Perler beads are a surprisingly versatile craft material. They were originally marketed to children, but have been used to create cute geeky hair clips or "sprites" of video game characters, among other things. Perler bead keychains can be a great way to accessorize a purse, backpack, or lanyard in a unique and inexpensive way.
- a pack of assorted Perler beads
- "pegboards" to make them easier to shape (optional)
- an iron
- parchment paper or Perler ironing paper
- key chains with rings
- open jump rings or thread
- an image of the design you want to make (optional)
- Gather your materials. While Perler beads, jump rings, and Perler accessories can usually be found in craft stores, you might have to order the key chains online. You can also just use string to attach your creation to the item you're accessorizing.
- Prepare the work area. Pull out a pegboard, if you're using one, or use a hard, iron-safe work surface like a wooden table.
- Prepare to iron. If using a pegboard, carefully transfer it to an ironing board and turn on the iron. If not using a pegboard, leave the beads on the surface and turn on the iron. Place a sheet of parchment paper or Perler ironing paper over your design. Make sure the iron is on a "dry" setting, not a steam one.
- Press the hot side of the iron over the beads. Carefully move it in a circular motion, making sure that all of the beads are fused. Pressing too hard or moving too roughly can knock beads out of place! Completely fused beads shouldn't have visible holes in the center.
- Set the iron aside. Put a heavy flat object on top of your creation and let the beads cool.
- Remove the heavy object. Lift the fused beads and flip them over, then iron the back for a smooth, finished look.
- Carefully poke a hole through one of the perimeter beads. If you have jump rings, spread one open with your fingers or jewelry pliers. Push it through the hole in your creation. If using string, thread it through the hole.
- Secure the jump ring around the key chain's end, joining it through the key chain's last link. If using string, simply loop the string through the key chain's last link (you can loop it through more than once for extra strength), tie it off in a knot, and trim the ends.
- Attach the key chain to a buckle, zipper tag, or decorative metal loops on the purse/backpack/etc. Alternatively, tie the Perler bead creation directly to the purse/backpack/etc. using string.
Tips & suggestionsEdit
- The heavy object placed upon the Perler pattern during cooling helps prevent the beads from warping.
- A picture can be really helpful in figuring out your design!
- Using more than one bead color can add depth to your design.
- The ironing paper or parchment paper protects your iron from the plastic beads. I've found that using parchment paper works just as well as the official Perler ironing paper, but feel free to experiment.
- Using a pegboard is recommended, because otherwise it's very easy for the design to be skewed or knocked out of place.
- Be careful when using the iron! Have an adult do it for you if you're not experienced with them.
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