Beads made from plastic can be ironed to manipulate their shape and permanently bond them together. The most popular and readily available type of meltable plastic bead is a Perler bead, a thin cylinder shape with an open centre. These come in a huge variety of colours and are all the same uniform size, making them ideal for detail work. Other plastic beads can be ironed, but your results may vary depending on the size, shape and composition of the beads.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Perler or other plastic beads
- Peg board
- Perler ironing paper
- Clothes iron
- Ironing board
Place the pegboard on a flat work surface and add plastic Perler beads to create a pattern.
Carefully move the pegboard to the ironing board without disturbing the beads.
Turn on the iron. Choose the hottest available setting, usually the "Linen" setting is the hottest on a home iron.
Top the beaded design with a sheet of ironing paper.
Place the hot iron on top of the paper-covered design. Hold the iron in place for 10 seconds, then move it to a new location. Continue until all beads are melted. You will be able to tell that they are melted by looking at the paper. Remove the iron and wait for the plastic to cool, usually about two minutes.
Remove the design from the board and turn it over. Top with the paper and iron again. Let the design cool, then remove the paper and use the finished design as desired.
Tips and warnings
- If you don't have ironing paper you can use baking parchment instead.
- Follow a pattern or create your own design with beads before ironing
- Place the beads from the centre of the pegboard out--you will be less likely to disturb beads you have already placed.
- Melted plastic is hot, don't handle your project until it has cooled.
- Don't attempt to melt glass beads, they won't melt, but they may burn and emit a noxious odour.
- Don't iron the beads without using the paper--the beads will melt and stick to your iron.
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