emily got her first dose of Perler beads while I was away at Blogger Bash. It all started with Oak Hill Country Day Camp, where Emily made her first creation. That very same day she was being picked up by her grandparents from camp to head on down to Rhode Island for a sleepover. Emily somehow persuaded her granddad to take her to her favorite store on earth, Michael’s, to pick out a craft. Guess what she chose? Yup, a whole box of Perler beads and the rest is history.
Getting Started with Perler Beads
When I came down to RI to meet up with them, the Stow kids had made so many wonderful creations and were so excited to show them all to me. Even Owen (age 4) was loving Perler beads.
These little tiny beads keep the whole family busy. Since their first discovery, the Stow kids have spent days creating all sorts of fun things with their Perler beads. Everyone’s gotten in on the Perler bead action, even Granddad, Grandma, Daddy and me! It takes FOREVER and a lot of patience to create the bigger ones. Since that first day, there have been about two more trips to Michael’s to get even more Perler necessities – like the HUGE board to create the HUGE PARROT! The parrot quickly became Daddy’s project and it took a couple of hours!
How to Iron Perler Beads:
After a Perler project has been laid out on the board, it must be ironed to fuse the beads together. Most Perler kits come with a special sheet of paper for ironing. However, regular parchment paper also works great. After placing the paper over the creation, a dry iron on medium heat is used to gently heat the beads until they start to fuse. The beads start to become visible through the paper as they melt. The trick is to iron the entire creation evenly so the beads melt just enough so they stick to their neighbors. Once the first side is fused, the design is carefully removed from the peg board and flipped over for ironing on the other side. Daddy has been doing all the ironing for the Stow kids, here are a few of his tips:
- Keep the iron moving and watch for beads to begin to melt. Keep an eye out for beads that are not melting and apply more heat to those areas.
- Be sure that beads near the edge of a creation are melting enough — especially pointy extensions and beads that only fuse to one other beads.
- Be sure that beads near the middle of a larger creation are melting enough. Nothing’s worse than removing the creation only to have beads fall off.
- Use the tip of the iron to selectively melt stubborn beads (some colors seem to melt at slightly higher temperatures).
- Be careful not to melt the edges of a creation too much. They will start to melt more easily than the middle.
- Be gentle when peeling the paper off the first time, keeping an eye out for loose beads that need more ironing.
- For large creations (like our parrot), work in small sections with a piece of paper smaller than the whole creation. A large piece of paper will tend to lift beads as you iron.
- For large creations, try to make sure there are no beads that haven’t melted and then flip the creation on the board with the paper still attached. Then gently remove the board and use another piece of paper to iron the second side. This should prevent the breakage of any delicate parts or loss of loose beads when flipping.
- After ironing the second side, flip the creation back over and iron the first side again to prevent the creation from curling as it cools.
Perler Bead Creations
Here are some of the kids’ favorite and biggest creations:
Perler Beads are the perfect craft for a rainy day or killing some time in August before the kids go back to school. My kids LOVE them and they are 8, 6 and 4. If you’ve got a younger kid who wants to try Perler beads, they even make BIGGIE beads for those tinier fingers. A Perler bead kid would also make a great birthday present for a crafty kid.
What are your kids into these days? Are you a fan of Perler beads? I know, I know, they end up all over your house and may even be worse than Legos.