Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Make // Perler Bead Coasters

I may or may not have bought these Perler beads for myself. The pretty colors! The geometric shapes! The pixelated Minecraft-like look…Why did I not think of creating with these before?

I have a few Perler Bead ideas in mind; Some conventional, some not. One of my non-conventional ideas turned into a craft fail (boo!)…  but I think these coasters turned out pretty cool.

This is obviously not something you'd want to start if you're in a rush. If anything, this is a project that makes you slow down and focus. Sorting through 22,000 tiny, little beads will do that!! Like most mundane creative craft projects, I find that it's a good stress reliever and a brief reprieve from the nags and irritations of everyday life.

Click "Read more" for the full post

Perler Bead Coasters

Materials Needed:
Perler Beads
Large Square Perler Bead Peg Boards**
Large Hexagon Perler Bead Board with other shapes**
Ironing paper or parchment paper
Transparent Shelf Liner (optional)
Strong Adhesive (optional)

**After reading many reviews, I decided to buy the clear pegboards. Many reviewers complained that the solid-colored boards warped after one or two uses. I've used my clear boards 10+ times and haven't had any problems!


The basic instructions are simple! Make a pattern on the board. Heat the iron to med-heat. Place a piece of ironing paper over the beads. Using smooth, circular motions, iron the design for 10-20 seconds until the beads fuse together. Remove ironing paper. Carefully remove design from peg board and let it cool on a flat surface. Place a heavy book on top to keep it flat.

Each side of the coaster measures 21 beads across (4-inches). I didn't really have a master plan but just picked out some colors that I thought would work and started creating. I found it easiest to work from the center on out. I also marked off the four corners of the square with a bead so that I would have an idea on size and scale. Some designs came out better than others… it's one of those learning curve things.

Ironing the Beads… Here's where things vary--
I've noticed that some choose to iron both sides of the beads-- They iron one side while the beads are still on the board, then take the design off the board, flip it over and iron the reverse side. It gives a softer, less pixelated look.

Others prefer to iron the beads until the holes disappear and the design is completely smooth.

Since I prefer a more pixelated look, I do a good job of ironing the "bottom" of my design while it is still on the board. I don't iron the top of the design at all. So far my coasters are hanging together pretty well. It helps that I also use a strong adhesive… But more on that later!

Anyhow, if you're worried about your design falling apart, you can lightly iron the top of the coaster. The look will be softer and more… melted looking. :)

It's all a matter of preference.

Turning Your Perler Beads into Coasters--
I'm going to state the obvious here--  Perler Beads have holes in them. Therefore these coasters, as is, are NOT waterproof. So if you put a drippy, drink on it, the tabletop will get wet.

You can obviously melt the beads until the holes disappear, but it kinda messes with the pixelated look and it still won't be waterproof enough to protect your furniture. Lets just say I still wouldn't be confident using these coasters on Grandma's antique coffee table.

What to do? Add a Liner. If you're using these indoors, I'd use a thick felt, cork or even a ceramic tile with a felt bottom.

Since I'll be using mine outdoors on my weather-proof patio table, I decided to use clear shelf liner.  It may not be 100% waterproof, but it'll help strengthen the overall coaster… And honestly, I don't really care if our patio furniture gets wet. Cut the liner to size, then adhere it to the back of the coaster using a strong adhesive.

Keep Away from Heat!
So here I go stating the obvious again-- These should NOT be used as hot pads! These beads melt quite easily so keep them away from anything hot. I'm thinking a cup of coffee may be okay… Hmmm, maybe I should test it out.

For the coasters, I gravitated toward a quilt-like floral pattern. They actually remind me of Hawaiian quilt patterns. However, I'm really more of a geometric person. Here's what I'm currently working on--
This is pretty large (6-inches wide) and would be a nice trivet for a glass vase or pitcher.

My designs are one-dimentional, but if you're looking for a more 3D look, there are a ton of floral ideas on this Pinterest board.

Oh, and if you're concerned that I'm hogging all the beads from my kids… never fear! They came up with a few designs of their own. We'll be assembling them into something fun. I'll be sharing their designs next!

sharing with…