How to Turn a Picture Into Perler Beads

Written by jason thompson
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How to Turn a Picture Into Perler Beads
(Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Perler is a brand of fusible plastic bead. Fusible beads are mounted on a special pegboard to create a design, which is then heated with a domestic iron. The ironing fuses the beads to make a permanent image. You can use commercial kits, but it's often more fun to turn a favourite picture into a bead pattern. Small, simple designs can be converted by tracing the image onto graph paper or squared paper. For bigger, more complicated projects, you may prefer to use software.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Image
  • Scanner
  • Computer
  • Image editing program
  • Printer
  • Graph paper
  • Coloured crayons or pens
  • Bead board
  • Perler fusible beads
  • Tweezers or beading tool
  • Pencil with eraser
  • Ironing paper
  • Iron

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  1. 1

    Scan the image by placing it face down on the scanner, and pressing the "Scan" button. Your system's software should automatically run the scanning process. Once the image is scanned, save it to your hard drive under a suitable file name. If your image is online, right click it, and select "Save Image" from the drop-down menu.

  2. 2

    Open the image in an image editing program. If you do not have such a program on your computer, you can use a free online image editor. Crop the image, using the "Crop" or "Sizing" tool in the editing program. If there are many colours in the image, reduce the number to just a few using effects from the onscreen menu such as "Posterize." Erase any unnecessary details.

  3. 3

    Print the image and place a piece of thin graph paper or squared paper on top of the printed image. You should be able to see the picture through the graph paper. Trace the picture with coloured pens or crayons. Each square coloured corresponds to a bead to be placed there; each square of the graph paper corresponds to a location on the pegboard. As a result, each graph paper square can contain only one colour.

  4. 4

    Place the fusible beads onto the bead board. Follow the pattern created on the graph paper. Start at one edge of the pegboard and work your way across. Some fusible beads come with a special tool to push the beads into place. If you don't have one of these, use tweezers. The pressure of your fingers should be enough to push the beads down, but if one or two are stiff use the eraser end of a pencil to press them into place. Make sure each one is exactly where it should be according to your pattern.

  5. 5

    Place ironing paper over the beads. Iron the completed image through the ironing paper to fuse the beads into a solid object. Once cool, remove the design from the pegboard.

Tips and warnings

  • To save time, you can print directly onto the squared or graph paper from your computer.
  • Don't allow children to use the iron or let them stand too close while you are using it.

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