Perler Beads: To Buy or Not To Buy?

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Milpitas Library

Caden Serros-Stanford, Staff Writer

Caden Serros-Stanford
Legend of Zelda Hylian Sigil made from Perler Beads

Not many people have thought about Perler beads or any other sort of fuse beads more than a little; they may have been a childhood hobby for some, but not much more.

These unassuming little pieces of plastic and spiky boards don’t seem much on their own, but with time and effort very, very nice projects can come of them. Want to create a video game character, or a portrait of your dog? You can model both of those and much more with fuse beads.

Citizen Emma Stanford said that she thought Perler beads were easy to pick up on, and that “Small creations take only about ten to twenty minutes, and large ones can take up to two hours, but usually just take one.” She also noted the ability of the beads to stay together; “They’re durable. As long as I’ve ironed them, I’ve never broken one.”

The way you make a bead picture is not terribly complicated, but takes time. First, find your image. Model off of something or find a pixel art piece to model off of.

Second, get your boards together. You may need only one board for your project or you may need many, but the first steps are simply finding out how many you need and putting them together.

The third step is actual construction, and it can get dicey. These beads are very hardy, so they won’t break, but due to their small size you may need tweezers to place them on their pegs.

However, once you think you may be done with the completed image, remember there is the 4th step; taping and ironing. You must put pieces of tape over your beads carefully, making sure to over-cover by about half an inch or more to ensure it can hold. Never pull up the tape, as it will mess it up entirely. After your creation is taped still on the board, use another board to punch small holes in the tape by lining up the pegs with the middles of the beads, and take it a few rows at a time. Once each bead has a hole in the tape punched, it’s time to take it off and iron. Slowly and carefully flip it over, and put it on a hard surface tape-side up to iron it. Once you’ve done that, you’re done!

All this sounds difficult, but the payoff is great. Perler beads, unlike other brands of fuse beads, seem to fuse much better and hold better. The plastic is a higher quality, and they have far more shades than other brands, which is a definite plus in making more complex creations with differentiating palates.